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‘New HQ strong motivation to expand academic programmes’

Monday، 22 November 2021 12:03 AM

Interview with Dean of HEC Paris in Qatar Dr Pablo Martin de Holan

Dr Pablo Martin de Holan, Dean of HEC Paris in Qatar, one of the partner universities of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), said the opening of the university’s new headquarters in Msheireb Downtown Doha is a strong motivation for further expansion in the provision of academic, short, and corporate programmes locally and regionally.
In an interview with Qatar News Agency, Dr Pablo said that taking the step of moving to this smart city and innovation centre, Msheireb, is for practical reasons, including a desire to emphasise the adoption of modern transformations without abandoning the long-standing cultural identity, where Msheireb brings together the legacy of the past and the modernity of the future, adding that new location also allows for an exceptional environment, close to the business community served by the university, and is suitable for student executives.
He appreciated the recent attendance of the Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the opening of the new building and the graduation ceremony of the 2020 and 2021 batches, and the continuous support provided by QF, which is evident in the university building, which includes world-class technologies that contribute to enhancing the student education process.
Dr Palo stressed the university’s commitment to promote the basic activities of education and research with the latest educational technologies, to consolidate its impact and maintain its standards of excellence, with a clear goal to disseminate new technologies, indicating that these technologies help maintain the university’s position among the best educational institutions in the world and establish new standards for others to follow.
He added that these innovations include hologram technology or remote attendance, which allows obtaining a three-dimensional image and is very realistic, which enables the benefit of virtual teachers as if they are present in the classrooms, and that the benefits of this technology do not depend only on use and access, but also in providing a sophisticated educational experience that until recently had negative effects on the environment or was not economically viable.
“Today, we can host visitors from faraway regions for a short period without causing any harm to the environment. There is no doubt that our educational processes have become better and more effective thanks to this technology,” he added.
Dr Pablo cautioned that the university, like others, must adapt to the new requirements and needs emerging in Qatar and the world at large, given the rapid pace at which jobs and professions are developing, noting that the university has developed a set of programme plans, to keep pace with the changing needs in the environment in which it operates, with full commitment to world-class education, creating programmes that help individuals create better institutions and businesses that are committed to sustainability and respectful of the environment, contributing to a better world for all, and designing programmes that support “our ambitions as a school of management and business sciences.”
He pointed out that the university was able to overcome the effects of the global health crisis (Covid-19) with flexibility and with a strong desire to learn, as HEC Paris in Qatar adheres to the slogan “Learn to dare,” and this is what prompted the university to work on adapting its practices to the new situation.
It also accelerated the adoption of the latest educational technologies and provided a hybrid educational system without compromising the quality of learning and teaching methods, indicating that university students and staff have taken advantage of the crisis to apply what they have learned and interact flexibly to ensure the continuity of their activities and perseverance in education despite the challenges.
He explained that the percentage of students registered to join the university rose in violation of expectations; crises and turmoil prompt individuals to reconsider their quality of life, and many have chosen to enrol in the programmes offered by the university, where the health crisis aroused the desire of many to prepare to face the unknown, and since education is one of the most important means for investing in the future and overcoming emergency crises, many ambitious people were able to save the time and effort necessary to develop themselves, and this is very encouraging, pointing out that the university provided its services throughout the region, including Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Kuwait, with over 100 days of training, despite challenges posed by the global health crisis and additional difficulties faced by the travel and logistics sector, and the number of allocated programmes is expected to increase over the next year.
Dr Pablo added that the number of graduates of the Class of 2020 of Executive MBA students reached 32, while graduates of the Specialised Master’s Degree in Strategic Business Unit Management were19 graduates, in the first batch of 2020, 68% of whom are Qataris, and the second batch of the same year amounted to 38 graduates, 79% of whom are women, and 89% are Qataris. As for the class of 2021, there are 33 graduates, 70% of whom are female, with Qataris representing 76% of the total graduates.
Dr Pablo pointed out that the diversity of students’ nationalities and their cultural and practical backgrounds provides new ideas and experiences that address challenges in better ways as a result of the multiplicity of opinions and solutions.
Also working in diverse teams leads to cultural and social openness and enhances the creative process, indicating that the university works to help students understand what diversity is, and ways to live in a diverse world, and how to manage diverse teams to ensure that they reach the highest levels of performance.
He added that research indicates the importance of enhancing diversity in improving the performance and efficiency of commercial organisations and companies and speeding up their response to unexpected events, in short, we can say that HEC Paris in Qatar encourages diversity due to its ethical importance and what it sees as a good management practice that outperforms other alternatives.
Regarding the high percentage of women in the graduate programmes of HEC and QF partner universities, Dr Pablo explained that their active participation is a key driver of economic growth.
Qatar, in particular the QF and all higher education institutions such as HEC Paris in Qatar, are making great efforts to ensure that all qualified women have the opportunity to work and be educated in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030, he explained.
He added that the results of this women’s participation are always impressive as many of the university’s graduates occupy senior positions in the public and private sectors, expressing his aspiration to train more ambitious women in the future and to provide opportunities for personal and professional growth for everyone, and to allow any talented and ambitious woman who wishes to join the university’s programmes.
Dr Pablo said that the faculty is committed to the public issues related to the values of inclusion and diversity that equalise different members of society.
He added that it recruited world-class academic talents to the university’s faculty recently in the position of Assistant Professor in Entrepreneurial Leadership and Gender Diversity, to help understand the challenges women face in the workplace, and to ensure that the programmes excel in these areas, pointing out that the faculty has also entrusted her with the task of co-operating with other institutions in Qatar that show interest in this aspect.
Regarding the scholarships offered by the university and the criteria it adopts, he said that the university offers a wide range of scholarships, including leadership women, Qatari national excellence, Gulf national excellence, entrepreneurship success, and other specific grants, believing in the importance of everyone being willing and able to make some contribution, the research and educational experience in Qatar affirms that education is a very good investment.
Regarding the university’s reliance on local academic expertise in the faculty, Dr Pablo explained that HEC Paris in Qatar employs a group of faculty members located in Qatar, and there is another group located in Paris, stressing the university’s keenness to ensure that the university’s programmes in Qatar comply with the same standards adopted by the university in Paris, and for this reason, there are faculty members from Paris teaching at the university’s branch in Doha, and vice versa as well to ensure smooth integration between the various courses and programmes, noting that the university adopts the English language in all its programmes, because it is the international language approved for conducting business and diplomacy, and it also facilitates communication and understanding between people.
As for the short executive programmes for companies, he said that it is provided at the request of the client and to serve his special needs, as companies request assistance when they have a shortage of skills or if they wish to provide their employees with new skills to enhance their efficiency and the ability to handle a specific job, pointing out that the university focused its attention this year on programmes for companies and was able to reach remarkable numbers, whether in terms of the number of programmes or local students or from neighbouring countries who joined the university’s programmes.

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