Posted on Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Ambitions construction projects, a global outlook and rapid growth all characterize Dubai. All this has created an increasing demand for management education in the country. As a result, top B-schools from around the world have converged to create a new hub for MBAs.
A large-scale construction boom that produced the world’s talent hotel, the second largest man-made marina and some of the most ambitious and innovative residential projects have attracted worldwide attention towards Dubai. A true success story of globalisation, it is one of the world’s fastest growing cities. It is also expected to achieve a double-digit growth rate over the next eight years.
One of the most international cities in the world, Dubai is home to more than 150 nationalities. In fact, 94% of the population comprises expatriates. Now add to the above a strong demand for management talent across all industries including finance, tourism, media, technology and healthcare. It is this simple addition that has accounted for some of the best B-schools in the world setting up centres in the city. These include US-based Hult International Business School (HIBS), UK’s London Business School (LBS) and Cass Business School and India’s S P Jain Centre of Management, IMT and Manipal and MAHE.
Although these B-schools aren’t the only ones venturing into offshore campuses in quest for global perspective and taking a lead in cross-border education, some have argued that setting up campuses abroad dilute the brand. Refuting this, Michael J Barnes, dean, HIBS-Dubai, said that globalisation of the MBA programme, in his school’s case and many others, has become a fundamental part of the brand. Similarly LBS, which offers an Executive MBA (EMBA) programme in Dubai, highlights its Dubai programme as an opportunity to gain a multinational perspective by working with faculty and participants from a wide range of nations and cultural backgrounds. Besides, it is also an opportunity to study and network in a leading world financial centre.
Elaborating on his experience, Muralidaran Vasudevan, who pursued his MBA programme at S P Jain Centre of Management-Dubai, said: “When I was contemplating pursuing an MBA, I had several options and S P Jain offered me a unique value proposition – the twin city model (through its centres in Dubai and Singapore). The examples used in our class discussions were mostly localized, but the thoughts were truly global. It forced us to think how to do business in different markets. Before joining the programme I was indeed finicky about studying in UAE. But now, I can assertively say my stint in Dubai has added value.”
In cross-border education, one of the primary challenges is to ensure quality control in terms of curriculum, infrastructure, and research in a new set-up. Elaborating on how Hult will address the same, Barnes said: “I will ensure that students follow the integrated curriculum and the faculty is comparable in every way to that in Boston. Besides, admission standards are identical across campuses; the core curriculum and requirements are identical; and faculty hiring is coordinated with the dean in Boston.”
Another method of ensuring quality and relevance is local collaboration and accreditation. For example, Cass Business School, City University of London, offers an EMBA in collaboration with the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). On the other hand, IMT-Dubai recently received the official accreditation of its MBA programme by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. The government verification commission reviewed the school’s curriculum, educational materials, faculty qualifications and on-site facilities before providing the distinction that provides applicants quality assurance.
Another great opportunity in studying in a place like Dubai, according to Vasudevan, is gaining experience of a dynamic market. “My opportunity was a consulting engagement with a US-based IT firm. They were evaluating if UAE’s banking sector offered any scope to sell products/services. As part of the engagement we did a holistic market research and analysis of technology investments in UAE’s banking sector and came up with our recommendations. It was immensely challenging since we had to do a lot of primary research that required interaction with UAE-based banks. In all, it was a truly global MBA.”
As for the future, Barnes believes that the best B-schools will fully commit resources and `go where the market is.’ He added: “It is not enough, and may indeed be harmful, to merely establish a token presence represented by a fleeting symbolic partnership with another university in another country. There are pedagogical as well as institutional differences in culture and academic tradition, which need not necessarily go well together across competitive boundaries and a separate curriculum. These differences need to be realized and respected.”
|Institute List (Indicative)|
|Hult International Business School
London Business School – Dubai
SP Jain Centre of Management – Dubai Campus
IMT – Dubai
Manipal MAHE – Dubai
Murdoch University Dubai
American college of emirates
Canadian University of Dubai
Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science & Technology (SZABIST)
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With a number of nationalities, booming infrastructure and focus on education, all eyes are trained on Dubai