The Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) and Insead will next month run a pilot programme at the business school’s French campus for Abu Dhabi government high school pupils to prepare them for careers in the private sector.
The four-week summer@Insead course will offer 25 Emirati pupils at Abu Dhabi public schools the equivalent of a micro-MBA degree taught by some of the world’s foremost business experts. Adec will cover course fees for Emirati pupils.
Fifteen children of Insead alumni from a number of countries will pay to take part in the programme. Insead said that it received a “deluge of applications” from alumni who wanted their children to attend.
Classes at the school’s Fontainebleau facility in the Paris metropolitan area will be held five mornings a week, and will include company visits, workshops, guest speakers and group discussions.
Attendees will study entrepreneurship, decision-making, marketing and French language skills. They will also meet senior managers at leading French businesses such as the retailers Louis Vuitton and Galeries Lafayette. “We hope to equip our students with some of the necessary business skills, knowledge and culture. The students will get a chance to reflect on their learning experience in the context of Abu Dhabi’s 2030 vision,” said a spokesman from Adec’s Global Partnerships Division. “If all goes well, then this will be an annual event.”
Iman Al Seyabi, a 15-year-old pupil at Al Shawamekh school, believes that participation in the programme would be a positive turning point for her. “If I get the chance to study abroad I will gain more knowledge, more experience and more skills,” she said.
For Iman and many of the other Emirati pupils, the trip will be the first time they have travelled outside of the UAE by themselves.
Saeed Al Remeithi, a 15-year-old from Al Falahiya boys school, said he hoped his time at Insead would give him more experience and help him better understand business matters. “It will also be a good chance to make new friends,” he said.
Hajir Al Blooshi, 15, a pupil at Al Shawamekh school, would like to one day start her own business and train to be a doctor.
Hajir’s father, who values education, is a big inspiration in her life. “He is very proud of me,” she said.
Iman added that her mother was one of her role models. “Before there weren’t many opportunities for women, but nowadays all women want to see themselves putting their fingerprints on history – and all encourage each other,” she said.
Dana Alameri, a 15-year-old at Al Mawaheb school agreed. She hopes to one day to become a nuclear engineer. “Nowadays women and men are equal,” she said.
Alya Al Falasi, 15, who also attends Al Mawaheb, is excited about being taught by leading professors in their field.
“I am looking forward to learning about finance at Insead. First we have to work in teams – learn how to communicate with people. We will meet international students from all around the world. They will tell me about their country and I will tell them about my country,” she said.
Emmeran Johnson, a 16-year-old pupil at the Lycee Francois Premier in Fontainebleau, expects to learn more about Emirati culture from the Abu Dhabi pupils on the course.
“I hope to come out of [the programme] with a new vision of the world, a business approach to society, but also one with the understanding of other cultures,” he said.
Miguel Lobo, an associate professor of decision sciences at Insead and the director of its Abu Dhabi campus, will be one of the main faculty members for the programme, which is, he said, “a little condensed flavour of what an MBA is about”.
He said: “Part of the [intention behind the] programme is to provide other role models and excitement about private-sector careers.”
The number of Emiratis in the private sector is low and the Government has been working to improve this, including encouraging the growth of Emirati-owned small businesses and Emiratisation initiatives in sectors such as banking and industry.
Apart from Insead, other international institutions in the UAE have summer programmes abroad.
NYU Abu Dhabi offers summer programmes at its New York and Italy campuses focused on preparing the pupils for university life with courses including language, leadership and critical thinking classes.