Students on our Finance Master’s programmes had a once in a lifetime opportunity to study Macroeconomics and Finance for Practitioners in Dubai for the international elective.

The elective is taught in two parts with the first part delivered online. The second part took them out of the classroom and into another time zone. A group of 48 students headed to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with the Head of the Department of Finance, Alex Michaelides. He talks about the objective of the elective:

Students develop a good understanding of how macroeconomics affects the determination of asset prices. We gave special emphasis to the monetary and fiscal policy issues arising in an economy like the UAE.

Company visits, presentations and learning activities

Over eight days, the packed itinerary included five lectures, four company presentations and visits, multiple cultural activities and a networking event with locally based Imperial College alumni. Some of the highlights included:

  • Learning about the UAE business environment and an introduction to the financial market with the CEO of Grant Thornton Dubai.
  • Understanding the principles of Islamic banking with Dar Al Sharia Legal & Financial Consultancy LLC (a subsidiary of Dubai Islamic Bank).
  • Learning about sovereign wealth fund investment trends in the UAE on a visit to Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA).
  • Understanding the monetary policy of the region on a visit to the Central Bank of the UAE.

Alex talks about the benefits of these learning activities to students’ knowledge of macroeconomics and finance. He says:

Students had the opportunity of experiential learning in a fast-growing international market with a diverse labour base. Visits at the Central Bank and ADIA helped reinforce the examples explained in class in terms of the links between macroeconomics and asset prices. Exposure to a different culture through lectures on Islamic Banking and local traditions and social events helped build the team spirit and connections among the students.

A taste of culture

A multitude of cultural events allowed students to develop more awareness of the region, which in turn helped to broaden their international mindset – a key aptitude in today’s international finance sector.

They learnt about local customs in the traditional setting of the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, went on a guided tour around Dubai and the souk street market and visited the spectacular Sheikh Zayed Mosque.

On the final day, students had the complete Arabian nights experience with a half-day desert safari trip complete with a camel ride and farewell dinner. Alex says, “Learning from each other and fostering a team spirit in the class through social events was critical.”

Photo competition winning entries

Students had the opportunity to showcase their photography skills in our Photo Competition. We awarded prizes to the standout images from the trip.

First prize is awarded to Han Wang for his fantastic shot of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Han used angles and lighting to magnify the grandeur of the largest mosque in the UAE.

Han Wang

Second prize goes to Johanna Irnich who captured the beauty of the Arabian Desert and the wonderful friendships fostered during the elective.

Johanna Irnich