As an MBA student, I am always fascinated by how interconnected our world is and how businesses play a major role in bringing humanity together. During my MBA programme at the Institute of Management Technology, Dubai, I was elated to get the opportunity to spend the final fall semester at Neoma Business School in France.
Neoma is a triple-accredited business school formed in 2013 by the merger of Rouen Business School and Reims Management School in the cities of Rouen and Reims respectively, with a campus in Paris as well. The Reims campus — where I studied — is nestled between lush green parks and rivulets, and walking to college every morning was a delight.
Neoma’s international office had organised an orientation week with presentations and outdoor team activities that had us explore Reims city centre. This helped us meet and bond candidly with both local and international students from diverse nationalities. There were also many Indian students on exchange programmes from top B-schools in India. Together, we bid goodbye to homesickness and even organised a fun Diwali party at an Indian restaurant.
The courses focussed on marketing and strategy; it was particularly enriching to have viewpoints on global business from a culturally diverse peer group. The courses were offered in English by faculty that comprised professionals from around the world, with rich experience and proven ability in their fields. They made classes enticing through meaningful discussions and debates on real- life cases built on theoretical concepts. It was essential to prepare well before each class started. In the brand management and marketing communications courses, our group work was a real-time consulting project to build a brand and communication strategy for a local entrepreneurial venture. In the end, we presented our results to the owner.
The icing on the cake was the opportunity to travel and spend five months in the scenic splendour of Europe. I backpacked across 10 countries, learning about cultures and traditions. Reims is home to the iconic Notre-Dame cathedral. The city is a part of the Champagne-Ardenne region, where champagne originates, and is surrounded by vineyards and a complex underground maze of chalk cellars, caves, and tunnels. Its central location — just 40 minutes from Paris — coupled with Europe’s excellent public transportation system meant that almost every weekend was spent travelling. Besides marvelling at the majestic Eiffel Tower and cruising through Germany, I spent a fairytale Christmas in a cottage surrounded by the Julian Alps in Slovenia — the experience of a lifetime.
“Dubai is literally a gateway to the Middle East and North Africa, which makes completing an MBA here very exciting and full of new prospects.”
Established in 2006, the Institute of Management Technology Dubai (IMT) is an international business school located in the United Arab Emirates that offers students a wide range of undergraduate and post-graduate programs. The school is dedicated to providing students with a diverse and close-knit community, strong academics, numerous industry collaborations and an entrepreneurial mindset.
IMT Dubai’s mission is to develop young leaders and professionals who are business ready, socially responsible and aware of challenges such as sustainability, ethics, environment, and multi-cultural societies. How do we develop students to become young professionals? This year at IMT Dubai we implemented a year round soft skills program that trains students in various areas through mock interviews, personality tests, skills specific tests and many workshops and team dynamics.
– Abhiruchi Abrol, Sr. Student Recruitment and Marketing Officer, IMT
SchoolApply interviewed MBA student, Siddharth Sharma, to learn what his academic and social experience has been like at IMT so far.
INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY
Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Student Name: Siddharth Sharma
Graduation: March 2019
Favorite class: My favorite class would be the Strategic Marketing module that helped me appreciate the larger role marketing plays in a business.
Favorite school event: In October 2017 there was a city-wide fitness challenge called the Dubai 30×30, where Dubai residents committed to 30 minutes of physical activity for 30 days. IMT was one of many organizations that were part of the initiative. Those 30 days were nothing short of exhilarating – each day we had a different session planned, from Yoga workshops, Zumba sessions, Bhangra workouts to outdoor beach tennis! It was all tiring, but also so much fun!
Five words to describe the Institute of Management Technology: Informative, Multi-faceted, Supportive, Rigorous and Fun!
Tell us a little about yourself, in what places have you lived and studied?
I’m 25 and am currently in the first year of my MBA. I completed my undergraduate degree in Media studies and worked in advertising for three years in Mumbai. I like playing tennis, try reading at least a book a month, and cannot stay awake after 10PM!
My family initially lived in Mumbai and then shifted to a small town in North India called Dehradun for about 4 years. We moved again and I ended up completing my senior school in New Delhi. Eventually, I achieved my undergrad degree in Pune and then went back to Mumbai where I started an advertising business. Then, I finally decided to do my MBA – so here I am in Dubai!
How did you end up in the field of advertising?
