Employability is a major factor for students when they consider university programmes. As vocations change dramatically, universities are preparing students with future-ready subjects to ensure employment. At the American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK), employability is central to its educational programmes, says Prof. Stephen Wilhite, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success at AURAK. With innovative and unique courses alongside the more traditional programmes, students now have more opportunities to equip themselves for that dream career than ever before and subsequently increase the chances of their employability.
"Every school at AURAK has Advisory Councils that include as members employers in the region who help programmes in establishing links to companies in which students can seek internship placement and ultimately employment," explains Prof. Wilhite. "The large number of practical lab activities provided throughout the curricula also ensures that AURAK students are well prepared for entering the professional world."
A former student of AURAK, Saad Yaqoob says, “I believe my university education played a major role in guaranteeing a job in a multinational company due to the exposure it gave me in my field. It helped me learn the skills in Petroleum Engineering that I could apply at a very high level.”
Thanks to the internship experience of AURAK graduate Ghadah Shalaby, a career in Marketing and Communications beckoned, even in a tough employment market.
“I graduated in the summer of 2021, which was arguably quite a tough time for job seekers,” Shalaby says. “A month later, and thanks to the work experience gained during my internship, I landed a job in one of the leading Marketing and Communications Departments in the UAE. Shortly after that, I successfully enrolled in a master's degree programme, a process made so much simpler since my bachelor’s degree came from a reputable and internationally recognised university.”
With such successes, AURAK is witnessing considerable interest in their courses. While it offers a wide range of programmes including Bachelor in Science (BS) in Biotechnology and BS in Chemical Engineering and Petroleum Engineering, to name a few, two of the newer majors are particularly in high demand among prospective students. One is BS in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the other Business Analytics in BS in Business Administration.
Dr Khouloud Salameh, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Chairperson, Department of Computer Science and Computer Engineering, AURAK, explains why the AI course is popular. “Artificial intelligence is at the core of the current technology revolution, which is impacting industry and society today and for decades to come. Consequently, AI has opened up a wide range of career opportunities and highly paid jobs in several applications such as machine learning, speech analysis, and natural language processing. AI allows us to read our emails, avoid traffic, access instant translations, get movie or music recommendations, and many other intelligent services. With AI, institutions can make better decisions by enhancing the accuracy of strategic decision-making processes.”
With so many benefits of AI, a host of job opportunities are available to graduates who complete the AI programme. “AURAK’s BS in AI provides graduates with the necessary skills to become professionals and leaders in the computing field,” says Dr Salameh. “The degree opens doors to careers in data analytics, software engineering, data mining and analysis, big data engineering, and web and mobile device design.”
Meanwhile, Business Analytics is in demand because the world is experiencing the Fourth Industrial Revolution led by advances in data science and artificial intelligence technologies, explains Prof. Joseph Wallis, Dean of School of Business at AURAK. “The demand for professionals who can utilise these technologies effectively is ramping up. A survey of UAE employers by the economic advisory firm Oxford Economics highlighted that 88 per cent of companies surveyed indicated a need for analytics-related talent in 2018 as opposed to 47 per cent in 2014. This study by Oxford Economics provides evidence that the demand for business analytics skills in the UAE spans multiple industries, including banking, insurance, retail, government, healthcare, consumer goods, and professional services sectors.”
Analytics professionals are needed across these industries in a multitude of business functional areas, including human resources, marketing, sales, operations, production, service, and information technology.
“The demand for professionals who can utilise these technologies effectively is ramping up. A survey of UAE employers by the economic advisory firm Oxford Economics highlighted that 88 per cent of companies surveyed indicated a need for analytics-related talent in 2018 as opposed to 47 per cent in 2014. This study by Oxford Economics provides evidence that the demand for business analytics skills in the UAE spans multiple industries, including banking, insurance, retail, government, healthcare, consumer goods, and professional services sectors.” Analytics professionals are needed across these industries in a multitude of business functional areas, including human resources, marketing, sales, operations, production, service, and information technology.
Not just technical skills
Along with technical skills, analytics professionals require domain knowledge in specific business functions such as marketing, finance and HR for business problem-solving. “It is only through a combination of these skills that these professionals can help organisations transform into data-driven enterprises for corporate decision-making, and use analytics to deliver business value,” says Prof. Wallis.
AURAK’s business analytics courses are continually evaluated and refined to provide graduates with the knowledge and skills sought by users of business analytics, just like other innovative programmes.
That explains why regardless of the courses, various multinational companies are keen to employ graduates of AURAK.
One such successful graduate, Jumana Khalil, explains, “I majored in Business Administration with a concentration in human resource management. It was a pleasure to be educated by leading professors who set an excellent example for us students and prepared me to start a successful career path. AURAK’s global recognition eased the beginning of my career with great companies due to its excellent reputation. I was able to find work in multinational companies assisting me in building my skills and qualities.”
Bachelor of Architecture (BA)
BA in Interior Design
BS in Artificial Intelligence
BS in Computer Science
BS in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical & Electronics Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Petroleum Engineering
BS in Business Administration with majors in Accounting, Business Administration, Business Analytics, Finance, Hospitality & Tourism Management, Human Resource Management, and Marketing
BS in Biotechnology with concentrations in Cell & Molecular Biotechnology, Forensic Science, and Medical Biotechnology
BA in Mass Communication with concentrations in Digital Media and Public Relations
Master of Science (MS) in Engineering Project Management
MS of Sustainable & Renewable Energy
Master of Infrastructure Engineering
Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Executive MBA
Master of Education (MEd) and Post-Graduate Diploma in Education