BUSINESS TRANSFORMED

Lebanon 2019 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

With a truly global focus, the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business provides a global business education with sensitivity to local issues.

Steve Harvey
BIOGRAPHY
Steve Harvey is Dean of the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut. Harvey was appointed dean and professor of management in 2016, after having served as Dean of the John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, and Dean of the Williams School of Business and Associate VP, Research at Bishop’s University. Harvey earned his doctorate from the University of Guelph in 1996.

Among your complete offering, which programs stand out?

We have a wide range of programs covering all fields of business development and management, including the traditional bachelor's program in business administration and the MBA program, which attract students from all corners of the world. These programs give our students a good international positioning to move onto important international institutions of education. We have also developed innovative programs that respond to regional and global needs, such as a master's in human resource management, finance, and business analytics. These programs address important changes in society, such as AI and data analytics, ensuring that the business school remains up to date with global trends. On top of this, through the Darwazah Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, OSB is actively committed to supporting the entrepreneur and start-up ecosystem in Lebanon in addition to participating in numerous committees, initiatives, and efforts. We work directly with organizations and start-ups to help them develop entrepreneurial means, progress, and scale up.

How international is OSB?

We provide a global business education with sensitivity to local issues. Our focus is truly global. Although based in Lebanon, our goal is to train and prepare business leaders with a global perspective. We expose students to a variety of global, regional, and local knowledge. This includes the faculty personnel teaching the programs, with considerable international exposure and prime research skills. We have a high number of international teaching staff, at around 20-25%, from over a dozen countries. The teaching staff is complemented by top practitioners and industry executives in Lebanon, who share their knowledge and experience with the students. Thanks to the quality of our offering, we are ranked as the top business school in the region. This is also partly due to the reputation of the American University of Beirut, an institute of excellence with a globally-established reputation. We attract a large number of students from all corners of the region and beyond. About 20% of our students come from beyond Lebanon, the main region of origin being the Middle East and North Africa. Yet, we are seeing a larger number of students applying from Europe and the US, and we are increasingly focused on international recruitment

How have you integrated technology into the curriculum?

We have integrated it into all our courses. Professors are using the provided online or technological capacity to flip the classroom, facilitating access to information and allowing students to explore topics of interest more in-depth, beyond the traditional lecture model. Through blended or hybrid learning models we are witnessing an enriching combination between traditional and online learning. This enables the learner to spend more time developing by him or herself at a comfortable pace, freeing up the classroom time for people to debate, engage, and integrate different points of view rather than just absorbing knowledge.

What does Beirut offer to prospective students?

First, Beirut is the capital of leisure and fun in the Middle East, with a renowned intellectual, social life, rich history, hidden charm, and a very welcoming population. Moreover, Beirut is a true melting pot, offering a comprehensive perspective on the Middle East to any student coming from outside the region, while at the same time retaining a lifestyle in tune with Western standards. In Beirut, you can find parts of every nation in the Middle East, from the Levant to the Gulf, Iran, and the Maghreb, discussing different views in one democratic nation.

What are your goals for 2019?

While approaching our 25th anniversary in 2025, we are working on a new medium-term strategic plan, with the ambitious goal of placing ourselves among the top business schools in the world. Some of our programs, for example our Executive MBA program, are already present among some of the global rankings for business school programs, and we intend to strengthen our international positioning. The plan will be articulated along a series of goals based on the number 25 or multiples of 25, but it is still too early to disclose precise information.