UAE Travel Course Promotes Globally Inclusive Leadership

Students say Experience was Transformative

Professor Lynda Moore, accompanied by Professor Deborah Marlino, took 16 MBA students to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for nine days in March. The study-travel course focused on a cross-cultural comparative analysis of Emirati women business leaders.

"I am sure this course is unique among MBA programs in the world as it reflects our mission to educate women for power and principled leadership with a global, cross-cultural, and sustainable view," said Professor Moore. "It was a transformative experience for the students and broadened their perspectives about leadership, the Middle East and the UAE in particular, and developed in them a more nuanced and culturally sensitive view of women leaders."

"The UAE trip is in my top three best learning experiences of my life. To me, this one trip actually made the entire MBA program completely worth it," said Sarah Gallagher. 

Students took cultural heritage tours in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and met with business, government, and academic leaders including: the Dubai Business Women Council, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) National Talent and Middle East Women in Business Program, Dubai School of Government Gender and Public Policy Program, Zayed University College of Business Sciences administration, faculty and students, Hult International Business School, and the U.S. State Department Middle East Partnership Initiative.

"No classroom lecture, no textbook, no article or essay could have ever taught me what I learned in nine days from being abroad in the UAE," said Kate Hecht, "I definitely learned about others but mostly about myself (my identity) as a woman, a leader, a Westerner, a student, a family member, a moral agent, a global citizen." The SOM group spent three days at the Women as Global Leaders Conference hosted by Zayed University, with representatives from 140 countries. The conference theme was sustainability, and Moore was on the program three times: With Zayed colleagues, she ran a workshop on "Creating Sustainability through Cross Cultural Dialogue about Leadership" which provided structured dialogue between Zayed and SOM students; "Women and Sustainability: Why Women? Why Sustainability?" featured two award-winning women leaders in sustainability in the region; and "Leadership Lessons from Emirati Women Business Leaders" presented two senior corporate women who spoke of their leadership journeys. Other trip highlights included a palace dinner, camel riding in the desert, tea at the Emirates Hotel, a cruise on the Arabian Peninsula and a trip to the Sheikh Zayed mosque. "This trip was the pinnacle of my MBA journey where everything came together. Prior to this trip, Simmons had me prepared to be a principled leader. After this trip, Simmons has me prepared to be a principled culturally-intelligent global leader. What other b-school could say that?" asked Beverly Ounnass.