Dubai, United Arab Emirates, February 08, 2017 --(PR.com
)-- Undergraduate students from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce are returning to their university classes in Charlottesville, Va., after a whirlwind tour of innovative businesses in the UAE. As part of their tour, on Jan. 12, United World Infrastructure (UWI), in Dubai, hosted the 11 students, along with Professor Supra Sarker and Assistant Dean for Commerce Career Services Denise Egan. UWI is a Dubai- and Washington, D.C.-based firm that funds, develops, and manages next-generation cities.
The Dubai trip concluded a two-week program during which the students studied innovation, consumption preferences, and cultural traditions in India and the UAE.
“There will be 2.4 billion more people living in cities by 2050, an additional 1 billion more in just the next 15 years. This brings many challenges, but also many opportunities to build cities which better meet the needs of the people living and working there,” said UWI’s Managing Director Aaditya Sarna. “These students will become our next generation of city-makers – governmental leaders, urban planners, investors, business entrepreneurs, and residents. We were excited about the opportunity to share part of the story of Dubai and our own experiences in funding, planning, and managing cities, as well as to hear their insights on the key issues raised by rapid urbanization.”
“The most exciting thing for me was the way this course forced us to think and interject ourselves hypothetically into the situation we were learning about, whether with an infrastructure investment and development company or a finance start-up,” said fourth-year McIntire student McLean Hudson. “It encouraged us to engage with what commerce is like in this part of the world and what business might be turning into in Dubai or in India as new infrastructure is built. I was shocked by the scope and capacity of UWI’s work. It’s a much more holistic team—part real estate, part development, part art … [T]hat there is a designated role in the company that considers what makes people happy speaks volumes.”
During their stay, students visited local entrepreneurial organizations, multinational firms, and government agencies in the region, and were exposed to global IT trends, sustainable energy advancements, and progressive developments through engagements with international firms across the UAE and India.
“One emerging theme throughout our tour was the contrasting styles of innovation in India and the UAE. In India, we saw an improvisational approach to innovation, and it often involved frugality and ‘jugaad.’ In contrast, we experienced a grandeur in the nature of innovations in the UAE, where resource constraints seemed less of an issue for promising projects,” said Professor Supra Sarker.
“Our visit to the UAE broadened students’ perspective on many levels. In addition to introducing them to compelling businesses crossing many sectors, students enjoyed connecting with and learning from professionals engaged in UVA’s dynamic alumni network,” said Assistant Dean Egan. “All of us are truly amazed by the innovation and prosperity created in this region in such a relatively short period of time.”
Founded by Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, UVA was named the No. 2 public university in the country in the 2017 edition of the U.S. News & World Report rankings. In the nine years (2006-2014) that Bloomberg Businessweek ranked American undergraduate business programs, the McIntire School Program is the only program to have been ranked either first or second each year.
Operating globally, United World Infrastructure (UWI) invests in the acquisition, development, and management of real-estate and infrastructure assets to stimulate economic growth, technology transfer, and foreign direct investment. Committed to people-centric communities, UWI transforms underdeveloped land into real-estate assets that attract development catalysts such as theme parks, hospitals, and schools. Its infrastructure assets for new cities include: road networks, water and drainage systems, sewage systems, electricity, telecom networks, and systems for renewable energy and recycling to ensure environmental sustainability. UWI’s financial products, including yield-driven development models and infrastructure and commercial concessions, optimize returns to project investors.