(MENAFN - Arab News) Prince Sultan University's proposed tieup with global business school INSEAD to help pep up Saudi job market
INSEAD, the leading international business school ranked as the best non-US business school in the world, has announced plans to tie up with Prince Sultan University (PSU), the first private university in Saudi Arabia.
The proposed cooperation, to be cemented further by signing an agreement, will go a long way in offering tailor-made courses for Saudi students for the job market and in reducing the Kingdom's dependence on foreign manpower in the process, it was revealed at a high-profile conference attended by over 250 INSEAD alumni in the Kingdom and held under the patronage of Prince Bader bin Abdullah Al-Saud, assistant deputy minister at the Ministry of Finance.
Muhammad Al-Jasser, minister of economy and planning, was also present at the conference together with INSEAD dean Dipak C. Jain who flew to the Saudi capital to hold talks with PSU officials and to meet with the alumni, who had formed an association in the Kingdom.
Jain was named dean of INSEAD, which has campuses in Fontainebleau, France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi, in September 2010. Prior to his appointment, Jain had an enduring and illustrious career spanning nearly three decades both as a veteran educator and as a business school administrator. Jain, who was on his maiden visit to the Kingdom late last month, has published three books as well as more than 60 articles in several leading academic journals.
The INSEAD alumni conference was anchored by prominent Saudi businessman Amel S. Al-Munajjed, who is also the founding president of INSEAD Alumni Association (Saudi chapter). Zeina Sleiman, associate director of INSEAD Abu Dhabi campus, was also present at the alumni meet at Prince Bader's residence in the Saudi capital. The meeting was addressed by Al-Jasser and Prince Bader besides Jain, who spelled out INSEAD'S vision for the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia.
Speaking on this occasion, Al-Jasser said: "There are wonderful opportunities for business in the Kingdom but there is a need to train and groom the young generation of Saudis to enable them to fit into the employment market."
In a frank admission before the alumni, the minister said he was facing a dearth of trained manpower in various departments and in different government agencies as well as in private sector organizations.
"Hence, there is a potential for institutions like INSEAD to capitalize on this opportunity as Saudi Arabia's economy, the largest in the Arab world, is expected to perform well in 2012 and beyond," said Al-Jasser. He said the Saudi economy remains robust as the government's massive spending plans trickle down and stimulates consumer spending. It is important to note that the hydrocarbon composite index has decreased, dropping by 23 points to 40.
"Saudi Arabia is doing well on all fronts," said the minister, while referring to the global economic growth, which is expected to moderate this year. On the other hand, the European debt crisis will keep economies reminded of the risks of a contagious effect that could complicate global recovery, he added. Speaking on this occasion, Prince Bader first welcomed Al-Jasser and wished him all the best on his appointment as minister of economy and planning.
He described Al-Jasser as one of the architects of a modern Saudi Arabia.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Jain gave an overview of INSEAD's presence in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi with special reference to his visit to the Kingdom in an interview with Arab News.
Jain, who was greatly impressed by what he saw in Riyadh on his maiden visit, also spoke about his meetings with senior government officials and academics in the Kingdom.
He said he held talks with PSU Rector Dr. Ahmed bin Saleh Yamani and is quite hopeful that they would eventually lead to the signing of an agreement in the near future. "The agreement will be in the best interests of the two institutions what I saw and felt after my interaction with Prince Bader, Al-Jasser and top PSU officials was very encouraging," said the INSEAD dean, adding that the two institutions are looking forward "to work together on many dimensions."
A road map for cooperation between the PSU and INSEAD will be spelled out very soon, he added.
Jain pointed out that INSEAD brings together people, cultures and ideas from around the world to change lives and transform organizations. "We will cater to the specific requirements of this region, including Saudi Arabia, in terms of management courses, skills and faculty development programs," Jain added.
He said INSEAD will work out joint programs with the PSU for faculty development, joint case writings, joint research projects and help the PSU staff to visit INSEAD to spend some time and learn from the school's experience. INSEAD's business education and research spans three continents, said Jain, adding that the school's 170 renowned faculty members from 35 countries inspire more than 1,000 degree participants annually in their MBA, Executive MBA and PhD programs.
More than 6,000 executives participate in INSEAD's Executive Education programs each year.
Asked about the courses offered at INSEAD Abu Dhabi campus, Jain said different management programs are offered, including an executive MBA program. "The Abu Dhabi campus is a relatively young entity," said the dean, adding that he looks forward to building a strong INSEAD presence in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.
INSEAD's campus in Abu Dhabi was established to better understand the region and to contribute to the development of the region through in-depth research of important business topics, he noted.
Led by INSEAD's world-class faculty, the Abu Dhabi campus currently witnesses a number of activities including applied research initiatives that are being undertaken in several areas including women and leadership, health care and human resources management.
He added: "We have gone to a further level. We expanded to Singapore to have our Asia base, Abu Dhabi became our Middle East entry and down the road we would also like to do something in the US. I call them INSEAD Europe, INSEAD Middle East, INSEAD Asia-Pacific and INSEAD Americas and that will be the four pillars of the house of INSEAD, the global business school," said Jain, while referring to the current intake of 1,000 students from different nationalities in the institute's management programs.
"We are serving the global community," said the dean, while describing several laurels and commendations won by INSEAD recently. France's INSEAD was ranked Europe's No. 1 MBA school last year by international employers.
The average INSEAD graduate started the program with six years of work experience and left commanding a base salary of 107,240. The course's duration is 10 months, and it places a strong focus on entrepreneurship and requires students to be tri-lingual.
