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Saudi Vision 2030 Is Creating Massive Job Opportunities For MBAs In The Middle East

The radical reforms will drive job opportunities for women in business, tech-savvy entrepreneurs, and a wave of globally-networked MBA grads

Fri May 18 2018

BusinessBecause
Saudi Arabia is changing. The Saudi Vision 2030 reforms, set in motion by crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, are a masterplan to wean the country off its dependency on oil. To diversify the economy, the country will focus on key growth sectors including health, IT, communications, tourism, and education.

“[This is] a journey that involves testing new organizations, business lines, and companies,” explains Faisal Al Amro, an MBA graduate from Copenhagen Business School who co-launched his own consulting firm in Saudi Arabia, Pioneers Consulting and Training.

“This will present new investment opportunities and will require new sets of knowledge plus skills. It is a very achievable vision where developing human capital capabilities is one key success factor!”

Faisal says that the new demand for innovative companies, and the internal diversification that must occur for current companies to modernize and prosper, plays into the hands of MBA students looking for job opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

“Many public-sector entities are being privatized, creating demand for a skilled, business-savvy labor force,” he continues. “MBAs are best to pursue these opportunities. [They] are very good when it comes to building global partnerships. And with their international exposure—including alumni networks—are well equipped to locate and partner with international companions across the globe.”

In Saudi Arabia, 20-to-30% of the population are in their thirties—prime time for an MBA program.

“This generation is very ambitious and forward thinking, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to their dreams and expectations,” says Faisal.


A more liberal outlook has and will open a wealth of opportunity for women in the country—last year, Sarah Al-Suhaimi became the first woman to be appointed as chair of the Saudi stock exchange. She is the first woman to chair a major financial institution in the Kingdom.

In the next 15 years, as part of the reforms, there is a plan to increase female participation in the workforce from 22% to 30%.

Dublin City University (DCU) Business School signed a partnership in 2012 with the Princess Nourah Bint Adbulrahman University in Riyadh—the world’s largest women-only university. They offer a Bachelor in Business Studies International Finance (BSIF), and a Bachelor of Marketing, Innovation, and Technology (MINT).

Professor Anne Sinnott, executive dean of Dublin City University (DCU) Business School, says that to date over 70% of the first batch of MINT graduates, the class of 2017, have found employment in Saudi Arabia—among the companies to have hired the grads are the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, EY, BCG, Siemens, and SAP.

Anne explains that even the financial sector—traditionally male-dominated—is opening up, to the point where some companies are positively discriminating in favor of female grads. “This year, Arab National Bank opened up an extensive graduate program exclusively for women,” she adds.

Women are increasingly found in positions of leadership and authority. “Working offers women a chance to expand beyond the traditional confines of family, and create an independent life, as well as the more obvious benefits of economic independence,” explains Anne.

The driving ban on women was also lifted in June 2018, and Anne confirms that the opening of a high-tech, widespread metro system for the first time in the city of Riyadh—due to be full operational by 2021—will ensure the fluidity with which the workforce can move around the city will increase drastically.


The impact of tech will also open up doors for a new wave of entrepreneurs in the region. “The old way of doing business is becoming less popular, with more regulations pushing towards a more tech friendly environment,” says Obai Albashir, an MBA graduate from IE Business School who is now a consultant for the Government of Saudi Arabia.

One of the fundamental pillars of Saudi Vision 2030 is the commitment to drive up non-oil revenue. The Kingdom understands that this can’t be done without the backing of scalable, local startups—tech startups are the most favourable, Obai says.

All of this points to growing demand for tech-savvy entrepreneurs, something Obai says was missing in the past because of an old school, business as usual method of approaching the market. “[They] were very rare because many believed there [was] no room for them.

“The demand is increasing, [but] I’m not sure our perception will change as quickly. I think there will be a supply demand gap at some point before our educational system catches up with the market.”

It is becoming easier to set up companies, and Obai asserts that the government is working hard on integration between all governmental service providers to shorten the burdens associated with piles of paperwork.

“A lot of the documents were digitized,” he concludes. “More licenses are being given to international investors and businesses, easing up some of the restraints we had before.”

Student Reviews

Copenhagen Business School (CBS)

Student

Verified

29/09/2019

CBS: efficient international network

CBS has always been ranked among the best universities in Europe and this means that it has become a sign of professionalism and success. The academic level is great thanks to the good teachers and the atmosphere is proactive and challenging. Lots of events are planned every week and this helps you to find your own way. CBS is not only a business school, it is a great and efficient international network.

