Spring 2006 Vol. IV, No. 3
The Ahmed Abdul Aziz Al Katami Trading Room at the Olayan
School of Business
Thats the world around youif you
dont keep pace with it, youre out of it.
With a new gift to establish AUBs first trading
room, the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business is ensuring that its students
will be able to plug into financial markets in real time.
Theyre upping the ante on global education by bridging the gap between
the textbook approach to finance and the real worldwhich is what
the trading room is all about.
The trading room, which is the result of a $500,000 pledge
by the family of the late Ahmed Abdul Aziz Al Katami, will be an ultra
modern facility that will give students a chance to see how financial
markets work around the world.
The family that made this gift possible has been tied to businessand
to AUBfor many years. Born in 1923, Ahmed Abdul Aziz Al Katami started
his business in his late twenties, after the discovery of oil in Kuwait.
He was the first Kuwaiti to start a business in Dubai, sensing the potential
of the Dubai market. He was also a liberal who believed in womens
emancipation and encouraged his eight daughters to pursue their educations,
which they didat AUB, the American University in Cairo, and in the
United States. After Ahmed Abdul Aziz Al Katami passed away in December
1995, his daughters wanted to make a unique gift to AUB in his memory.
The gift holds a special significance for the family because several of
Al Katamis daughters, who are also involved in business, graduated
from AUB. Five sisters studied at AUB. The two youngest sisters attended
the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California.
When Alya Al Katami, one of the eldest sisters, is asked about her AUB
experience, she says At AUB I had the opportunity to express my
opinion freely and to have more self-confidence. I learned how to do my
own research, something we were never asked to do in our high schools
back home in the early 1960s. I was intrigued to see discussions and disputes
about political issues, where you have the freedom to express your opinion.
According to Dean George Najjar, the new facility fits nicely with ongoing
efforts at the school to adopt a more student-centered approach to learning.
The trading room will boast technological resources unparalleled in Lebanon,
and introduce a new level of education for the region. Students will tap
into previously inaccessible databases and real time information analyses,
using software including Bloomberg workstations, 30 ReutersXtra workstations,
Reuters Research Knowledge, and Reuters Graphical Professional. The trading
room will play a pivotal role in business school education for a large
community of undergraduate, MBA, and Executive MBA students. It will also
offer new possibilities for the executive education program and will attract
researchers specializing in emerging markets, with special reference to
the Middle East.