Students complete first IR graduate program in Dubai
The first graduates of Dubai’s trendsetting Investor Relations Graduate Program were unveiled this week, as Emirati students were given a fast-paced introduction to the IR profession.
The venture, a joint initiative between the Dubai Financial Market, NASDAQ Dubai and the Middle East Investor Relations Society, placed five finance students from three universities in the UAE on placements at the country’s stock market.
Each student was introduced to the fast-growing field of IR in Dubai via a packed program of internships, introductions and training sessions.
One participating student, Ahmed Mohammed, says that in his undergraduate studies ‘IR was not something that was given a lot of attention. After doing some research about IR, I began to understand the important role it plays in the functioning of capital markets and decided to take the course in order to learn more about it.’
Ahmed Mohammed (left), one of the graduate scheme’s first five alumni, receives his certificate of completion
The six-week program comprises a range of different experiences intended to expose participants to the rigors of being an IRO. The first week includes a tour of Dubai’s stock exchange and an internship with several major financial houses, which Ahmed explains helped him ‘understand the context in which listed companies and IROs operate.’
Internships were undertaken within the IR teams of some of Dubai’s major listed companies, including Emaar, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, SHUAA Capital and Dubai Islamic Bank. Throughout the internship, students were given more theoretical training on a weekly basis on finance-related topics, helping them to better grasp the big picture.
Sessions were delivered by leading financial services firms, including Citi, JPMorgan, Thomson Reuters, Moody’s, Latham & Watkins, Hawkamah, MerchantCantos and Deutsche Bank.
‘For me, the most interesting session was at JP Morgan’s offices in the Dubai International Finance Centre,’ Ahmed adds. ‘Here, we were given a complete overview of capital markets and learned about the basis of IR, the role of buy-side and sell-side analysts, M&A and research analysis.’
So what has Ahmed gained as a result of completing the program? For one, he’s certainly keen to stay within the industry. ‘During the program I have not only gained an understanding of IR and the financial landscape in general, but I have also discovered that I am truly interested in pursuing a career within the field of IR and that I have many of the right attributes to be successful,’ he says.
Beyond that, he sees the scheme as having value even beyond his own education and recognizes that ‘it will be important for young professionals from the Middle East to contribute to the growth of IR in the region. The experience of being part of the IR Graduate Program has definitely changed my perspective on my future.’