Stella

Verified

24/04/2019

Good academic career

I did my Bachelors at CBS and their academic excellence and career opportunities led me to pursue my Masters in Accounting, Strategy and Control. I was very lucky to go on an exchange in Singapore for one semester it boosted me to get a career in a global firm. I like that it is super modern and has all the facilities for the business student in 2019. Especially, I liked the library and Bitlab where I spent most of my time studying. However, note that it is very demanding and studying here is no joke. Everything is very competitive and you are among the most excellent business students in the country. The interaction with international students helped me to see different perspectives in business and culturally and I was lucky to make friends from any part of the world. CBS is like a brand in Denmark. Every serious business company prioritizes us over any other Danish university and also it is free for European citizens. Overall, I have a very satisfying experience at CBS and I'm looking to continue my academical career even further.

Student

Verified

13/04/2019

CBS is one of the best!

All I have to say regarding my experience at CBS is that it is AMAZING. Having been tutored by world-class academic staff, I can definitely support that I am receiving the best of quality regarding my studies in Digital Marketing. Staff is very friendly and easy to approach. In addition, the facilities we enjoy are top class and meet any demands. Keep in mind that, EU citizens do not pay any fees. Student life might be non-existent here, but the location of the University in The very center of Copenhagen has a huge variety of choices to offer to students regarding their entertainment. Accommodation might be a problem, but early research of the market can be very useful. In addition, the University promotes diversity. In CBS University you can meet people from the whole world which is quite interesting. I definitely suggest CBS for any student who he's interested in pursuing a career in marketing or business.

Stefani

Verified

12/04/2019

The ideal business school

I have been enrolled in this university for 2 semesters. What I took from this experience is that there is nothing better out there for those looking for professional growth while being guided by some of the top-notch professors in Scandinavia. They have a really strong focus in technology and digital transformation and they are up to date to guarantee you land a job in the modern fast-evolving world. They also embrace diversity which means many students come from any part of the world and it takes the entire learning experience to another level. You simply learn from every other student cause everyone has different experiences and background which makes you open your mind and see the world from a different angle. In Denmark, even businesses prioritize people who graduate from CBS as it's commonly perceived as the most prestigious university for business graduates.

José Pedro

Verified

22/09/2019

A Place of Personal Growth

In CBS you can expect an environment of proactive thinking and growth. The university staff is always open to help and to debate. The teaching methods balance theoretical knowledge and practical skills enabling the student with capacity and confidence to enter the job market successfully. The existence of students from all over the world stimulates discussion and promotion of different cultures, ideas and perspectives. I highly recommend this university for students in business-related areas.

Cathy

Verified

5/02/2019

Environment

The environment here is really great. Despite the well organized buildings and libraries, there are also places for students to just stay and relax also even study in the corners of each campus. The professors are mostly really nice and try to interact with students a lot. So, to sum up, the environment is really nice for studying here.

Philip

Verified

15/04/2018

Quality education

Quality education where it emphazises the importance of academic. No finger to put on this aspect of the school. However, sometimes the administration and IT can be lacking a bit, but in general a really good choice for education!

Student

Verified

27/09/2017

Best Time!

Classes are challenging and conducted in a professional manner. CBS offers a wide range of possibilities to develop outside of the classes! Libraries and other facilities on the campus are very well adjusted to the student needs.

Student

Verified

22/09/2017

A heavily theory-based curriculum combined with an ever-stimulating environment

I am currently a Master student at CBS, but I have also completed a Bachelor's Degree in this university. I am quite satisfied with my studies and the teaching level. However, when compared to other business schools, it becomes apparent that most courses at CBS strive to find a good balance between theoretical insight and real-life examples. Compared to my exchange university, the projects that I have found myself writing at CBS have a far less practical application and also leave little room for creativity. If the teaching is heavily theoretical, on the bright side, the university arranges a number of events throughout the year to encourage students to apply their knowledge, in the form of career fairs, case competitions, and other events organized by student associations. In my experience, teachers are very easily approachable and happy to answer your questions. A foreign student like me will find a more international environment at Master level, since the number of international (or at least non-Scandinavian) students enrolled in the Bachelor programs is quite low. However, all communication (both oral and written) from teachers and the university offices is always in English. Administrative offices, student guidance services, the career center, and the international office are definitely worth a mention. All of the requests that I have had throughout the years have always been met with kindness, promptness and efficiency.

Student

Verified

29/09/2019

CBS: efficient international network

CBS has always been ranked among the best universities in Europe and this means that it has become a sign of professionalism and success. The academic level is great thanks to the good teachers and the atmosphere is proactive and challenging. Lots of events are planned every week and this helps you to find your own way. CBS is not only a business school, it is a great and efficient international network.

