The MBA Hub
By Scott Marshall, Associate Dean of Graduate Business Programs
Each December, the MBA program hosts a study abroad program in the Middle East, with students traveling to Abu Dhabi in the UAE, Doha in Qatar, and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. Visiting Doha is an incredible opportunity for our MBA students — the extensive PSU alumni network here provides access to high level leaders that is rare, if not one-of-a-kind.
Last Monday, the group met with Mohammad Sultan Al Jaber, Chairman of Al Jaber Group in Qatar. Mohammad is a PSU alumnus in civil engineering, and he and his family have built one of the largest design and construction firms in the country. Mohammad spent over two hours with the students, talking to them about the construction industry in Doha and the history and growth of the Al Jaber Group, graciously answering a number of questions.
Mohammed also gave an insightful presentation about the breadth of activities of the Al Jaber Group. Through its many affiliated companies, The Al Jaber Group has been the main contractor for a number of projects, including the Hamad Aquatic Center, Ras Gas and Messaieed Housing Projects, Al Gharafa Elementary School for Girls and others. There remains tremendous oppportunity for the Al Jaber Group as Qatar prepares to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. World Cup preparations include completion of an international airport, an extensive new rail and metro network and at least 12 new stadiums!On Tuesday, MBA students visited the Musheireb Enrichment Center to visit with Issam El Sahili, PSU alumnus, and Greg Acker, Portland native, to learn about the Msheireb Downtown Doha Project. Issam works for Interface Global Design Build, a Portland company, and Greg works for Turner Construction, which is overseeing the entire downtown project from design to construction.
The project has secured several billion dollars of funding from the Qatar Foundation, and incorporates the latest design in community-based living and sustainable technologies, as well as significant learnings from historical structures in the Doha region.
Issam explained to the students how this approach to development represents a fusion of the past and the future. Greg went on to talk about how the design on Msheireb represents an amazing opportunity to approach the arid climate in Doha and the region's significant water scarcity. Once again, Portland State's connections to the region provided our students with valuable insights into the incredible development activities in this part of the world.