Wide Angle

Diaspo #193 : Hassan Chraibi, the inspiring journey of a Moroccan at Airbus

Since he joined Airbus in 2008 as an intern, the Tangier-native has climbed the ranks and multiplied the missions with the European aircraft manufacturer. Today, he is deputy director of the Bremen plant, the second largest Airbus site in Germany.

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Now second-in-command at the Airbus plant in Bremen and among the top 1% of the company's youngest senior managers, Hassan Chraibi had to build his network from scratch and overcome several challenges before climbing the corporate ladder at the European aircraft manufacturer. 

Born in 1988 in Tangier, the young Moroccan studied first at a public school and switched to a French institution after middle school. He eventually completed high school with an economics baccalaureate. Afterwards, he packed up for France, where he joined a preparatory course for prestigious business schools in the Clermont-Ferrand region.

Of all the choices at his disposal, Hassan Chraibi chose to join Toulouse Business School in 2008 and graduated with a master’s degree in industrial management. «When I was young, I was nicknamed ‘the astronaut’ because I always had my head in the stars», he said, recalling that he knew that Toulouse was the beating heart of the French and European aeronautics industry. «I came from Morocco and even after spending a few years near Clermont-Ferrand, I didn't have a network», he explained.

«As students, we try our best to get by.However, I wanted to go for aeronautics to the point it had become my obsession, even without contact or special help from abroad or France and with limited resources».

Hassan Chraibi

This is how he began a quest to build himself a network, eventually stumbling upon a student from his school who had already completed an internship at Airbus. Fortunately, he was introduced to a manager looking for an intern for the procurement department. He therefore joined the company of his dreams for a three-month internship. «I was like a child in a toy store working in the assembly line at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse. With planes left and right, the site is huge with over 20,000 employees and the experience was incredible», he remembered.

From intern in Toulouse to deputy director of the Bremen plant

After this first internship, an apprenticeship contract was offered to Hassan Chraibi. Thanks to his personal efforts, he succeeded in convincing the human resources of the company to also open up to graduates of his school. The Tangier-native ended up landing the position of project manager in logistics and assembly line at Airbus-Toulouse on an apprenticeship contract. He worked alongside this program from 2009 to 2011.

His commitment, dedication and motivation will pay off in the end. Having obtained a master's degree in 2011, Hassan Chraibi was selected, upon leaving school, as part of the Airbus global talent recruitment program. «It was a very selective program that lasted 9 months to choose one candidate out of 1,000», he explained. He was then sent to Saint-Nazaire, west of Nantes, as deputy to the procurement manager of the Airbus plant, where the company manufactured the front half of the fuselage.

«This recruitment program allowed me to be intensively trained for two years in project management, communication and team management.Many companies should be inspired by it, including those in Morocco, because by recruiting and investing in young people, you shape the leaders of the future and you instill in them the company culture».

Hassan Chraibi

A year later, the young executive had to move out of France. With his wife that he met at Toulouse Business School, the couple opted for Germany. «We mastered Spanish, Arabic, English and French but we couldn't even say ‘salamo alaikoum’ in German», he joked, adding that he had finally succeeded in overcoming the challenge thanks to one of his team members who did not speak English and with whom he had to communicate.

Building bridges between different professions and nationalities

From project manager to the cabine supply chain management in Hamburg, Hassan Chraibi is eventually called to work at the Bremen plant (northwestern Germany), the second largest Airbus site in the country and which manufactures long-haul wings, to become vice-director of infrastructure. 

The plant he works at also manufactures the A400M (military aircraft) and is an important center for space exploration. The site is also working on the development of new renewable technologies. The Moroccan is in charge of two aspects: «an operational role as the manager of around 150 people in the fields of production, logistics, industrial maintenance and performance management as well as a strategic role by working in the development of future projects for the plant», he explained.

«When I look at my career at Airbus, I see that the company has allowed me to build bridges between engineers and non-engineers and between people from different countries and continents.Moroccan culture prepares us well to play this role».

Hassan Chraibi

Moreover, the Moroccan said he has always kept an eye on his country. First, through the creation of a production platform in Morocco for textile products for his school and the integration of the Toulouse office of the Association des Marocains aux Grandes Ecoles (WAGGGS), but also through his own position.

«During my experience at Airbus, I have already traveled to Morocco as a factory production quality auditor and I was really impressed with the level of training in the country», he proudly said. Because for Hassan Chraibi, «the ambition of the industrial sector in Morocco is to be welcomed». «The Kingdom is well-positioned with a great vision to transform itself by developing more and more skills», he added.

«I follow aeronautical development in Morocco very closely.Airbus is also present locally; I am not closed to the idea of returning to the country.But I am positive about the development of the industrial sector in Morocco».

Hassan Chraibi

Hassan Chraibi also emphasizes training, as he believes Morocco should develop «links between the researcher in his university and the company in the field». «It is technology that brings wealth to nations in the long term, and this must be developed with the same priority as economic competitiveness», he concluded.

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