This year’s Discovery Expedition to the UAE left quite an impression on IMD MBA student, Amy Fang, after she had the chance to meet Omar Al Olama, Minister of Artificial Intelligence, experience an 'intense’ four-day client project, and explore what Dubai and Abu Dhabi had to offer.

In late August, I had the incredible opportunity to meet Omar Al Olama, Minister of Artificial Intelligence for the UAE, during his visit to the IMD campus. His enlightening speech about his vision for AI’s application in the UAE, and its global collaboration, left a lasting impression on me. Having the chance to engage with the world’s first Minister of Artificial Intelligence and pose questions directly to him was truly inspiring. It was undoubtedly one of the most remarkable experiences during my time at IMD.

Al Olama’s presence piqued my curiosity about the UAE, a nation characterized by its diverse population, with over 80% comprised of expatriates representing 200 nationalities. The dynamic nature of the UAE, as exemplified by his insights, is something I found captivating.

Our journey continued with the Discovery Expedition trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi in early September. Before this trip, my knowledge of Dubai was limited to iconic landmarks like the Burj Khalifa and the Palm Jumeirah. However, this expedition broadened my perspective, offering a deeper understanding of the UAE’s multifaceted landscape.

Hischam El-Agamy set the tone for the trip by encouraging us to consider external forces – an often overlooked aspect in strategic planning but one with profound implications and uncertainties. We had the privilege of applying this framework to hands-on projects in collaboration with local UAE companies. The four-day project was intense, yet it proved to be one of the most efficient and productive collaborations with a client I’ve experienced. Our final presentation transcended the typical client-contractor relationship, evolving into an engaging conversation and discussion.

The Discovery Expedition to Dubai and Abu Dhabi was a journey marked by challenges and extraordinary discoveries. It provided a unique glimpse into the inclusivity and exceptional efficiency of the region. The vibrant atmosphere and interactions with the people we encountered throughout the trip reminded me of my hometown, Shenzhen. For international professionals, the chance to explore career opportunities in this thriving region is something I highly recommend.

Reflecting on the development of Dubai, the UAE, and Al Olama’s insights, one statement resonated deeply: “You cannot govern this technology on an island. You can’t do it on your own. You have to do it with others.” This underscores the importance of collaboration and cooperation in shaping a better future for everyone. The UAE’s commitment to global collaboration in AI governance mirrors the collaborative spirit that defines its growth and progress, making it a beacon of inspiration for us all.

As well as working on projects, our cohort also managed to have some fun. We explored local restaurants and visited Museum of The Future. I absolutely loved this trip!

Quote – Time100 AI Omar Al Olama Minister of Artificial Intelligence, UAE


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