Jennifer Aguinaldo, Market and Industry Analyst
Jennifer Aguinaldo works as Senior Analyst for the research and advisory arm of a British firm providing business intelligence in the Middle East.
The company was founded in 1957 so it’s among the oldest and most reputable companies providing business intelligence in the region.
Prior to venturing into industry research, she had spent several years as a business and information technology (IT) journalist covering the Asia and Middle East markets. She has been at various times in the past features writer and editor at PC Week Philippines and PC Magazine Middle East, both licensed by top IT publishing firm Ziff-Davis Media. She also edited and managed the first daily news-magazine covering the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (Gitex), the largest IT event in the Middle East.
Jen joined MEED Insight in early 2010, bringing with her over ten years of experience as a journalist and industry analyst covering the information and communications technology (ICT) sector in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. She has executed dozens of bespoke reports in the industrial, finance, oil and gas, healthcare and ICT sectors since joining MEED. She is also a regular speaker at MEED conferences.
As an industry analyst, she co-authored reports ranging from the regional online advertising market to the contact center industry in the GCC states. She co-authored the Kuwait ICT Profile in 2003, commissioned by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, developed bespoke research for dozens of blue chip companies in the IT, telecoms and finance sectors as well as for various government agencies in the Middle East.
“I plan, manage and execute bespoke market studies and research, write and edit analysis and case studies, and contribute articles to MEED magazine, the premier business intelligence provider in the Middle East. Occasionally I speak at conferences on topics relevant to my expertise.”
“Most of the projects we do are confidential in nature so I’m afraid I won’t be able to name a particular project. But any project that allows me to learn new ideas and concepts or products and pick the brains of very senior people in industries like energy, transportation, oil and gas, transport, ICT, executive education or minerals is quite exciting.”
Her team basically provides research and advisory services to companies who are looking to enter the Middle East market or expand their presence across geographies or expand their product or services portfolio. “My role is to identify the type of information required, the best methodologies to generate this information, and to analyze and put the research findings into context.”
A Real Dynamo
“Learning new things and generating new ideas everyday is part of the job, and it helps when you work with people who are very knowledgeable and smart and who contribute to your growth.”
She started out as a journalist covering the information technology (IT) beat for a trade publication in Manila in the mid- 1990s. Then she crossed over to do research when the IT bubble burst in early 2000 and the IT companies’ limited advertising budgets shifted from trade to mainstream publications.
“I just sort of stumbled into this kind of job. I did not really consciously choose it or said this was going to be my life-work.”
For David Westley, Portal Manager of GulfNews.com, Jen is extremely hard working, and very inventive in her approach to projects she is running. “She is a dynamo – and I would recommend her for anyone looking for an experienced, intelligent and ‘can do’ research analyst.”
Jen believes she has a very strong woman for a mother and her siblings generally supported her all the way. “I’m also fortunate to have a husband who understands the pressures of meeting deadlines and the need to excel at what you do, and who respects a woman’s need to feel accomplished and challenged outside the confines of her home or relationships.”
But in general terms, she would like to think that it takes the entire community you grew up in and the friends you made along the way that help build the framework for your professional trajectory.
“I was very ambitious in my 20s but that has tapered off very significantly when I reached my 30s and when I got married. You just sort of gain a different perspective I guess and start to redefine your priorities at some point.”
“I am married to a wonderful, fun guy since 2005. He works for one of the world’s largest HVAC manufacturers. He’s my exact opposite in many respects and we complement each other quite well I think. We have a furry home companion named Molson, a 7 year-old Tibetan terrier.”
She loves to travel too, which she said is “probably my only guilty pleasure.” With her husband, she tries to visit a new place each year.
She earned her degree in BS in Education Cum Laude at the University of Sto. Tomas.
She’s never been ashamed of being a Filipina. “I would usually wear a trinket or a dress that I bought from back home to remind me or inform others that I’m from that part of the globe where people generally are very creative, warm and have an elegant attitude, regardless of the insane level of poverty or corruption.”
“For sure there are a lot about our society and collective psyche that need to be changed or re-programmed so we can compete better or just be better, but I try my best every day to be among those Filipinos that Ninoy Aquino once said were “worth dying for.”
“I think certain values like honesty and integrity are timeless and are far more important than any possession one can acquire in their lifetime. One’s ability to forgive and to not impose their values and beliefs on others is also quite important for all of us to get along.”
To her compatriots, this is what she says: “Try to be the best at what you do and be fair and honest when dealing with people, and hopefully your company and colleagues will recognize that and it will earn you – and hopefully your race (I know it’s a long shot) – enormous respect.”
Jen dreams of writing a book that puts on a funny spin to our life as Filipino expats, or maybe put up a travel website in future. In the meantime, she doesn’t have the luxury of time to do that right now.
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THE BLOGGER. Ulysses Espartero is a journalist, historian and book author who traces his roots from two Philippine jewels – Laguna and Antique. While in Dubai, he enjoyed his expat life documenting the struggles and victories of migrant workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council states. In 2014, he released Precious Gems in a Desert of Gold, the first and only coffee table book about Filipino achievers in the United Arab Emirates. Connect with him on facebook.