How are global students welcomed in the United Arab Emirates?

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How are global students welcomed in the United Arab Emirates?

Twelve students and faculty members from Columbia University visited AECOM in the United Arab Emirates to learn about the country’s construction management practices.
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12 @Columbia University students visited @AECOM in the United Arab Emirates! Find out what happened: #AECOMImpact
Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 9:05am

CAMPAIGN: Corporate Social Responsibility


AECOM Impact blog

Vicky Mabbott, who organizes and manages AECOM's graduate program in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), discusses a recent AECOM event hosting 12 students and faculty members from Columbia University.

Twelve students and faculty members from Columbia University’s elite research group, Global Leaders in Construction Management, visited AECOM in the U.A.E. during January to learn about the country’s construction management practices.

Several senior employees taught students about the current market and future trends in the regional construction industry. AECOM’s sponsor in Abu Dhabi, His Excellency Otaiba Al Otaiba, and the U.S. Embassy’s Commercial Director, John Simmons, also gave valuable insights into how the U.A.E. construction market fits into the global picture.

As the U.A.E. Professional Development Program (PDP) manager, I spoke with the student group and shared the opportunities that AECOM has made available to our graduates to ensure they learn from practicing technical leads and develop their professional networks. The program was well received, and I was delighted to join the group for dinner and answer more questions about our work.

With more than 80 graduates in our two-year program, the company is dedicated to providing a supportive environment for professional growth as well as accelerating the development of graduates into industry leaders of tomorrow. The PDP is intended to provide a bridge between university and the challenges of a professional career by offering three main areas of learning. These include learning and development, where graduates complete technical competencies such as leadership, excellence and innovation; mentoring, which equips participants with the tools and resources for a successful career at AECOM; and networking, where graduates visit project sites throughout the U.A.E., and attend internal and external events.

I am pleased to say that the students were keen to understand more about our program. I answered their questions about the mentoring program — what it is like to work in the U.A.E., and whether it is beneficial for a fresh graduate to work abroad straight from university. My answer was a resounding, “Yes!” With the range of large-scale projects we deliver in the U.A.E., such as the District Mall, Etihad Rail and various theme parks, it’s a great opportunity for graduates to get exposure to working on projects they may not have the opportunity to work on in their home countries.

One of our success stories is Rami Al Otaibi (above), who joined AECOM as a graduate architect working in the Abu Dhabi office in October 2012. When explaining his experience, he said, “I was fully immersed into projects by the team leaders, who expected me to respond with feasible and practical solutions. I found this approach very eye-opening, verging on overwhelming on occasion. However, the support of my mentor and everyone else on the team always got me through.

“The team in AECOM is just as supportive of my career development as they are my personal development as a well-rounded architect and employee. I have had support on multiple occasions, including when I travelled to Brazil to build houses in disadvantaged areas of Sao Paulo. AECOM also celebrated my achievement of being ranked amongst the top 25 architect graduates globally.”

Check out more blog posts on employee excellence on the AECOM Impact blog!



With nearly 100,000 employees — including architects, engineers, designers, planners, scientists and management and construction services professionals — serving clients in more than 150 countries around the world following the acquisition of URS, AECOM is a premier, fully integrated infrastructure and support services firm. AECOM is ranked as the #1 engineering design firm by revenue in Engineering News-Record magazine’s annual industry rankings. The company is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, oil and gas, water, high-rise buildings and government. AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments. A Fortune 500 company, AECOM companies, including URS Corporation and Hunt Construction Group, had revenue of approximately $19.5 billion during the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2014. More information on AECOM and its services can be found at

AECOM Technology Corporation
Ed Mayer, +1.732.564.3380
Vice President, Corporate Communications

Keywords: Education | AECOM | Abu Dhabi | Business & Trade | Columbia University | Community | Construction Management | Engagement | His Excellency Otaiba Al Otaiba | united arab emirates

CAMPAIGN: Corporate Social Responsibility