Khalaf Al Habtoor welcomed a team from McKinsey & Company. The delegation was led by Professor Dr Nada Mourtada-Sabbah, the Secretary General of The University Leadership Consortium (ULC) and the BUNYAN Initiative for the Capacity-Building of the UAE youth. McKinsey has been entrusted with the mission of assisting the ULC leadership, as knowledge partner in shaping the strategy of the University Leadership Consortium of the UAE, which brings together leading academic institutions of higher learning and prominent figures from industry in mutually enhancing dialogues aimed at solid knowledge generation under the honorary chairmanship of His Highness Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development.
The Chairman was the first private sector figure that the delegation visited to provide insights about the best guidance and potential initiatives to enhance the capacitybuilding of the UAE youth, and the ongoing triangulated dialogue the ULC has been facilitating and undertaking in tandem between academia, industry, and government officials, for the benefit of knowledge generation and a robust knowledge economy, in line with UAE leadership strategic vision.
Al Habtoor said it is important to put emphasis on the enhancement of human capital, adding that he would like to see more focus on practical training and life skills to complement academic qualifications, and that the focus ought to be on the enhancement of the theoretical knowledge gained on the benches of schools and universities with the practical knowledge of the University of Life. “It is important that young professionals have varied skillsets. We cannot just have a pool of doctors, engineers or scientists. We need a population that is not so reliant on expatriate skills. We need to encourage innovation and polish leadership skills in the public sector.” He added, “When I am hiring people to join the Al Habtoor Group, I do not just look at their educational qualifications. I look at the person as a whole. I look at qualifications, life skills, discipline, work ethic, and charisma.”