School of Business expands borders

Queen’s to offer professional training programs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi this fall

Clinton Free will be teaching on an entirely different Queen’s campus next February.

The assistant professor of accounting is leading workshops on finance in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The workshops are part of the Queen’s Executive Development Centre, a series of programs run by the School of Business in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, UAE.

The new programs begin after the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, which ends Oct. 12. They will be set up in two- and three-day modules.

Free said it’s a good opportunity for faculty to see that part of the world.

“I think a lot of faculty are pretty keen to get over there. … For me, the main attraction is really to get over there and see the economy. Also, I think it would be interesting to teach over there and experience a different culture.” Free will teach a workshop in Abu Dhabi, followed by one in Dubai.

“I’ve heard from people that it’s going to take our faculty away from Queen’s and this isn’t a good outcome, but I think that’s not really fair,” Free said.

“If I teach over there for a couple of weeks, it doesn’t reduce my teaching load here in Kingston at all.”

Free added that the amount of additional prep work is not unreasonable.

“It’s worth it for the experience,” he said. “I think it’s just an opportunity to see a new region and such an important part of the world now, and also to teach in a new environment.”

The programs will run until mid-May. All of the teaching will be done by faculty from the Queen’s School of Business.

“That will provide some interesting context for them, in terms of things that they’ll learn in the Gulf region … that they can translate back to their teaching here,” said Tom Anger, the centre’s executive director.

Anger said between 10 and 15 Queen’s faculty will be sent to the UAE to teach eight different modules in various two- or three-day programs.

They will be paid on an hourly basis on top of their salary.

“They’re just over there for short bursts of time. … In general, they’ll be over there for, at most, about a week and a half,” Anger said.

The professors’ courses at Queen’s will still take priority, Anger said.

“They’re not going to be canceling their classes here at Queen’s to go over to the UAE…This is short-term executive education only,” he said.

In Abu Dhabi, the school has partnered with the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training (CERT), the largest provider of private education in the Middle East.

“CERT will secure the locations, but most likely we’ll be running them out of hotels,” Anger said. They are in the process of building a large complex in Abu Dhabi that will eventually house the sessions.

In Dubai, the programs will be run from the Dubai International Financial Centre, a major financial hub in the Middle East.

The only other educational institutions working out of the centre are two from London, England.

“We’re sort of the first business school that’s set up over there,” Anger said.

Anger said the School of Business has recently been looking at expanding internationally.

“We’ve done work in Finland, in Slovenia, Chile, as well as Australia—but we’re looking now at setting up a more permanent type of situation in the United Arab Emirates,” Anger said.

This is the University’s 26th year working in executive education, whose target market is the mid- to senior-management level employees within an organization.

Anger said Queen’s runs about 35 weeks of executive-education programs every year. The programs focus on issues such as strategy, marketing, finance and governance.

“It’s really for people that come back for refreshers or updating on some of their business skills,” he said.

Anger has traveled to the UAE seven times in the past year and a half to set up the program. “It’s kind of an interesting place,” he said. “I sort of look at it as the Switzerland of the Middle East. Everybody’s welcome there; it’s a very Western-oriented region. They like Western-style education, and it’s very safe.” In January 2006, Anger and David Saunders, dean of the School of Business, visited the area for the first time after a number of Queen’s alumni located in the area urged the University to consider expanding into the UAE.

“We did a couple of preliminary sort of visits just to talk to people and find out what the needs are in the region, where we could be of help, what would fit that we already do,” Anger said. “It sort of snowballed from there in the sense that we looked at it as it really fit the internationalization strategies of the University.”

This program will target the Gulf Region, Anger said.

“Because we offer a slate of executive programs here, people from North America will just come to Kingston. So it’s going to be more of a local target in that particular region.”

Anger is also working with the College of Banking and Financial Studies in Muscat, Oman, to develop programming there.

“We’re in the process of putting together a proposal for the college at this stage. … That one’s still in preliminary discussion stages.”

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