Business schools in Dubai have seen large numbers of working professionals enrolling in executive programmes and, in response, many of the local and international institutions with a presence in the emirate have started offering new Executive MBAs. These include part-time programmes that allow students to continue working, earning and applying their new knowledge in the workplace, immediately, and with fast career benefits.
The most common motivation factors among MBA candidates are a desire to enhance their professional network,switch role or accelerate their existing career path, or develop their entrepreneurial talent by getting a more competitive edge.
“Most of our students will have a unique reason for wanting to study for an MBA, but there a few common themes. Many of them have reached a certain position in their career, in management or a specialist function, either within their organisation or in an industry. So now they want to move away from this plateau and for example, from an operation manager to an operation director’s role,” says Frances Johnson, Associate Director – MBA Programme at Alliance Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester, which has had a Middle East Centre in Dubai for more than 10 years.
“An MBA is a general management qualification and it facilitates cross-functional conversations – with student peers and in the workplace. For us, it is about enabling people to be able to go into a boardroom and have a conversation with all of the functions of the organisation,” she adds.
Know how good you are
Another common trend Johnson identifies is that when people have worked in one particular industry for a longtime and haven’t advanced their career for a while, they often forget how good they really are – they tend to forget that there is a lot more they can achieve.
“Joining an MBA programme opens your eyes and changes the way you think about business. It reinforces your strengths and challenges you in those areas where you are not particularly strong. It is a way of refreshing your career and revitalizing yourself. I have seen people grow in confidence so much through the course of an MBA programme, it really is a transformational experience,” she explains.
Many experienced working professionals prefer not to take a break from their career to pursue an MBA. And this is where the range of options offered by executive MBA programmes come into play, especially as they offer flexible options, including full-time and part-time blended learning courses.
Referring to the Global Part-time MBA offered at Alliance Manchester Business School, Johnson says it is designed for people who are in busy and hectic jobs. “Especially in this region, people work very hard and very long hours, so the programme is designed to be accessible, flexible and as convenient as possible for students across the region and with regular face to face contact in Dubai,” she concludes.