As the plane touches down in Abu Dhabi, I groan and stretch sleepily. It is just past 7am, and as is always the case when we are in town, we Abu Dhabi pioneers have a punishing schedule ahead of us. From final preparations for our client and project presentations to cocktail and networking events to career fairs; our weekend is packed.
After a quick, refreshing nap, we head to campus for lunch before we buckle down to work on our projects and finalise our presentations. Each team has created a poster on our themes, which cover a wide range of topics from an overview of the Private Equity market in the Middle East to career opportunities in the region and the impact of digital and ICT technology. We are expected to present them in three back-to-back sessions of ten minutes each, giving the recruiters a first look at what we can do.
After squeezing in some last minute touch ups on our client presentations, it is time to change for what turns out to be the highlight of the trip – camel polo! Our visit coincides with the British Polo Day, and we have been graciously invited to attend the black tie event. Camel polo, played on racing camels, is just the warm up, but the novel and comical sight of polo played, rather clumsily, on less than graceful camels rather overshadows the main event.
The second, and final day of the inaugural Abu Dhabi module begins with an early-morning ride to Dubai, where my team meets with the Middle East Broadcasting Company for the final presentation. After a successful presentation where both the client and my team leave happily, we head back to Abu Dhabi for the career fair. A host of companies in industries ranging from management consulting to financial services and logistics are here to meet INSEAD students. Some of us even have our first interviews scheduled with consulting firms, so the day is quite stressful.
But before we know it, it is time to wrap up the event with the final Gala Dinner. And, as His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, who is our honoured guest said, this is truly a gala – a time for celebration – as we wrap up the inaugural INSEAD Abu Dhabi MBA module.