There was a Ray-Ban commercial called “Never Hide” that used to come on TV when I was 15 years old. Those images of the concert stage, the bungee jump, the tagline – it defined what “cool” was to the 15-year-old me, and I decided I wanted to be a part of this profession. My family incidentally bought a DSLR camera around the same time and I basically spent my senior years in school attached to it.
My portfolio got me into a media college where I majored in Advertising. It was during my undergrad studies that I learned there’s more to advertising than simply creating a film. Learningthe science behind advertising further piqued my interest in the field. After interning with a couple of advertising agencies (Publicis and BBDO), I shifted my focus to digital advertising. All of this culminated in my first job at an advertising agency in Mumbai, where I had the absolute time of my life.
How did you hear about the Institute of Management Technology and what made you decide to study in the UAE?
My criteria while selecting a school were affordability, quality of education, and school size (I prefer working in small groups rather than large). IMT ended up meeting all my specifications. A close friend of mine was part of the same program last year and he recommended it to me. Besides that, a few of my friends lived in Dubai and they were absolutely in love with the city. I took their advice and packed my bags.
Did you have any problems adjusting to life in a new country and university? If so, how did you overcome them?
Dubai is a city that is familiar with welcoming people from all around the world; about 85% of the population are expats. Moving to any new city is challenging – but the warmth and support of the IMT staff and professors go a long way in settling into the life here. The school arranged a week-long orientation program to help us learn more about life in the UAE. I had the opportunity to meet people from different walks of life, got to explore the city with my classmates and learned more about the local culture and history of Dubai.
What degree are you pursuing and why?
I’m pursuing an MBA in Marketing. At this stage of my career, I am excited by the prospect of being able to influence a brand from the ground up. My aspiration is to transition from executing marketing communication on the agency side to strategizing in a brand management role at a consumer-facing business. To this end, I figured the exposure to key analytical techniques that an MBA gives, coupled with foundation courses in subjects such as Supply Chain, Corporate Finance, and Data Analytics would be perfect.
Do your current studies support your interest and talent? If so, how?
Eight months into the MBA program, I now feel the MBA means lots of different things to different people and it is my responsibility to make sure I tailor the experience to my own interests and passions. To that effect, my current studies have provided the exact platform I was looking for. I was keen on delving deeper into marketing analytics and the program has also given me the opportunity to meet industry leaders and top professors in the field. I was always fascinated by the FMCG industry and learning more about it in my classes has been eye-opening.
What has your academic and social experience been like as an international student at the Institute of Management Technology?
I wasn’t sure what to expect as an international student in Dubai. However, it’s been a rewarding experience meeting and working with people from all across the globe. I think there is no harder task than to define who the average Dubai resident is – in the last 8 months I’ve worked with people from India, other GCC countries, Lebanon, UK, South Africa and countless other nationalities. And that’s what makes the city so much fun! The campus is located in Dubai’s Academic City – we have regular sports matches and competitions with the 15 other colleges in the area.
In the beginning of our term, the school organized a Middle East Immersion program in which we visited landmarks and local businesses in the UAE. Also, to help us settle into our new environment, students take part in a Cultural Orientation week in which we discuss local laws, things unique to the Middle East, UAE history and even visited the Dubai Museum.
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What were your first impressions of the Institute of Management Technology?
I had been in touch with a few other students before our term started and it was exciting to finally get to meet them in person. Our program chair was especially involved in helping us settle into the life here – from restaurant recommendations to how to use public transport – he helped us out a lot! I was initially taken aback by the fast pace of the program – it was unlike anything I had experienced before. Eventually, however, we all became better at managing our time and juggling classes, assignments, group meetings and projects.
How has IMT prepared you for life after college?
Efficient time management, meeting people from diverse backgrounds and a lifelong desire to learn are some traits and skills that I have acquired during my time here. IMT, with its network of colleges, has a large alumni population scattered across the world. It is exciting to see the kind of opportunities that open up with a simple LinkedIn request or an email to those who once lived the same experience that I am living right now at IMT!
Do you take part in any extracurricular activities at IMT?
I’m part of the Corporate Relations Team and the Student Ambassador Program at IMT. As part of the Corporate Relations Team, I reach out to businesses in Dubai for industry lectures, training programs and short-term projects. As part of the Student Ambassador Program, I volunteer for a few hours every week to assist the admissions department with anything that their team is working on. Besides that, I try participating in various intra-university competitions that are organized by students of various clubs within the university.
Do you have a job while studying? If yes, please elaborate on this experience.
