One of the bustling, cosmopolitan economies closer home is Dubai. Sandwiched between Asia and Europe, with Africa on one side, it is truly a melting pot of cultures where 200 nationalities live and work in harmony. The large number of multinational corporations (MNCs) stationed here spells excellent employment opportunities for those wanting to make it big. With over 18 universities offering a masters in business administration (MBA) degree, Dubai has emerged as a hot destination for aspiring managers who want to look beyond the US and the UK.
What makes studying for an MBA in Dubai attractive is the number of choices on offer. One can choose from two-year full-time courses to one-year executive MBA courses to part-time programmes. The city is home to foreign business institutions as well as the offshore campuses of Indian B-schools.
Among the foreign schools are the London Business School (LBS), University of Wollongong in Dubai, Murdoch University International Study Centre, Hult University, Cass Business School, Heriot-Watt University, American University in Dubai, Middlesex University, University of Strathclyde Business School, Manchester Business School, University of Bradford, Canadian University of Dubai and Duke University.
The Indian schools that have set up shop in Dubai include the SP Jain Centre of Management, Mahatma Gandhi University, Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI) and Manipal Academy of Higher Studies.
In Dubai, students are indeed spoilt for choice. That explains why Ankur Vohra wanted to do an MBA from here. “After working in the information technology sector for two years, I decided to do an MBA abroad. But I didn’t want to go very far away from home. Being a global city and a business hub of the region, Dubai seemed the perfect choice,” says Vohra, a student at IMT.
Voted as the safest city in the world for four consecutive years by Interpol, Dubai has a tax-free system, sophisticated infrastructure, multiple seaports, an efficient communication network, advanced transport services and several MNCs. “Quality education and job opportunities are major considerations for aspiring managers. Dubai has a booming economy with a constant need for skilled knowledge workers. This makes it an attractive study option,” says Farhad Rad-Serecht, director of IMT, Dubai.
MBA students in Dubai are typically working professionals who have either taken a break from work to upgrade their skills or are juggling studies and work with part-time MBA courses. An average of two to three years of work experience is the norm in most batches. Agrees Roy Batchelor, director of executive MBA at Cass Business School. “Our executive MBA programme is not for students who are applying straight after an undergraduate degree or any other academic qualification. Typically, students must have substantial management experience,” he says. In fact, the London Business School has gone a step ahead by making a full-time job one of its course requirements.
Keeping in mind the needs of these mid-career level professionals, the institutes on their part offer flexible study routes. For instance, at SP Jain, you can opt for either an accelerated one-year global MBA programme or a part-time executive one. Wollongong University on the other hand offers a part-time six-semester course that can be completed in two years. While Bradford University conducts classes on weekends, Murdoch University and XLRI students can attend classes in the evening. “In Dubai, you will find an MBA course that will meet your requirements in terms of convenience, liking and budget,” points out Shivanand Chukka, an insurance professional who completed the global MBA programme from SP Jain this year.
Moreover, this flexibility is extended to let students study not just in Dubai but also in other cities of the world. The institutes offer some of the core courses in Dubai, while electives are taught on the main campuses. LBS has a 17-20 month programme wherein the core courses are taught on the Dubai campus and six to eight electives on the London campus. At SP Jain, the global MBA programme offers a unique three-city model. “Students can study in Dubai and Singapore with an option to spend 10 weeks in a top-ranking business school in Toronto or Sydney,” informs Schuelane Mudaliar, academic counsellor, SP Jain Center of Management.
The global exposure is complemented by a multicultural classroom where students from all parts of the world study together. Besides UAE, there are students from all over the Gulf region. The professors in many of the institutes fly in from the main campuses. “The teachers on the Dubai programme are therefore the same teachers that the students on our highly-rated London programmes study with,” says Batchelor.
Most universities have two intakes every year, in September and January. A good academic background and work experience are some of the prerequisites for admission. Some of the Indian schools conduct their own aptitude tests or accept GMAT scores for admission. The foreign B-schools rely on interviews to screen students.
In times of recession, an MBA can be your best bet to get that jumpstart. And if you want a truly global learning experience, hop on to the MBA safari in the happening desert of West Asia.