Saudi Arabia 2017 | EDUCATION | COLUMN

TBY talks to Nabeel Koshak, Dean, Prince Mohammad Bin Salman College (MBSC), on the sector.

Nabeel Koshak

How important are SMEs in the current development of the Saudi economy?

SMEs play a substantial role in attaining sustainability in the country. What happened in the last years with falling commodity prices was a wakeup call for local authorities to strengthen and support SME growth. As for the college, there will be specific programs supporting SMEs at all stages of business development. The government plans to increase the contribution of SMEs to the country's GDP, so we have to work to support them to be able to reach that target and our programs have to be in alignment with the needs that these companies have. We were proud to host the SME Forum here at MBSC earlier this year in partnership with King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), bringing together leaders in this sector.

Where do you think you will be a year from now?

We are aiming to become the leading business school in the country that focuses on entrepreneurship, because the region lacks a competent and globally connected business school. We feel that in a year we will be steadily and positively on our way to be the top business school in the region, and we can say this confidently thanks to the support we are getting from Prince Mohammad bin Salman and being in KAEC, which is fast emerging as an entrepreneurial hub. Additionally, becoming a private college will give more flexibility to fulfill our strategic objectives. Another important factor is that we are also in partnership with leading international institutions, such as Babson, so these are the four pillars that actually give us the confidence to be the leading business school in the region. Now we are in discussion with MIT to develop a partnership. Our strategy is for 30% of our students to be international.