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Consistent Growth Policy Meets Arab Tradition

All News, Inside CBS   -  20. February 2015

Student Excursion to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – by Dr. René Rüth

Experience Intercultural Management and Global Business Live…

… this was the mission and motivation behind the 25 bachelor and masterâ??s students at the Cologne Business School (CBS), Cologne and the European Management School (EMS), Mainz in January 2015. Especially in this day and age when companies are aligning themselves globally and increasingly needing to focus on international sales and acquisitions markets, concepts like intercultural understanding, diversity management and international growth strategies are rapidly becoming significant. The destination of the one-week-long field trip was the growth region of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – an extraordinary country that has deliberately attracted attention in recent years thanks to spectacular buildings, luxury hotels, amazing artificial islands and mega shopping centers. But above all, the UAE is a region that has developed at warp speed over nearly 30 years from an insignificant desert town to an important hub for global business, world tourism and international logistics. “In addition, we have ambitious plans for the future”, proclaims the Senior Vice President for Training & Development in his exciting lecture, “Welcome Tomorrow” at the Emirates Headquarters at Dubai International Airport.

In front of the Emirates Headquarters

Visiting the Bank of Sharjah

“My personal objective for the trip is to impart a comprehensive understanding of this controversial growth region while expanding horizons for their future careers and, of course, to offer participants an unforgettable experience,” says Dr. René Rüth, who organized the trip and is a lecturer at the EMS and the CEO of the IMEC Management Institute in Frankfurt. “The programmeis tightly organized with many highlights and selected speakers and experts from the region. In conjunction with each lecture a Q&A session has been scheduled to clarify additional questions and to promote a creative exchange on the management level.”

Consistent Growth Policy Meets Arab Tradition
The field trip was focused on two topics. First, to impart relevant insight into the Arab culture, tradition and religion as these components have a direct impact on the business customs and thus the business success in the Arab world. And second, to provide a sound understanding of regional business structures in the context of international competition.

For this reason numerous cultural dialogue events, intercultural discussions and visits to historical sites were on the itinerary. In addition, lectures from top managers at companies including Emirates Airlines, the Bank of Sharjah (Commerzbank Group), Ingram Micro (Fortune 50) were also important components of the trip. These events were supplemented by an “economic introduction to the region” by the German Chamber of Commerce in Dubai (AHK) and a Meet & Greet at the American University in Dubai including exciting introductory speeches, which made for transnational impulses, from various speakers including Prof. Dr. Hummel, Dean of Tourism Management and trip initiator.

“Economic Briefing” at the Chamber of Commerce Abroad (AHK) in Dubai

Meet & Greet at the American University in Dubai

Open Doors. Open Minds.
In order to understand the business mentality of another culture, a traditional framework must be defined. With the friendly support of the Sheik Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding, field trip students had the opportunity to learn at the Jumeriah Mosque by listening to a lecture by Nasif Kayed, General Manager of the SMCCU. In a charming, critical and provocative way key aspects of all world religions, cultural customs and traditions as well as typical customs were discussed. A real broadening of horizons for all participants.

Inspiring lecture on culture, values, tradition and religion in the historic Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai

In a follow-up event and as part of a traditional Emirati launch in the historic district of Dubai, thematic approaches were taken up again and explored. A fascinating look behind the scenes of traditions, values, mindsets and the local understanding of Islam. “It would be nice if the media would occasionally make their coverage a bit more multidimensional,” concluded one participant.

Inspiring lecture on culture, values, tradition and religion in the historic Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai

Tour of a warehouse in the Jebel Ali Free Zone and Lecture on “Global Logistics & Local Distribution” as exemplified by the Middle East & Africa region (MEA)

In a follow-up event and as part of a traditional Emirati launch in the historic district of Dubai, thematic approaches were taken up again and explored. A fascinating look behind the scenes of traditions, values, mindsets and the local understanding of Islam. “It would be nice if the media would occasionally make their coverage a bit more multidimensional,” concluded one participant.

Tour of a warehouse in the Jebel Ali Free Zone and Lecture on “Global Logistics & Local Distribution” as exemplified by the Middle East & Africa region (MEA)

Riding the Desert Dunes

After impressive and inspiring lectures, the programmefor the last day was reserved for one final, special feature: the desert tour. In five high-powered SUVs the excursion team headed out into the nature preservation and wilderness reserve, “Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve”. After intensive “dune bashing” (dune buggying) the exhausted group were greeted by a seemingly authentic Bedouin camp with Arabian cuisine, a traditional shisha pipe and Arabic belly dance. As one student positively summarizes, “This trip was one of a kind, filled with all sorts of exciting impressions, which you have to process later on in peace and quiet. My own horizons have been broadened considerably.”

Through the desert…

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