Abu Dhabi University (ADU), an internationally recognized academic institution for quality education and applied research, hosted the international 2018 European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) Middle East and Africa conference, an event aimed to create a platform for dialogue on the future of business education in the region. The conference shed light on new avenues for business schools to deploy innovative technologies and new business models that enhance student and other stakeholder engagement.
The three-day conference, organized by ADU’s College of Business, was attended by a stellar lineup of academics and industry experts from leading organizations and educational institutions in the UAE and worldwide. The event consisted of a mix of facilitated discussions, table discussions and plenary sessions that ran under the theme of ‘Building Relevant Business Schools for the Middle East and Africa’.
The conference commenced with a welcome address from Professor Waqar Ahmad, Chancellor of Abu Dhabi University, and Nadine Burquel, Director of Business School Services at EFMD. The plenary sessions began with an introductory overview of the history of the education system in the Middle East, followed by a discussion highlighting views on the relevance of business schools in the region from a corporate standpoint. The sessions also focused on the important role business schools play in shaping society.
The conference featured a series of interactive sessions entitled ‘World Café on future skills’, addressing key topics such as the impact of the fourth industrial revolution on future jobs, combined with helping students develop a business-savvy mindset in preparation for new opportunities in 2020. The discussions also included ways to engage and empower students for this next transformation stage. Speakers highlighted the critical value of technology in reinforcing a strong foundation for student engagement.
Prof. Chris Pitelis - Dean, College of Business at ADU commented, “We are honored to have brought this event to Abu Dhabi. It was the ideal platform for speakers and participants to share insights with regional and international experts on the future of business education. Leading business schools worldwide have begun reinventing educational models and tools to engage with students and the wider stakeholder community in a way that adapts to the current dynamic market. By hosting this event, ADU aims to lead these global discussions on a regional scale as it strives to consolidate its role as one of the leading universities in the MENA region.”
Prof. Chris Pitelis added, “ADU continues to develop new ways to deliver effective educational choices that anticipate, respond and help shape evolving business and economic developments, with an eye to leveraging new technology and business models and continue offering great service to our students and key stakeholders’.
The event also included table discussions with students titled “Let’s talk about relevance”. The conference concluded with a keynote speech by Professor Christos Pitelis, Dean of the College of Business at ADU, who revisited the journey of business schools from the vantage point of his own academic journey over the past thirty odd years, and outlined requite adaptations for business education to remain relevant and value adding’.
Participating private organizations included Schlumberger Middle East, Etisalat Telecommunications and IBM. The event also saw a wide range of speakers joining from local, regional and internationally-recognized institutions and business schools including EFMD, Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC Middle East and Turkey), Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) Business School, Nottingham Trent University, Toulouse Business School, Lagos Business School, ESSCA - Ecole de Management, emlyon business school, HEM Business School, American University of Beirut, and Ajman University.
Earlier, ADU had conducted an informative three-hour session within an event entitled ‘Business Jam’, a dialogue focused on the relevance of business schools and the future of business education in the MENA region. This welcomed prominent local and regional experts from leading business schools such as Zayed University and UAE University. Professor Howard Thomas, a distinguished visiting Professor of Global Leadership from Boston University and Professor Christos Pitelis co-led the interactive event.
ADU’s College of Business holds international accreditations from both EQUIS and AACSB international accreditation, earning the EQUIS accreditation from EFMD in 2016. Only 1% of business schools worldwide have this double accreditation.