On 27 November 2021, Curtin University Dubai’s MBA students went on an immersive tour of EXPO 2020. This industry visit was an integral part of a credit-bearing unit within the MBA program called The Commerce Interactive Study Tour. This unit focuses on developing a global mindset in our MBA students, immersing them in business or law related contexts in complex, international settings.
The students visited a variety of pavilions, attending sessions hosted by representatives from Australia, Estonia, Poland, Serbia, and Singapore as part of their academic studies. Head of the Business School, Associate Professor Anna Tarabasz explains: “Generally, students are taken on a series of industry visits with companies either locally or virtually in order to understand the business environment of the company or country. However, as Expo 2020 was taking place in Dubai, we integrated this huge event into the Commerce Interactive Study Tour unit, as it gives students the exposure and opportunity to meet with representatives and dignitaries from different countries.” Associate Professor Tarabasz pointed out that these visits help students gain insights into a variety of different countries and their business environments. “Using these insights, students then select a particular country and conduct further research into both it and a company of their choice, for their final projects.”
This visit was particularly fruitful as Curtin’s postgraduate students attended sessions from high profile speakers at several pavilions. These speakers included Moneer Faour, the Director of the Polish pavilion; Dr. Marko Selakovic, the head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Serbia Office to the UAE; Mounir Sankary, the Consul and Trade & Investment Commissioner of Australia; and Jaan Kelder, the Business Concierge of the Estonian Pavilion.
All speakers spoke about GDP; growth; economic infrastructure; and the overall business potential of their respective countries. Additionally, the pavilion representatives and dignitaries provided fascinating insights into the unique attributes of their respective countries. For instance, Jaan Kelder elaborated on Estonia’s robust digital economy, and the fact that they are the country with the lowest EU public debt, standing at only 19%. Dr. Marko Selakovic referred to Serbia’s highly rated and affordable global talent, and the high levels of foreign direct investment coming into Serbia in recent years. Mounir Sankary, representing Australia’s pavilion, mentioned the importance of acquiring local cultural knowledge before investing, citing the example of the Starbucks’ failure in Australia due to the lack of a ‘grab and go’ coffee culture in the country.
Overall, Curtin’s graduate students responded positively to the initiative. MBA student, Muhammad Ali, summarised the sentiment well by stating,
There was nothing better I could have asked in such complicated times. I was amazed and thrilled to experience the world in one place. This not only helped me in understanding each countries core capabilities and competencies but also helped me to examine the countries business operations in an international setting.
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