Yes, I am working with a start-up in the corporate wellness space and it has been amazing! I worked with the marketing department in conceptualizing and executing B2B online and on-ground campaigns. I also had the opportunity to work alongside the tireless founder and now better understand how much really goes into launching a company.
What would you say to international students who are considering studying at IMT?
While studying at IMT, I have realized the importance that peers, students and the community at large play in the quality of education we ultimately receive. I think IMT’s strength lies in the small community the school has built, by maintaining a small classroom size, having professors who are accessible outside classes, or the fact that you eventually end up knowing almost everyone by the end of your first year.
Dubai is literally a gateway to the Middle East and North Africa, which makes completing an MBA here very exciting and full of new prospects.
Everyone seems to be talking about 21st century learning these days, and how educational institutions need to upgrade their curriculum and assessment strategies so that they can prepare young people for the modern workplace, and for a lifetime of learning.
This should be pretty straightforward, right? After all, every young person is a smartphone carrying, tech-savvy, digital native capable of dazzling elders with their skill and dexterity in the use of technology. So, introducing technology into the classroom is certain to generate improved learning outcomes. Well, maybe not.
First of all, technology is not the solution it is simply a means to improve pedagogy, to provide a more interactive and engaging learning experience. For this to happen, those people we used to call instructors and lecturers in the 20th century need to become facilitators and mentors. This can be a difficult transition for some to make, especially those who are successful products of the old pedagogical model when all we had to do was memorise facts and pass exams to get a good job.
Second, even if a 21st century facilitator/ mentor is in charge, it is a mistake to assume that the addition of tablet PCs or some other Internet-enabled devices in the classroom will instantly transform learners into critical thinking, creative problem-solvers. This is because digital skills and digital literacy are not synonymous.
For example, you may have the digital skill to set up a gmail account, but this does not mean you have the digital literacy to recognise a spam email asking for some personal information or private login details. Or, you might have the digital skill to figure out how to set up a WordPress blog, but you will not necessarily have the digital literacy to clearly and effectively communicate in the appropriate genre for your chosen audience.
Another example – attracting a lot of attention in recent times – relates to speculation over the accuracy of news reports (so-called fake news). Having the digital skill to make effective use of a social media tool like Facebook and all its various features is all very well, but this does not mean you have the digital literacy to spot potentially fake news, and check its veracity.
In summary, the effective use of information and communication technologies requires a new set of literacies that incorporate both technical and cognitive abilities. Finding, evaluating, creating, and communicating information is integral to 21st learning, and demonstrating knowledge and aptitude in these areas needs to be thoroughly embedded in the curriculum.
Student centered experiential learning is the core of any business management education. Simulated teaching methods link theory with practice and develop individuals ready to face the corporate world. Use of simulations help build the confidence of the participants leading to understand the real business problems through the virtual reality resulting in reinforcement of the desired behavior by the mentor. The critical thinking skills of the students enhance as they encounter the problems and solve them in teams.
Simulations are best technology enabled learning tools which help participants look at the real world problems where they can make mistakes, learn from them and apply the learning before facing the real world. A well-designed simulation can be self-empowering, enjoyable experience leading to the application of knowledge providing real perception of the situation. They can be customized accordingly to meet the requirements of any business management course. Most of the simulations are user friendly and web based keeping the participants engaged.
This technique engages students to work in teams providing a dynamic learning environment which leads to creation of layer of knowledge and finally retention of what one has learnt. It leads to experimentation and failure and then again learning from failures. One can learn, track and optimize the learning environment with this technology based technique.
Simulations use real-world situations and enhance student learning. This leads to holistic thinking, development of managerial and social skills through proactive decision making. The students get feedback which is critical to build competencies. They get into the role of marketing managers, strategists, sales executives, human resource, finance, supply chain specialists, and entrepreneurs in real organizations through this virtual tool. Use of simulation fills the space that exists between the knowledge of graduating students and the actual skills required in most business situations. They make learning fun while keeping the teams engaged imbibing knowledge and getting ready to take the challenges of the real corporate world.
The Students of Integrated Marketing Communication course presented the Telanto Challenge for LACER on the development of a new product innovation for Lacer Oral Care along with an integrated launch strategy in front of Mr. Francesc Pubill Coy from LACER Personal Health
Earlier, a supply chain leader was a tactical position because it included one with specific expertise on things such as warehousing equipment, shipping routes, and fuel costs. Today, the profile of a supply chain leader is immensely different. Supply chain leaders are strategic leaders and are focusing on the overall growth of the company, not just their part in it.
