In less than 24 hours, I will hop on a non-stop Emirates flight to Dubai, the commercial hub of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Along with 29 of my CBS classmates, I’m embarking on an adventure to discover how the UAE became an economic powerhouse.
The UAE was founded 48 years ago when the seven emirates that make up the nation united. In less than half a century, the country’s economy has changed immensely. Once powered by pearl-divers and fishers, now the UAE’s economy relies on exporting oil. This shift has transformed the UAE, making it one of the most prosperous nations in the Gulf.
To prepare for the trip, my classmates and I have spent the last six weeks exploring topics related to the UAE. Every week, a group of students discussed issues ranging from trade and tourism to labor relations, and more. The presentations provided a general overview though we learned more nuanced details from experts on the UAE. Guest speakers, such as His Excellency Majid Al Suwaidi, Consul General of the UAE in New York and PwC Advisory Director Alexis Crow, shared an insider’s view on what makes the UAE so special. These perspectives gave us a better idea of the benefits and challenges of living and working in the UAE.
Of course, the more we learned, the more questions we developed. We began to wonder…
– Is the unique political structure of the UAE a strength or a risk as the country continues to grow?
– What steps is the government taking to diversify its economy? What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing so?
– How will the labor market change in response to the increasing number of foreign nationals working and living in Dubai?
To get these questions answered, our class will spend the next week in the UAE. We’ll visit companies, hear from ministry officials, and take part in cultural activities. By doing so, we’ll immerse ourselves in UAE society and learn more than we ever could in only a classroom.
So, we’re off to the UAE! An unforgettable trip is just around the corner.