GCC Students Find Intensive Financial Manage-ment Program at AUB ‘Unmissable’
|Twenty-three students with Professor Safieddine (back); Dorman, Razzouqi, Najjar, and Diab (front row)
Some 23 students from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries graduated from a special 16-week advanced financial management program held at AUB and considered a great success by students and teachers alike.
The sophisticated first-time program was designed and delivered by the Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut, under the umbrella of the Regional External Programs at the University and with the full support of the Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC), a regional financial institution set up by GCC governments in 1983 “to play a lead role in stimulating private enterprise and in funding projects that would underpin economic and social development.”
The program adopted Harvard Business School case studies to cover all aspects of financial analysis, including fund valuation and corporate finance. The certificates that were granted to students are equivalent to a master’s in finance, explained Program Coordinator Assem Safieddine.
“For 16 weeks you have persevered through advanced classes in finances that taught you themes that have always been important but never as important as now, with the financial crisis we are going through,” said Dean Najjar, during the graduation ceremony which was held on March 5 in West Hall. “Your market value has gone up sky-high,” he added.
Hisham Razzouqi, GIC’s chief executive officer and an AUB alumnus, commended students for their success and AUB for conducting such “an inspiring and fruitful training.”
He also noted that as the world undergoes a major financial crisis, the need is even greater for capabilities in finance and business in the Arab and Gulf regions. “In order to overcome and avoid the effects of the financial crisis, proper disclosure, transparency, and supervision in the financial sector are very important. We are counting on you to lead the way in this,” he told graduates.
Thanking GIC for its support, Najjar added: “There is no better application of corporate social responsibility than by investing in human capital. This program was not only about technical mastery of financial know-how, but also about leadership, about men and women who will lead other men and women.”
VP for REP Hassan Diab also commended the partnership with GIC, noting that the REP’s office is currently involved in more than 50 projects in 15 countries in the region.
AUB President Peter Dorman congratulated graduates for their achievement, saying” We are enormously grateful for having you with us. Your presence here allows AUB to achieve its mission of contributing to regional higher education.”
Professor Safieddine said: “To hear from students that the program had drastically changed their views of finance, giving them a greater depth of understanding of the subject was very rewarding.”
He added: “It just signals that we have done something right.”
The five top-ranking students in descending order, were: Nour Khamdan, from Bahrain, Abdellatif Al-Mahmood, also from Bahrain, Abdallah Al-Mishari from Kuwait, Sheikha Al-Rumaid from Saudi Arabia, and Nariman Al-Zann from Bahrain.
Students were all praise for the program, saying it was both “challenging, rewarding, and very interesting.”
“I learnt a lot and really enjoyed it,” said Khamdan. “There was so much exchange of ideas, and the professors were very helpful all the time. I especially liked that there was no routine. Instead, we focused on a new topic with a new teacher every week.”
But the academic program was not the only thing that students enjoyed. All were equally enraptured with campus life and Beirut’s vibrancy.
“It was an amazing experience,” said Abdallah Al-Mishari. “The facilities available on campus, the computer center, the library, the gym..., were simply great.”
“Every moment I spent here was memorable,” he added. “And I made so many friends and acquaintances from all six GCC countries, which will also help me in my future career plans.”
“Beirut was also amazing,” said Khamdan. “The weather, the scenery... are beautiful and the food is so delicious. This experience is definitely unmissable.”