Making the grade: Middle East Centre graduates 194 part-time MBA students in 2019

Graduation is one of the most exciting and fulfilling days in the academic programme. The University of Manchester’s seventh MBA graduation celebration event held in Dubai in November 2019 was attended by students and their families and friends. In fact,  the Middle East Centre graduated a total of 194 part-time MBA students in 2019. Of the 39 new MBA graduates attending the Dubai celebration event, the majority graduated with Merit or Distinction and most reside in the UAE; around 20% of these new graduates are female.

For all the graduates, It marked the completion of a transformational journey and the beginning of a new relationship, as Manchester alumni. 

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of the Knowledge & Human Development Authority (KHDA) was the guest of honour and addressed the new graduates. Professor Sharon Clarke, Deputy Dean of Alliance Manchester Business School, part of The University of Manchester, led the celebration event on behalf of the University.

Speaking about graduation, Randa Bessiso, Director - Middle East, The University of Manchester, said: “The Middle East Centre was delighted to host the University of Manchester MBA graduation celebration for students from the region. Graduation is one of the highlights of the academic year and on behalf of the team, I would like to thank all our supporters, partners, students and alumni for making this possible. Students from the Middle East are top performers across the University’s international network and we are very proud of their achievements in balancing the challenges of a rigorous academic programme with their family, life and career commitments, and reaching the standard of a Manchester Global Part- time MBA – the top ranked MBA programme in the Middle East.”     

The Global Part-time MBA study option leads to the award of the internationally recognised Manchester MBA degree from the University of Manchester, which was recognised at the Forbes Middle East Higher Education Awards 2019, winning the ‘Best MBA Programme’ award.

The University of Manchester opened its Middle East Centre at Dubai Knowledge Park in 2006 and, today, it is the largest and fastest growing of the University’s network of six centres around the world. The Middle East Centre has supported more than 2,700 part-time students in the region, and graduated more than 1,700. In Dubai, The University of Manchester has been awarded a 5-star rating from the Knowledge & Human Development Authority. The Centre works in regional collaborations with a range of industry groups, professional bodies and companies, and supports a regional alumni association with more than 2,500 members. The University of Manchester was recognised at the Forbes Middle East Higher Education Awards 2019, winning the ‘Best MBA Programme’ award. 

In a message to the new graduates, Professor Fiona Devine, head of school, said that the Middle East is notable for the quality and diversity of students we attract, with every new cohort enriching the experience for the benefit of the entire student and alumni community… and added: “The Manchester MBA says a great deal about a person but is no automatic passport to success, achievement or fulfilment; these still have to be earned.”  

161 students of the class of 2019 graduated either with a Distinction or Merit, supporting our consistent view that the quality of our students is truly exceptional. We are especially pleased that 20% of the graduating group was female and, even within a high performing cohort, our female students stand out as top achievers. 

Sneha Mathew was the top scoring individual student in the class of 2019 (with a distinction in every workshop) and a member of the leading live business group project team. After graduating in economics in India, Dubai-born and raised Seha has worked in advertising for more than 15 years and most recently as an account director. However, she aims to make a deeper professional impact on business results and profits and her decision to join the Manchester Global Part-time MBA was part of this career transition plan. 

Sneha points to the blended learning format and the intense and challenging workshops as the highlights of the MBA programme experience. The learning is accelerated through face to face access to faculty and a diverse team of student peers, and with a focus on real-world business cases, along with the opportunity to put ideas to work in the workplace, immediately. Seha’s live business project brought her together with a team of five and combined their diverse skills and experience, including strategic planning, IT, banking and finance, treasury, and engineering. The project arose from an introduction to University partner DTP (Dubai Technology Partners) who offered two options and the group chose a feasibility analysis project, supported by a University project advisor. 

Graduation is the culmination of hard work and commitment, and many students have overcome personal and professional challenges through their journeys. We also recognise the vital contribution of students’ families, friends, employers and colleagues in supporting what we know is a very demanding and transformational journey. 

The Manchester Global MBA will have helped equip students for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. As they start the next phase of their careers - in a new role, company or embarking on an entrepreneurial pathway - we will continue to follow their progress closely.