The two countries are 3,500 miles and a 10-and-a-half-hour plane ride apart – so what exactly do Wales and the United Arab Emirates have in common?
Well, how about an exciting, long-standing partnership between ourselves and a prestigious college in the UAE?
This year the partnership with Westford University College is celebrating an important milestone – five years of this highly successful link-up. During this time, more than 750 international students from UAE have successfully completed a MBA (Master of Business Administration) course and received a Cardiff Met qualification.
Explaining why the link-up benefits Cardiff Met, its co-founder Dr Mukul Madahar, Associate Dean for International at Cardiff School of Management, says: “We have wider international reach through this partnership. It complements our global markets by targeting working professionals who under normal circumstances might not be able to come to UK for their higher education.”
With cohorts growing year-on year, students have the opportunity to obtain a Level 7 Extended Diploma in International Business and Strategy with 120 credits at Westford. That creates a platform to them to go onto Cardiff Met’s Advanced Entry route for a further 60 credits and gain the MBA award within seven months.
While Westford is responsible for student recruitment, Cardiff Met caters for the other end of the student journey, with a large group of students celebrate their MBA journey by travelling to Cardiff to attend our graduation ceremonies, accompanied by Westford staff and faculty.
Of course, the pandemic has made this impossible this year, as well as forcing some changes to the format of the actual programme. Normally, it is offered on-site in UAE and online to Westford students spread across 133 countries globally. The advanced entry stage of the MBA gives the option to study here at Cardiff Met, with our academics supervising students during the dissertation stage.
But as Dr Mukul Madahar explains, the course is now being offered via distance learning.
“The current blended learning approach was easily adaptable as the programme’s delivery already involved a lot of digital interaction between teaching staff and students.
“Students already benefited from a fully interactive mode of study with scheduled webinars, one-to-one sessions with a supervisor, the opportunity to interact with fellow students and access to Moodle,” he says.
“We have already completed delivery of teaching for the first cohort that started after lockdown and the students have now progressed onto dissertations.” The students on this partnership programme boast some notable alumni, including members of senior management at Citibank, Harley Davidson, Riyadh Bank and Emirates NBD. Some have even gone on to pursue Doctorate programmes.
Professor David Brooksbank, Dean of CSM, added: “Over the last five years of this relationship with Westford college in the UAE we have developed a strong track record of collaboration. This has led to many hundreds of quality students graduating with our degrees and this is set to expand as we learn to work with each other in ever more creative and interesting ways.”
Dr Mukul Madahar
Associate Dean Partnerships