The AUC School of Business initiated its new “Doing Business in the Middle East” program for international students by welcoming a group of MBA students from the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) in October 2017.
As part of its stern emphasis on internationalization, connecting the Arab Region with the world and developing cross-cultural understandings, the AUC School of Business welcomed the first group of international graduate students to the “Doing Business in the Middle East” program in Cairo last October.
During the customized and comprehensive weeklong stay, the group, along with accompanying faculty member Heidi le Sueur, was exposed to everything business-related in the Middle East – from entrepreneurship to civic responsibility, supply chain to family business, cultural challenges to data-driven innovation. The group visited select companies, met with senior executives, made visits to government entities, had networking events with alumni and AUC representatives, and visited some of Cairo’s most important historical sites during their visit.
“The reason why I chose this trip was doing business in the Middle East and Africa [in the future],” explained attending student Muzaffar Khan. “I wanted to get a good economic perspective, a good regional perspective on where Egypt lies. The lecturers have done well in this little time to provide the information. Even if they couldn’t give you all of this information in an hour, they would give you the sources.”
The USB-MBA students seemed to revel in the newfound opportunities for future business collaborations made possible by the trip. Their holistic socioeconomic integration into the MENA region opened up several avenues to compare and contrast business elements in South Africa and Egypt. The commonalities, as it turned out, outweighed the differences considerably, further strengthening the pathway for future joint ventures.
“The trip crystallized recent activities between the AUC School of Business and our key partner, USB,” stated Director of the Office of Internationalization and Partnerships within the School of Business, Sherine Gad El Mawla. “Both schools plan to continue fostering the partnership further and build new activities that connect Cape Town to Cairo. Not only do we share many ideals, but we also have similar strategic visions and aspirations for regional contributions in Africa and the Middle East.”
It was only one week, but with “Doing Business in the Middle East”, the AUC School of Business provided a welcome reminder that successful business practices could be as much about cultural assimilation as they are about actual transactions.
“It almost feels like this entire week has been specifically designed for me,” stated USB student Jacques Else while in Egypt. “The biggest benefit for me is that I wanted to come here to build relationships. It’s all about conversations and sharing ideas.”