ABU DHABI // The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology has begun showcasing the quality of what will be its first crop of graduates, with hopes that local companies will be the first to scoop up the talent.
The institute held its first Career Day yesterday with 22 participating companies and agencies including General Electric, ExxonMobil, Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority.
Many have financial ties with Mubadala Development Company, which owns the university, while all are either based in Abu Dhabi or have major corporate offices in the capital.
The Masdar Institute, which only offers graduate programmes, was launched as part of a broader government effort to shift to a sustainable knowledge-based economy and make Abu Dhabi an international hub for alternative energy.
"Our students are our ambassadors, and we want them to show how seriously Abu Dhabi is taking human capital development," said Fred Moavenzadeh, the president of the institute. "If companies hire our students rather than bringing in people from Britain or the US, that shows the quality of the education here."
Shamma al Marzooqi, from Al Ain, said that she already had job offers but would continue to explore her options. She is among about 180 students that will graduate in May, with her degree being in computing and information sciences.
"There are many different options for me, especially if I stay in Abu Dhabi, that are related to my field," she said after submitting her CV to Siemens, a German engineering and electronics conglomerate. The company is expected to move its Middle East headquarters to Masdar City when the first stage is completed, in 2015.
Hanan Shemaili, a computing and information sciences major from Ras al Khaimah who will graduate next year, said she did not expect to look outside of the UAE for a managerial position. "Abu Dhabi is moving toward something, and I want to be a part of that."
Expatriates were also interested in finding jobs in Abu Dhabi, or nearby. Josh Halperin, an American studying engineering systems and management, said he hoped to find a position in the Gulf because "that is where the job market is".
"It's important that Masdar give us a nice showing of local and global companies, and help us get a sense of what the future will hold for renewable energy, and here," he said. "It is why we are here in the first place."
Frank Kemnetz, the vice president of ExxonMobil Upstream Ventures, the ExxonMobil subsidiary operating in the Gulf, said Masdar offered a unique forum for exploring the future of the oil and gas industry, as well as alternative energy.
"The industry has an enormous challenge in meeting the growing needs of the world in terms of energy, and Abu Dhabi has become a focal point of that landscape, and looking at diversifying energy sources," he said.
"We are looking here for a specialised skill set, the best and the brightest scientists and engineers, to help tackle these problems."