The need for smart, strategic supply chain leaders is crucial as organizations now are spending a large amount of money on their supply chain processes. Whether it’s gathering business intelligence to help make better decisions, or building relationships with suppliers and stakeholders, supply chain leaders require a new set of skills above and beyond logistical knowledge.
Thinking beyond the supply chain:
Today’s supply chain leaders need to have business skills in order to drive results and accelerate revenue for their respective companies. This requires a more strategic approach, and a more strategic mindset. Some characteristics of a successful supply chain leader include:
Business Acumen: Supply chain leaders are no longer relegated to their specific expertise; they are now a critical part of the overall business. The involvement is complete right from speaking to the CEO in terms of ROI, or discussing cash flow with accounting, these professionals must see beyond the supply chain and see the business as a whole.
Global orientation: All senior business executives today need to be globally capable. Global sourcing and global supply chains have expanded tremendously in recent years, for both retailers and manufacturers. There are few companies that do not either source globally, sell globally, or have competitors that do so. Therefore, supply chain executives must manage, like never before, an enterprise that extends across continents and must deal effectively with suppliers and customers worldwide.
Leadership: Supply chain leaders are no longer hidden in the background; they hold prominent positions in companies. They must not only lead their team to create an effective and efficient supply chain, but they must also be able to collaborate with other departments and external stakeholders to drive cost savings and revenue generation.
Information Technology and Automation Knowledge: Supply chain is all about people using technology as a tool. Nothing is more important than working on your people skills if you want to be a successful supply chain leader
The Skill of Flexibility: The one thing you won’t find on this list of supply chain leaders’ “must have” skills is innovation. You don’t have to be an innovator to be a good supply chain leader, but you do have to support and drive innovation. Flexibility is the skill that will help you to do that.
Demand for the most talented supply chain professionals will continue to rise, and hiring and retaining them will continue to tax the best organizations. It is obvious that companies must “sell the opportunity” to candidates much more adroitly.
IMT Dubai campus sets an atmosphere that motivates a student to learn and explore, and derive benefits from interactions with the multinational student community of the Dubai International Academic City (DIAC). The DIAC is a purpose-built campus exclusively for colleges and universities. It provides a single location for post-secondary education in the Emirate bringing together 30 institutions from 13 different countries, allowing students and faculty coming from different institutions to connect and learn from each other.
IMT Dubai occupies an entire stand-alone building covering approximately 250,000 square feet, divided into blocks and areas. The campus is built in a contemporary fashion, with hi-tech learning centers, mock trading rooms, an up-do-date library, video conferencing facility, a Reuters terminal and more. The in-campus cafeteria offers multinational and international cuisine to the students. Students also participate in various festivals and theme events hosted by IMT Dubai and other schools of the Academic City. The whole environment gives the students a comprehensive learning experience as well as a chance to understand what it means to be a global citizen.
Ranking and Recognition: In addition to local accreditation, the MBA program at IMT Dubai is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE), a premier professional accrediting organization for business programs in student centered colleges and universities throughout the world.
At the end of the program, students are conferred with an degree accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education in the UAE. This greatly enhances the international acceptance of the degree, thereby giving impetus to higher education and careers, globally.
The academic qualifications granted by IMT Dubai are certified by KHDA are recognized in the Emirate of Dubai by all public and private entities for all purposes.
Impromptu meets, group studies, activities all around the corner, the buzz that is always on at IMT. The recent buzz created was an event that had over 450 students from all over UAE. You can imagine the hype and the energy at the campus, with the students of IMT pitching in and welcoming the lot. The event was an Interschool Literary challenge. A day for fun, a day for learning! With a lot of activities lined up, the event gave the students a chance to sneak a peek into the college life that awaits them. We started off with an assembly followed by a lot of activities lined up for that got the ice breaking and a lot of interaction and laughter. We had debates and elocution that got the speakers in them up and running. We had creative writing for the budding writers out there. For some more laughter, there was of course a dumb charades game! Followed by what’s the good word, some very beautiful collages and painting for the artists. That wasn’t all, there was a lot of unanswered perceptions about college life and the choices to be made in the future, and IMT was there to sort it out. The students interacted with the IMT students on campus and answered a whole lot of queries about college life and options one could chose after schooling. Overall it was a day of learning and fun at IMT, where even we, students of IMT relived the school life.
Dr Sharad Nair from Apex Advisors DMCC gave an insightful talk on “How to grow rich and stay rich”. He gave some tips as to how to invest in a prudent manner and also emphasized the importance of striking a work-life balance.