In late December 2018, twenty-five Cambridge MBA students and a member of MBA Careers team embarked on a career trek to the UAE. Our aims were to discover the region, and to make lasting connections with alumni and companies in the area. For many of us, networking with the ultimate goal of obtaining employment in the UAE were top of mind. What we found is that not only did we achieve all of these aims, but our group got the chance to forge closer friendships with one another to make unforgettable memories during this trek!

We had the opportunity to build relationships and an understanding of the region from a government standpoint, notably through a visit to and discussion with key representatives of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Office of Public Diplomacy. We learned about the evolution and goals of the UAE government for the future. The aspirations and appetite of the UAE public sector for continuously improving quality of life for its citizens (i.e. healthcare, post-secondary education, safety, etc.) were truly intriguing. The welcoming atmosphere to expatriates to keep building and sustaining the UAE economy was evident and welcome, as many students were looking for employment in the UAE.

Over the next few days, our group had the chance to visit a mix of local and global companies in both Dubai and in Abu Dhabi, working in a multitude of sectors, from energy to professional services. The organisations visited were: Prime Minister’s Office, Office of Public Diplomacy, McKinsey, Emirates Airlines, Shell, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Dalberg, International Finance Corporation, and Masdar Clean Energy. It was fascinating to learn of the inner workings, plans, successes and exciting challenges ahead of each company, not only from a global, but specifically from a regional standpoint as well. On December 17, the students hosted numerous local alumni at the Treehouse lounge for an alumni networking event. It was exciting to hear about the experiences and lives of the CJBS and greater University of Cambridge alumni in the UAE. We felt like we gained an insight into the lifestyle to be expected in the UAE through these conversations.

Apart from our career and diplomacy-centered pursuits, we also made time to get to know the local cuisine, culture and other fun activities in the region by visiting popular landmarks like the Grand Mosque, Abhu Dhabi Louvre museum, kayaking in the mangroves and getting a taste of the UAE by visiting restaurants with some of the most delicious food!

All in all, this experience was a wonderful and valuable one. We learned more about the UAE, ourselves and each other. By way of completing this kind of trek, we are now ready and more eager to start our international careers!