Watch: UVA Darden Students Experience Business and Tradition in Bahrain, Dubai

26 February 2020

By Jay Hodgkins

In January, a group of University of Virginia Darden School of Business Second Year full-time MBA students traveled to Dubai and Bahrain for the Darden Worldwide Course “Honoring the Traditions of the Past While Confronting the Challenges of the Future.”

Lessons about modern challenges unfolded in real time as the students were able to experience how business unfolded in two countries bordering Iran as global tensions mounted between that regional power and the United States.

The course also featured numerous cultural experiences, allowing students to better understand how business and Islamic tradition blend in Dubai and Bahrain — a pair of modern economic powerhouses. Watch how the trip unfolded in the video recap of the course featured above.

On the Global Voices of Darden blog, Second Year Cameron Hector also recapped his experiences on the trip.

This course ultimately enhanced my view of how the Middle East operates both in business and in a political sense. As I understand it, the GCC relies heavily on the United States government and military support provided. Throughout the course, I felt a general appreciation for the U.S. and desire to maintain these close relationships. Through my readings, it also reinforced the idea that if the U.S. were to pull out, it would create uncertainty on how the GCC continues could continue operating as a whole. I also get the sense that the [United Arab Emirates] is spending unprecedented amounts of energy and resources to diversify away from oil and building strong alliances with countries other than the U.S. to prepare for a potential U.S. departure. Knowing this, I’ll closely follow what happens in the Middle East over the next 5-10 years as it and the world stage evolves. I have now also gained a confidence in the GCC’s ability to build towards large visions and expect some amazing achievements to occur through its’ near-term growth.

In conclusion, I’m extremely grateful for this Darden Worldwide Course and the opportunity to better understand the Middle East. I comprehend the uniqueness of each Middle East country. Not just the UAE and Bahrain, but Saudi Arabi, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, and the relationships these countries have built. The DWC just tapped the surface for understanding the Middle East and I’m looking forward to gaining more exposure through business and personal experiences in the near future.

Read Hector’s full post on the Global Voices of Darden blog.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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