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Khalid Mohamed Al Horr

President, Qatar Financial and Business Academy (QFBA)

Pablo Martin de Holan

Dean, HEC Paris in Qatar

Universities and business schools are ideally placed to help the workforce in Qatar upgrade their skills with the newest ideas and concepts.

How has QFBA contributed to the targets set in Vision 2030 since your establishment?

KHALID MOHAMED AL HORR One of the four pillars is human capital development, which is where QFBA comes in. We not only educate and upskill people, but also build capacity and raise the competency standards of the financial services sector in Qatar. However, it is not only the education part, but also the social element of the vision. When you educate someone, you help them get better job opportunities, which has an impact on social status, income, and quality of life. The pillars within Qatar National Vision 2030 are interrelated and, similarly, so is our work at QFBA, because when you enhance one element of a person’s life, it has a ripple effect on other elements.

What programs does HEC Paris offer in Qatar, and how do they evolve in parallel to the local market?

PABLO MARTIN DE HOLAN In Doha, we offer two kinds of degree programs, an executive MBA degree that was ranked number one in the world by the Financial Times in 2019, and our specialized master’s in strategic business unit management (SBUM), which is just as good. We also have non-degree programs, and those change every year according to the needs of the market and the needs of firms that collaborate with us. Now, we are focusing heavily on digital transformation and digital leadership, especially after the COVID-19 outbreak. Fortunately, HEC started this transition to digital a long time ago and have had online masters for several years now.

How do you see the flow between education stages and top business positions in Qatar working?

KMAH Historically, professionals used to lay the blame on educational institutions for the misalignment between student knowledge and industry requirements. Here is where we fit in; we have been in education and training for over 10 years, preparing professionals with the right skills and competencies that the industry requires. When we partner with an international degree-awarding body such as Northumbria University, we focus on and pick programs that fit the context of Qatar. Although we have been in the undergraduate degree market for just two years, we hear a great deal of positive feedback from the financial industry. We also ensure a high Qatarization ratio in terms of students and professors. Though we want to guarantee the financial literacy of future Qatari generations, we have plenty of expats, and collaboration and diversity are of huge importance.

What can universities and business schools based in Qatar do to retain local talent and thus increase the Qatarization ratio of the educational system?

PMDH The answer has three dimensions and one idea: first, you need to provide high-quality programs so talented people do not feel the need to go abroad to get outstanding education. Then, you need to ensure the programs have strong local roots, so when students graduate they are highly knowledgeable of the realities of Qatar and the region and are an ideal choice for employers. A final idea is the concept of lifelong learning, which Qatar and its educational institutions are doing a great job in. Having the opportunity to upgrade one’s skills is a great way to be prepare for the economic, social, and technological changes that characterize our world today and also helps build and sustain a resilient economy.

What are your priorities going forward?

KMAH Our priority is expanding our undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs because that is aligned with Qatar National Vision 2030 and the five-year development strategy. We are also expanding our online training offerings; though we started in early 2020, that will stay a focus area for a quite some time. We are also focusing on nationwide programs. QFBA believes human capital can make things happen, and investment in human capital is the key for sustainability. Therefore, we still perceive human capital development as a priority for Qatari business continuity.

PMDH To summarize what we will do in the next 10 years, we can mention just two words—impact and excellence. Impact means more programs, more students, and a bigger international footprint. Excellence means world-class standards, best-in-class standards, both external and internal. HEC Paris is among the best business schools in the world, and we want to remain just as excellent, but bigger. That’s what we intend to do.



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