Dubai Business Internships expands to include 40 students

Dubai's internship programme is gaining steam, gaining 40 top graduates from universities – including China and Russia – for its second year

Dubai Business Internships (DBI) launched the second edition of its programme this week, welcoming to Dubai 40 top international graduates from universities in China, Kazakhstan, Russia, and the US. The graduates, who have joined the 10-month programme, will have the opportunity to study and work in Dubai with some of the emirate’s biggest companies.

DBI’s programme, which started in 2014 with 17 Chinese students, this year expanded to add graduates from markets seen as strategically important to Dubai. The programme is run under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. In addition to developing future business leaders, it also seeks to narrow the skills gap to meet industry demands.

“We increased the number of students because we feel Dubai has the capacity, and the first year was what we call the warm up lap, to see how we function and if it works well. We got great feedback from the participants, from the companies, we feel it’s a win-win, so it’s a natural thing to extend it to 40 students,” said James Maughan, Director of DBI.

Out of the 40, 28 are Chinese students. DBI decided to include more countries after receiving feedback from companies in Dubai. The programme has partnered with nine companies that will provide work placement opportunities for the students, with the potential to add up to nine more, according to Maughan.

The programme combines management training, cultural exchange and a 26-week work placement with some of the emirate’s biggest institutions, including Dubai Financial Services Authority, Dubai International Financial Centre Courts, Dubai Chamber of Commerce, DP World, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Emaar, Emirates Group, Emirates NBD and Jumeirah Group.

“One of the things we are very proud of is that many of the participants get job offers, whether full time or follow up assignments. Last year, ten out of the 17 had some follow up work so that’s a good testament that they are adding value. We want to be more powerful in how we help our partner companies do business and develop a pipeline of talent,” said Maughan.

Tatiana Kostyuk, 24, from Russia, is one of the 40 selected students. She finished her bachelor’s degree in Germany, where she specialised in international relations, before moving to China to obtain a master’s in China Studies.

“In general I have a lot of expectations about internships because I just graduated and did my masters and now I want to start my career. This seems the right place for me and I hope it’ll give me a good starting point,” said Kostyuk.

“I really hope to get working experience from this and also a chance to network. Also, having mentors who will coach us is amazing. If you have a professional on your side who you can ask questions I think that’s going to be a very valuable experience for me.”

Ru Wan, 25, from China, is excited about the prospects of interacting with the business community in Dubai.

“I really want to learn how business is done here and how I can perform in a real company,” said Wan. “This programme will help me learn from this and share experiences.”

“I think Dubai is a very interesting place to be. There is a lot to learn in this city, and especially in a programme where we have people from five different countries working and learning together,” said Ainur Kozhamzharova, 23, from Kazakhstan.

While the initiative is only in its second year, DBI Director Maughan emphasised it was a long-term project that will continue to add value to the students and the companies they intern with.  

“Only in 10 years’ time will we know how well we’ve done because we’re creating cultural ambassadors wherever they are. We have a decade long vision,” he said.