Opinion: On The Subject of Tourism

by Mahak Mannan | Published 2 years ago

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Zaid Maleh, managing director at Modul University, shines a light on the university that is empowering industry professionals and transforming them into the next generation of tourism industry leaders


Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries, and an important part of the government’s diversification efforts to drive economic growth in the non-oil sectors. According to the Official Portal of the UAE Government, the total contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the UAE GDP amounted to AED159.1 billion in 2016, or 12.1% of GDP.

As such, we need to equip our future leaders with an all-round understanding of the sector and the modern world. All the more so, given the current contemporary landscape where technology and innovation brings so much disruption to so many different sectors.

At Modul University Dubai, our MBA in Tourism and Hotel Development is a blended learning program which has been specifically designed to develop industry professionals towards senior managerial positions by concentrating on key areas such as problem solving, data-driven decision making, strategic business planning, and leadership development.

With a major focus on the complexity of tourism planning, global trends and issues, the tourism value chain, development theory, and impact analysis, the course is equally suitable for students with aspirations towards industry leadership roles and those who want to start their own business.

Our MBA graduates are equipped with skills in a wide range of segments from data analysis and tourism planning through to securing finance, marketing, negotiating with government authorities, developing policies, improving tax regimes, and sustaining an environment conducive to tourism development.

This year we witnessed our first ever graduation ceremony, with over 20 MBA students from all over the world successfully completing their studies at an average age of 34. Aside from genuine pride, the overwhelming feeling was that we were on the right track to achieving our mission.

The ceremony, coinciding with our second anniversary, highlights our commitment to provide our students with tailored programs that build their career skills.  Our goal is to become the centre of excellence for sustainability, business entrepreneurship, tourism and hospitality education, and bridging the ever-growing skillset gap between higher education and industry.

The graduates can build upon solid foundational skill-sets in core business discipline, HR, organisational behaviour, accounting, finance, marketing, operations, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Additionally, they can concentrate on analytical critical thinking, problem solving, strategic planning, interdisciplinary skills, and value-based management.

The students come away with something very special, something that will help them transfer the understanding of the academic into industry life. That is because of the diverse background that our experts and scholars bring to the university.

Professor Dr. Edith M. Szivas, our director of Department of Tourism and Service Management, is an expert in tourism strategic planning with extensive experience in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. She has conducted and managed projects on behalf of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and other international agencies including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Professor Jeremy B Williams, director for the department of Public Governance and Sustainable Development, holds a PhD degree in economics, economic history, and politics, with a special interest in sustainable development and more than 20 years of experience in international education ranging from postgraduate management education to preschool teacher education.  He is also founder and chief inspiration officer of Green School for Girls (GS4G), a sustainable enterprise that seeks to produce strong, independent, entrepreneurial young women.

Our academic head, professor Dr. Jörg Finsinger, also has vast experience bring on the board of directors at a number of companies including IT Warehouse AG, Sigma Investment AG, Hamburg, Smart Trader AG, Zollikon, Global FX United. He also holds senior management positions in several financial and advisory firms in Europe.

Modul University itself has a rich heritage, with a home campus in Austria and a brand that stands for more than 100 years of excellence in education.

Courses at Modul University

Founded by Dubai Investments PJSC, and inaugurated in October 2016, MODUL University Dubai opened its campus as the first and only Austrian university in the Middle East. Apart from its MBA program with a major option in Tourism & Hotel Development, they also offer majors in Entrepreneurship Innovation and Leadership, New Media, and Information Management, and Bachelor programs in International Management and Tourism and Hospitality Management, as well as an MSc in Sustainable Development, Management,and Policy.

The university offers expertise in the fields of tourism, hospitality, sustainability, business, public governance, new media, entrepreneurship, and innovation. The courses are adapted for the Middle Eastern market, while still bringing an international perspective and Austrian education and research traditions from Vienna into regional contexts and requirements.

Modules covered in the MBA

  • Managing People and Organisations
  • Marketing and Innovation
  • Quantitative and Economic Analysis
  • Leadership
  • Negotiation and Dispute Resolution
  • Business Analytics
  • Social Media Intelligence
  • Project Management
  • Tourism and Hotel Industry Courses
  • Master Thesis

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