The Business Year

Amitabh Upadhya

Dean, Skyline University College

Kamal Puri

Chairman, Skyline Group

How has Skyline University developed since its inception? AMITABH UPADHYA Our most important milestone is completing 25 years. We are the only private university or business school in the UAE […]

How has Skyline University developed since its inception?

AMITABH UPADHYA Our most important milestone is completing 25 years. We are the only private university or business school in the UAE that has reached this anniversary and celebrated our Silver Jubilee. HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi was the chief guest at our graduation ceremony. Sharjah is fortunate because His Highness’ vision of education and culture has made the Emirate a leader in both sectors. In addition to that, our BBA and MBA programs were reaccredited by the Ministry of Higher Education. We introduced exciting new majors at both levels. At the BBA level, we introduced public administration to train young people for governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations as well as non-profit organizations. At the master’s level, we introduced e-governance to be offered alongside our most popular major, strategic management and leadership. Three years ago, we established a center of entrepreneurship and innovation, which has been enormously popular. This aligns with the vision of the UAE and the Ruler of Sharjah to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, especially at the university level. This center allows us to help students and young entrepreneurs cope with the difficulties inherent in starting a business.

KAMAL PURI Skyline envisions being a globally renowned university that nurtures the spirit of innovation and creativity toward building a knowledge based society. Skyline University was established almost three decades ago. The main goal at the time was to create an organization for business and management training and education, starting with travel and tourism, then marketing, international business, and IT, but by IT we produce businesspeople for the sector, rather than programmers or hardware engineers. We confine ourselves to business and management education because we feel we require more managers and leaders in any organization. Since then, we have graduated at least 12,000 students who are working with airlines, hotels, and tourism companies as well as manufacturing and service industries locally, nationally, regionally, and globally. Tourism is the world’s largest industry when we consider the entire value chain. Globally, it accounts for 10.7% of world GDP, and we are the only institution that caters to this demand in the UAE, which combines academia and vocational training.

What are your strategies to ensure Skyline graduates are in high demand and remain relevant in a rapidly changing environment?

AU 95% of Skyline University graduates find gainful employment immediately after graduation. Skyline maintains an active and involved corporate affairs department that regularly interacts with various sectors of industry. This led us to introduce a new concept that we call the CEO lecture series, where once a semester a prominent CEO comes and speaks to students. There is no set topic or duration; we only ask that they describe their journey, experiences, and how they reached their current position. We also have MoUs with 15 different government departments, including Shurooq and SEWA. We offer employees at these organizations scholarships through these MoUs to complete their graduate or postgraduate degrees, thus creating a revolving door. To receive the scholarship, they are given a mandate from their department to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order for the degree to be applicable for any promotion. This, in turn, helps the university maintain higher quality. We have a network of over 3,000 alumni, some of whom attend the annual alumni meetings to hold panel discussions and networking functions. Getting our students and alumni gainful employment has never been an issue.

KP Training and education is no longer in bricks. It is in bricks and clicks. Today, travel and tourism has changed. Hotels and airline tickets can be booked from mobile phones, and the public no longer requires hotel and travel agents. There is a growing demand for tour operators (outbound/ inbound) as well as destination planners and MICE professionals. Skyline provides trained and qualified manpower to provide training and education in the growing qualified manpower in the field of travel and tourism, IT, and business and management. Most companies make the mistake of cutting corners with training, which ultimately leads to poor operational execution and the loss of clients. One of the most important things we are doing is the gamification of education, whereby we turn studying into a game. Rather than pushing education in its raw form, we try to pull people in and make them want to study by offering a challenging and structured learning environment where progress is controlled by the student rather than instructed by a teacher.



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