Stella

Verified

24/04/2019

Good academic career

I did my Bachelors at CBS and their academic excellence and career opportunities led me to pursue my Masters in Accounting, Strategy and Control. I was very lucky to go on an exchange in Singapore for one semester it boosted me to get a career in a global firm. I like that it is super modern and has all the facilities for the business student in 2019. Especially, I liked the library and Bitlab where I spent most of my time studying. However, note that it is very demanding and studying here is no joke. Everything is very competitive and you are among the most excellent business students in the country. The interaction with international students helped me to see different perspectives in business and culturally and I was lucky to make friends from any part of the world. CBS is like a brand in Denmark. Every serious business company prioritizes us over any other Danish university and also it is free for European citizens. Overall, I have a very satisfying experience at CBS and I'm looking to continue my academical career even further.

Student

Verified

13/04/2019

CBS is one of the best!

All I have to say regarding my experience at CBS is that it is AMAZING. Having been tutored by world-class academic staff, I can definitely support that I am receiving the best of quality regarding my studies in Digital Marketing. Staff is very friendly and easy to approach. In addition, the facilities we enjoy are top class and meet any demands. Keep in mind that, EU citizens do not pay any fees. Student life might be non-existent here, but the location of the University in The very center of Copenhagen has a huge variety of choices to offer to students regarding their entertainment. Accommodation might be a problem, but early research of the market can be very useful. In addition, the University promotes diversity. In CBS University you can meet people from the whole world which is quite interesting. I definitely suggest CBS for any student who he's interested in pursuing a career in marketing or business.

Stefani

Verified

12/04/2019

The ideal business school

I have been enrolled in this university for 2 semesters. What I took from this experience is that there is nothing better out there for those looking for professional growth while being guided by some of the top-notch professors in Scandinavia. They have a really strong focus in technology and digital transformation and they are up to date to guarantee you land a job in the modern fast-evolving world. They also embrace diversity which means many students come from any part of the world and it takes the entire learning experience to another level. You simply learn from every other student cause everyone has different experiences and background which makes you open your mind and see the world from a different angle. In Denmark, even businesses prioritize people who graduate from CBS as it's commonly perceived as the most prestigious university for business graduates.

José Pedro

Verified

22/09/2019

A Place of Personal Growth

In CBS you can expect an environment of proactive thinking and growth. The university staff is always open to help and to debate. The teaching methods balance theoretical knowledge and practical skills enabling the student with capacity and confidence to enter the job market successfully. The existence of students from all over the world stimulates discussion and promotion of different cultures, ideas and perspectives. I highly recommend this university for students in business-related areas.

Cathy

Verified

5/02/2019

Environment

The environment here is really great. Despite the well organized buildings and libraries, there are also places for students to just stay and relax also even study in the corners of each campus. The professors are mostly really nice and try to interact with students a lot. So, to sum up, the environment is really nice for studying here.

Philip

Verified

15/04/2018

Quality education

Quality education where it emphazises the importance of academic. No finger to put on this aspect of the school. However, sometimes the administration and IT can be lacking a bit, but in general a really good choice for education!

Student

Verified

27/09/2017

Best Time!

Classes are challenging and conducted in a professional manner. CBS offers a wide range of possibilities to develop outside of the classes! Libraries and other facilities on the campus are very well adjusted to the student needs.

Student

Verified

22/09/2017

A heavily theory-based curriculum combined with an ever-stimulating environment

I am currently a Master student at CBS, but I have also completed a Bachelor's Degree in this university. I am quite satisfied with my studies and the teaching level. However, when compared to other business schools, it becomes apparent that most courses at CBS strive to find a good balance between theoretical insight and real-life examples. Compared to my exchange university, the projects that I have found myself writing at CBS have a far less practical application and also leave little room for creativity. If the teaching is heavily theoretical, on the bright side, the university arranges a number of events throughout the year to encourage students to apply their knowledge, in the form of career fairs, case competitions, and other events organized by student associations. In my experience, teachers are very easily approachable and happy to answer your questions. A foreign student like me will find a more international environment at Master level, since the number of international (or at least non-Scandinavian) students enrolled in the Bachelor programs is quite low. However, all communication (both oral and written) from teachers and the university offices is always in English. Administrative offices, student guidance services, the career center, and the international office are definitely worth a mention. All of the requests that I have had throughout the years have always been met with kindness, promptness and efficiency.

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