Reskilling and upskilling to help diversify innovation – The Peninsula

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Over a decade since its establishment, HEC Paris in Qatar has unequivocally developed into one of the world’s best executive education providers. The institution became Qatar Foundation’s Education City’s first European partner in 2010 and recently took the top spot in the annual Financial Times’ Custom, Open-enrolment and Combined classifications.
HEC Paris in Qatar offers an Executive MBA, a Specialised Master’s in Strategic Business Unit Management, Executive Certificates, Executive Short Programs, and Custom Programs for companies and organisations.
Speaking to The Peninsula in an interview, Joshua Kobb, Executive Director for Partnerships and Growth at HEC Paris in Qatar, said, “HEC Paris is a global business school. We serve learners and corporate clients worldwide, wherever they are, and their training and learning needs are. HEC Paris in Qatar serves the Middle East region, mainly the GCC. We have participants from across the region and recently expanded our MBA programme to Riyadh.
“On the corporate side, we deliver in-house custom design programs for corporate clients across the region. For us, Doha is a great location to serve the needs of the local population, the domestic market, but also we serve the needs across the region.”
In November last year, HEC Paris relocated to its new location at the Msheireb Downtown Doha (MDD). Kobb disclosed that the new premises accentuate the community aspect of the institution’s programmes owing to Msheireb’s ambience and being a smart city.
“People come together in the classroom to learn, but being in Msheireb means they can continue those discussions within the city. They can go for coffee, a meal, or walk around. It’s a vibrant place, so it’s quite beneficial just from a geography perspective to be in Musheireb,” Kobb added.
According to Kobb, the layout of the building offers more options for its students compared to its former location. “We’ve got much more space dedicated to participants, but also outside of the classroom and the classrooms themselves, with the use of technology, is quite interesting. We also make use of hologram technology, which gives us more access to expertise.”
Kobb said the evolving nature of jobs and skills means individuals and companies need to move as the industry dictates. He said lifelong learning is essential for individuals and organisations who must continually upskill because ‘technology is changing the way we work.’
“Industries, products and markets are changing dramatically, and every individual professional need to continually attend to their development. I think lifelong learning for an organisation is equally important. The organisation needs to have a workforce that is prepared to drive change and transformation in the organisation. So they need to commit to developing their talent.”
On the other hand, as much as organisations invest in developing talent, it’s also about the individual making investments in themselves, whether by doing a specialised master’s or MBA or by taking advantage of offers from their company.
“When a company offers a catalogue of training programmes, individuals should look at that closely and say, ‘How can I gain some of the skills that I didn’t have before? How can I tool myself or retool myself for all the changes that are happening in the workplace? So I think it’s essential, both for the individual and for and for the organization,” he noted.
As an institution committed to developing the Qatari workforce, hence, driving Qatar’s National Vision 2030, Kobb said the country’s diversification efforts help people to be more mobile in their organisations, careers and the job market.
“Diversification means that new industries are growing or being created — people can seize opportunities to develop new ventures, but they need the skills to do that. Reskilling and upskilling are what will help to diversify through innovation. You need people who think differently but can also translate that into business opportunities.
“People going through our programs might have entrepreneurial aspirations, and we help them realize that, contributing to diversification. It might just be one person, but that person can create a company that becomes a unicorn.”
With over 1,000 alumni in Qatar, HEC Paris in Qatar has an average of 28-30 participants in the specialized masters’ programme, which appeals to people with some management experience. Its EMBA programme has an average age of 38. Admission into the institution is encouraged for people interested in the programme to understand it and engage, attend and finance it. Prospective students undergo a preliminary interview before receiving a link for the application, and then a selection committee decide on the participants’ case analysis.

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