ZU students gain real world experience at leading global workplaces

ABU DHABI, The fourth edition of Zayed University’s Partner Challenge programme continues to grow and attract new private sector partners.

The Partner Challenge programme is a core component of Zayed University’s new interdisciplinary degree programmes and offers a unique opportunity for students to apply their knowledge outside the classroom to a real-world challenge proposed by an industry partner.

Undergraduate students at Zayed University choose from four pioneering interdisciplinary degree programmes taught using active learning techniques. The new degree programmes seek to nurture dynamic minds and develop lateral and creative thinkers with transferable skills and know-how to thrive in the 21st-century workforce.

The new programmes include Business Transformation, Social Innovation, Computational Systems and Sustainability, and the University’s existing Arts and Creative Enterprises programme.

The Partner Challenges involve students working in small teams to complete a semester or two-long challenge. The challenges enable students to combine their academic work with professional experience and bridge theory and practice, helping prepare students for the world of work.

In total, 120 companies – from multinationals to SMEs – have participated in the programme. This semester, leading international organisations, including Accenture, Coca-Cola, CNBC and Goldman Sachs, have joined the programme and will mentor young students in the UAE. They join previous partners involved in the programme, including Mubadala, Injazat, G42, Emirates Development Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank and the Dubai Future Foundation.

Raj Sandhu, CEO of Bikal Tech, a UK-based AI company, who participated in the second edition of the programme, said, “This mentoring programme helped us to engage with the next generation of workers and innovators. The students and the university were able to collaborate with us so that all benefitted from each other’s experiences.”

Mary-Alison Irvine, Project Manager for Student Services at Zayed University, said the programme had attracted many companies. The experience of working alongside professional experts from day 1 in university is innovative in education and priceless for our students. “By the time they graduate, each student will have completed five challenges which give them a breadth of experience across sectors and help them build invaluable professional networks.”

Narmeen Nader Abdulla Mohamed Almarzooqi, a first-year student at Zayed University, stated, “These challenges help me appreciate the problem-solving skills I will need in my future career. Incorporating these challenges into the degree programmes differentiates ZU from other universities and helps us understand how the courses we study in class translate to the real world.”

In addition to the semester-long challenges, Zayed University has launched a series of Partner Challenge Sprints, a one-day hackathon-style event. During the event, students are guided by a private sector partner to find an innovative new solution to a problem.

Source: Emirates News Agency