Top MBA in Middle East: Best Economies, Post MBA Opportunities and Entrepreneurship

MBA in Middle EastAlthough Middle East is not known for its MBA program, the economic recovery from 2008’s financial meltdown has led many MBA Aspirants to think about the region for Post-MBA opportunities. The Economies that constitute Middle East are Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Cyprus, Lebanon, Northern Cyprus, Oman, State of Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Iraq , United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

When it comes to the strongest economies in this region, Turkey leads with $1.09 trillion dollars in GDP; Iran is next at $1 trillion, followed by Saudi Arabia, which owns 20% of World’s Oil reserves, with $691.5 billion, Egypt with $525.6 billion, United Arab Emirates with $262.1 billion and Israel with $238.2 billion. According to IMF, the region grew at 4.5% in 2011. It has some of the highest per capita GDP income in the world. Qatar is at #2 in the world with a massive $104,300.

When it comes to International MBA Programs and Job Opportunities, two countries stand out - UAE and Israel.


The United Arab Emirates has the region's 2nd largest per capita income, $48,800, just behind USA's $49,000. It is the 8th largest oil producer in the world, pumping out 2.8 million barrels a day. It also has the world's 8th largest proven oil reserves of 97.8 trillion barrels of oil. The UAE has made use of its location at the head of the Persian Gulf which leads to the Suez Canal, by becoming a major trade hub and Free Trade Zone. Its exports are worth $252.6 billion, and imports $185.6 billion. Abu Dhabi is responsible for 90% of the oil production, while Dubai is a global hub for finance, trade, and tourism.

The economic crisis had adversely affected UAE, with a negative growth of 4.8% in 2010. Before that, it was one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with a peak rate of 9.8% in 2007. Since the dip, it has been on the recovery path, growing by 1.3% in 2011 and a very healthy 4.2% in 2012. Though petroleum and natural gas form a bulk of the economy, construction, manufacturing, and a vibrant services sector are contributing towards the growth and recovery. Dubai's Media City offers Internet and Media free zones, with zero tax office space and state-of-the-art communications infrastructure.

One interesting thing to note about UAE is that it has no income or federal-level corporate tax. Dubai is also a top cosmopolitan city, representing 150 nationalities with 80% of the populace hailing from outside the country

Although there are several Business Schools in UAE, from an International reputation and placement point of view, HULT International Business School standout in this region.

HULT International Business School

HULT's campus in Dubai is located in Dubai Internet City (DIC), which also hosts the Majid Bin Mohammed Innovation Center, a technology incubator, and houses the offices of companies like Google, Microsoft, Intel, Yahoo, HP and Cisco. It offers a one-year MBA program that gives students the benefits of living and learning in one the world's most futuristic cities. The Global Campus Rotation program allows students to pick their home campus, and then spend up to 3 months studying at two other campuses, choosing from Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai, Shanghai, New York, and São Paulo.

In 2011, Hult graduates took up employment in 52 countries. With the average class salary at $89,143, 59% were employed in a new country. Some of the popular sectors for recruitment were consulting, finance, manufacturing, healthcare, oil & gas, FMCG, automotive and ICT. The recruiting companies include BT, Shell, Dubai Healthcare City, Cisco, Unilever, Fonterra, Johnson & Johnson, UC Harris, Kone Elevators, Nissan, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Rocket Internet and Schneider Electric.


Israel is ranked 17 in the UN Human Development Index, which makes it a Highly Developed country. Israel is a technologically advanced country, with a market economy. It grew at 3.1 % in 2012, and totaled 243 billion dollars in 2012. In fact, it has grown by around 5% over the past 5 years. Israel has no oil reserves, and depends on imports for energy, raw material and food. But Israel makes up for it through technological innovation. It is also known as 'Silicon Wadi', #2 in the world for technology innovation, just behind Silicon Valley. This is brought about by a large concentration of high-tech companies, supported by an active VC industry. According to Startup Genome, Tel Aviv is the world’s 2nd best entrepreneurial environment after Silicon Valley. Berkshire Hathaway's first investment beyond USA was made here, as were Intel and Microsoft's first international R&D centers.

The country's top industrial sectors include metals, processed foods, electronic & biomedical equipment, transport equipment and chemicals. The Israeli diamond industry is among the world's top cutting and polishing destinations. Israel also leads in software, telecom and semiconductors. Another major source of income is the tourist industry with 3.5 million tourists visiting the Country in 2012. 40 % of the GDP comes from exports of goods and services. The country also has a highly advanced agricultural sector.

For MBA Aspirants interested in finding opportunities in Israel, Sofaer International MBA program might be a good fit for you.


Tel Aviv University's Sofaer International MBA is a 1-year program that is held in Tel Aviv, one of the most entrepreneurial regions in the world. The program offers a 10-day International Study Tour that gives students extensive exposure to international business environments. Past trips have even been to places like China and India. The school's semester exchange program enables one semester exchange at one of the 60+ partner schools LIKE Beijing University - China, Melbourne Business School - Australia, Indian School of Business - India, HEC - France, Copenhagen Business School - Denmark, Northwestern University - USA, National University of Singapore - Singapore and Fundacao Getulios Vargas (FGV) - Brazil.

The program offers 4 Professional Areas of Focus (PAF), which are in keeping with the employment opportunities in Israel.  First is in Entrepreneurship, which covers subjects like Entrepreneurship & New Ventures, Entrepreneurial Finance & Venture Capital, Technology Ventures and Leadership. The Second is a Business & Sustainability track that includes MBA Cares, Environmental Economics, Measuring Eco-efficiency in Business Context, Green Supply Chain Management and Civil Society & Environmental Politics.  The Third track that students can choose is Marketing Management, which teaches subjects like Pricing Policy, Consumer Behavior and Marketing Strategy. The final concentration under Professional Areas of Focus is Finance, which covers Financial Management, Investments, Financial Statement Analysis, Entrepreneurial Finance & Venture Capital and Financial Engineering, among other subjects.

Share your Top International MBA Programs for Middle East in the Comments Section.

Related: Interview with Hult MBA Director of Recruiting

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