18 June 2024

Written By Milpark Communications

This December, expand your career horizons and step onto the global stage with Milpark’s Business in Emerging Markets (BEMA) elective. This immersive study experience, presented in collaboration with the College of Business and Economics at United Arab Emirates University, offers Milpark’s MBA and other students an opportunity to go on a journey of discovery to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, to gain strategic insights into international business and emerging economies. 

We spoke with Adjunct faculty member Mark Peters to find out why this elective is an unmissable opportunity for the business leaders of tomorrow. 

Immersive Real-World Learning 

The BEMA curriculum incorporates talks, lectures and site visits to the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange (ADX), the South African Business Council in Dubai and leading companies, including financial services, green hydrogen and biofuels. 

“These are not hypothetical cases, shared online or in the classroom,” says Peters. “We visit actual businesses, debate real-world issues and engage with local entrepreneurs and experts.” 

At the end of the module, each student submits a business plan, for a project in the UAE or South Africa. “Working towards an assignment makes the trip very practical. It’s not a holiday. We’ll have fun, but the goal is learning about leadership in developing economies and how to apply it.” 

A Global Perspective 

Peters explained that understanding different political, economic and cultural environments is critical to success in global markets. 

“With our local economy stagnating, growth-minded businesses are looking outside South Africa for new markets. It will often be the MBA candidates who are tasked with exploring these international opportunities.  

“Since the UAE became a fellow member of BRICS earlier this year there’s increased cooperation and potential trade between our two countries. Now is an ideal time to get to grips with how business works in the Middle East and where better to do this than in Dubai?” 

“Stepping away from your usual responsibilities allows you to see the bigger picture and how developing economies can integrate with global markets. 

“It can be hard for South African businesses in the Middle East, but having first-hand experience fast-tracks an in-depth understanding of the dynamics, enabling you to tackle challenges faced by these emerging markets more quickly.” 

Read More: Before you can rebuild, you have to deconstruct, says CFO Brad Wentzel 

Building Networks 

The elective is also an opportunity to forge meaningful connections with peers and industry leaders. “Students learn an enormous amount from one another throughout the trip. There’s a lot of active debate and interaction.  

“At the end of each day, we unpack what we’ve learned together and how it applies to what we’re doing back home.  

“When you spend a week together - as professionals and fellow students - deep connections are formed, extending your network and potentially advancing your career.” 

Stimulating Ideas  

Engaging with the complexities of emerging markets in a completely different environment fosters innovative thinking and ideas. “For many students, particularly those who have not been outside South Africa before, visiting a place like Dubai – very much a first world developing economy - is a mind-blow (the reference is mind blowing). It opens eyes to what we could achieve in South Africa.  

“My goal is that each student has at least three or four ‘aha moments’ during the trip, when they grasp a way to do things better in their own organisation.” 

Who is the ideal BEMA candidate? 

The BEMA module is offered to Milpark MBA students – and aspiring MBA students on other relevant courses and corporate delegates - who intend to become leaders in the global economy or investigate business opportunities in emerging economies, like Dubai 

“It is an unparalleled opportunity to gain strategic insights in emerging markets, especially the Middle East,” says Peters. “If you are looking to fast-track your international experience and position yourself at the forefront of global business, sign up!” 

For more information on the BEMA elective (8 to 15 December 2024) visit the Milpark website.