Referring to the excellence achieved by INSEAD globally, Jain said the school in Singapore would offer a Master's in Finance for experienced financial industry professionals who want to advance their competitive and management skills in the financial sector. The program will be launched on INSEAD's Asia campus in Singapore in April 2013. Jain said the Master's in Finance is designed to provide a rich and integrated experience to help prepare the next generation of financial leaders.
The program offers electives such as risk management, macroeconomics and finance, decision sciences and investment banking along with financial leadership, management and communication courses. INSEAD said the curriculum is designed to meet the needs of ambitious professionals seeking to pursue a rigorous course of study while working. Classes are offered in five modules - every four months over a 20-month period - at INSEAD's Singapore and Fontainebleau campus in France.
INSEAD has also partnered with New Economic School in Russia to deliver the school's largest executive education program to 500 managers per year at Sberbank. Jain said INSEAD has developed a comprehensive executive education program for Sberbank, the largest bank by market cap in eastern Europe, and Russia's largest bank with 50 percent of the country's retail market and more than 30 percent of the corporate market.
The program - INSEAD's largest management training program to date - is being offered in partnership with The New Economic School (NES) to 500 of Sberbank's high potential managers from August 2011 through June 2012. The one-year blended learning program will allow Sberbank managers to learn the latest management techniques, tools and frameworks with the goal of helping them advance in their careers. The second module in Moscow ran from Jan. 16 to 20 and the third module will run from June 25 to 29.
"INSEAD's executive education program with Sberbank marks a significant milestone for INSEAD and helps further the school's exposure in one of the largest emerging markets in the world," said Jain. "We are honored to partner with The New Economic School to offer a comprehensive training program that will ultimately enhance the management skills of high potentials at one of the largest banks in Russia," he added.
The program will cover key elements from INSEAD's MBA core curriculum including decision making under uncertainty, human capital management, operations management, the principles of finance, understanding the fundamentals of economics, managing marketing strategy, the challenges of leadership, and fundamentals of strategy. The Sberbank 500 program will spearhead the beginning of a new era for the bank, its culture and its business.
Jain pointed out that INSEAD counts many Russian-speakers amongst its faculty and has acknowledged strength in emerging markets in general, and the New Economic School has been successful in building an internationally recognized faculty in economics and finance. As the program will train 500 high potential employees a year for five years, both INSEAD and the NES faculty believe they can have a major impact on modernizing Russia's largest bank - which in turn will make an important contribution to transforming the whole Russian economy and society, added Jain.
Taught entirely in Russian, the Sberbank 500 program will assist in the growth of the bank's own future senior leaders through the blending of two different approaches, including a residential component with live discussions of case studies and group work, and an option which will allow participants to join a virtual classroom environment from any location.
INSEAD is one of the world's largest providers of executive education, delivering cutting-edge program across the world.
An INSEAD video case study focusing on the marketing strategies of Portuguese paper company Renova has won the overall global award for the best case study from ecch (formerly European Case Clearing House). Renova differentiated itself from its peers through innovation and the creation of Renova Black toilet paper, launching the rolls from supermarket shelves into fashion shows and designer boutiques.
The project was directed by marketing professor Pierre Chandon and the video component was produced in-house at INSEAD. The INSEAD case study documented how Renova, a privately-held European paper products company headquartered outside of Lisbon, managed to differentiate itself from its international competitors, transform toilet paper from a commodity into a premium product, and then enter new business sectors through innovative marketing.
The result was "Renova Black," the world's first black toilet paper, which rapidly shifted from a novelty item to a luxury fashion item. These commendations make an alumnus proud of INSEAD, said Jain.
Speaking on the occasion, outgoing President Al-Munajjed gave a brief overview of the alumni association in Saudi Arabia. He said it seeks to bridge the gap between INSEAD and the Arab World by promoting the school in Saudi Arabia and vice versa. The objectives of the INSEAD alumni association is to raise awareness about this great institution in Saudi Arabia, said Musaab Al-Mohaidib, the new president of the alumni association.
Al-Mohaidib pointed out that the INSEAD Alumni Association in Saudi Arabia will assist the school in its projects in the Middle East, including the Kingdom. The association, he said, will also help facilitate networking between alumni in Saudi Arabia and other countries of the region. He said the local alumni chapter would invite professors from INSEAD and hold lectures, seminars and programs. Currently there are 43 national alumni associations (NAA) representing 46 countries across the world.
"The purpose of the NAAs is to support its members throughout the world with a comprehensive and wide range of professional and social activities to nourish the network and to promote INSEAD," said the new president.
Al-Mohaidib, who completed short- and long-term management programs at INSEAD, welcomed Jain's visit to the Kingdom. He said he was also overwhelmed by the remarks made by Jain in his address.
The present INSEAD network of MBA, Executive MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education alumni has now reached over 41,000 in over 160 countries. The INSEAD Alumni Association has also launched a new service called "Mobile Connect" to help the alumni to network, said Marisa Cooke, director of Alumni Affairs and INSEAD Alumni Fund in a letter addressed to INSEAD alumni. A copy of the letter was made available to Arab News.
According to an INSEAD brochure, INSEAD programs are becoming richer as this institution also participates in academic partnerships with several internationally-renowned institutions like the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia & San Francisco); the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University near Chicago, and Johns Hopkins University/SAIS in Washington DC.
In Asia, INSEAD partners with Tsinghua University in Beijing and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. INSEAD also partners with Sorbonne University Pantheon-Assas Law School and with Fundao Dom Cabral in Brazil. In 2009, INSEAD celebrated 50 years as a pioneer of international business education based in Europe. In 2010, INSEAD celebrated the 10th Anniversary of its Asia campus in Singapore. This year, INSEAD marks five years of activity in Abu Dhabi.