The McDonough School of Business has entered into a partnership with Effat University, an all-women’s university in Saudi Arabia to expand that university’s burgeoning business curricula.
The partnership, which began in December 2013, entails the MSB assisting Effat in the development of their undergraduate business curriculum as well as their application for accreditation through The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Founded by Queen Effat Al Thunayan in 1999, the thousand-student school pursues values related to educating and empowering women. Prince Turki Al Faisal (SFS ’68), a former ambassador of Saudi Arabia, serves as a member on the university’s board of trustees.
The partnership was signed after Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs Norean Sharpe and professor of operations and Managing Director of Georgetown’s Global Business Initiative Ricardo Ernst traveled to Saudi Arabia in December and met with Effat University President Haifa Jamal Al Lail and Dean Mervat Chuman.
“They have very interesting strengths,” Ernst said. “They are one of the most solid universities in the country for the education of women, and they have been doing a superb job. The work the university has put in and established is commendable, and MSB is proud and happy to cooperate with such a university.”
Ernst expressed that the partnership will be mutually beneficial to both universities. In particular, Effat’s Islamic finance program is something that the MSB felt they could incorporate into their international finance curriculum.
“We can help them achieve their objective to get accredited. But the cooperation should also enrich their already valuable curriculum,” Ernst said. “They also have some content in their curriculum where they have great level of expertise that we can use for our program.”
Sharpe explained that the MSB will help Effat University ensure that their business program delivers its curriculum in alignment with their mission, ambitious vision for the future and sizable resources.
“Anything we can do to advance the economic empowerment of women, particularly in the Middle East, is a good thing. It’ll be interesting to see where the women go after such education,” she said.
The partnership between Georgetown and the Jeddah-based women’s university will continue through a plethora of meetings and conferences. Chuman visited Washington in January to appear for a conference alongside Sharpe. Sharpe has already invited Chuman to present on another global partnership panel at the AACSB Annual European Conference, which will take place in October in Grenoble, France.
“What we are in the midst of pulling together for them is a custom program for their students — one week in June, here we will host them — we are currently deciding on which faculty will teach them, and the different sites that they will visit,” Sharpe said.
Haifa and Chuman also expressed their optimistic outlook towards the new partnership’s potential to provide a more global education for their students.
“We are very keen that our students get a global education and that they can measure themselves against world-class institutions such as Georgetown,” Haifa said. “This partnership will give them the confidence that they can compete globally, and they are not isolated on the periphery and are receiving an education that they can be proud of.”
Chuman commented on the importance of culture recognition and creating value-added alliances as ways in which MSB students will benefit from the relationship.
“In today’s global world, we need to learn as much as we can about other cultures, other ways of doing business, in order to be successful. I think that if MSB students can gain perspective into the culture of the Middle East through this partnership, it will help them in their future careers.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article attributed the quote regarding Effat’s June visit to Ricardo Ernst. Norean Sharpe said it.