Doha or Singapore?

Subhajit Biswas, Global MBA 2014-2015, India

One of the biggest advantages the Global MBA at ESSEC provides is the chance to explore a completely new country. I got the chance to explore the Kingdom of Qatar for my International Immersion Project. Qatar is in the Persian Gulf and is located on a small peninsula. Anyone Googling the country up will know that it is a small oil rich country with a very high average income and is recently in the news for successfully bidding for 2022 FIFA World Cup. 

Landing in Doha, the capital city of Qatar, and the first thing you feel is the change in the temperature. Weather in Europe is mostly pleasant and temperate, however in Doha it is extremely hot with temperatures reaching 50 degrees and to add to the misery a humidity of over 70% making it almost impossible to go out during the day. 

Qatar, due to many macroeconomic factors, is undergoing tremendous expansion, the civil works projects which are being undertaken here are on an unbelievable scale. This tiny country defies every single lesson I have taken under economics and literally turns it around. One of the most significant aspects of Qatar’s people is their focus on entrepreneurship. Qatar recognizes the need to move beyond the petrol-dollars they are used to earning and are putting a lot of emphasis on creating new businesses. This push is not only recognized by the government, but is also felt by every national, who are looking for ways to diversify their portfolio, encourage new concepts and ideas and hoping to turn it into profitable businesses. 

While the business is still being done here under the family business tag, it offers individuals a great opportunity to come and apply their skills in a new country while holding positions of responsibility. Qataris love to learn new things and are very receptive to knowledge especially when it concerns commerce. Qatar is open for immigration and the “MBA” tag from Europe is a great conversation starter. If my friends in the MBA are reading this, maybe they can find some lucrative opportunities here.

The country in its own unique way is a reflection of another tiny country-Singapore, where the emphasis on entrepreneurial talent helped them grow which enabled them to transform into a stable and rich economy in Asia.

A lot has been said and is still discussed about the culture in the Middle East, which is vastly different as compared to European standards. It is orthodox in many ways and coming from Europe, seems nothing short of a shock. However, the culture is a reflection of the circumstances it was formed under. The emphasis on having a family, dining together and celebrating festivals with the family is something which is considered very important here, which for me are exemplary values and is something I highly like about this culture. 

Overall, the experience has been a richening one for me personally and professionally and I would welcome the opportunity to come back here, especially during FIFA!

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