Education for Employment: Bridging the gap between Academia and the Industry
The AUD conference brought in top regional CEO's and employers to discuss the current job market
The American University in Dubai held the "Employment for Education; Bridging the gap between Academia and the Industry" conference, which brought together the top CEO's in the region, as well as the heads of HR and distinguished AUD Alumni, to discuss the changing requirements of the job market, and the skillset required from new graduates to be relevant and job ready upon graduation. 
The opening keynote speech was delivered by AUD's president Dr. Lance de Masi, who discussed the key role of universities in investing in student's soft skills and maximiszing their exposure to the workforce while they are still studying, developing work skills and beginning their professional careers through placements and internships. He noted that the drive of AUD to get students Life Ready, lies in its ability to engage professionals in the classroom, connecting students with the work industry from their early days at AUD.

The event was comprised of three panels in the morning: the CEO panel, the HR panel and the Alumni panel. 
The CEO panel hosted Mr. Yves Manghardt, CEO and Chairman of Nestle Middle East, Mr. Olivier Harnish, CEO of EMAAR Hospitality Group, Mr. Phil Showering, COO of Mohebi Logistics, Mr. Mahmoud El Burai, MENA representative for the Global Compact Network UAE and the Managing Director of the Dubai Real Estate Institute and Dr. Imad Hoballah, AUD’s Provost.
The panelists’ main point of discussion was on the need for corporate awareness and involvement in Youth employment across the region, to insure that studies and degrees remain relevant at a time of vast change in the skills required in today's job market. This led to the conclusion that companies today are looking for graduates who are adaptable, resilient and innovative, with an extensive set of soft skills and solid emotional intelligence. 
Moreover, they spoke on how millennials have changed the recruiting measures and dynamics of the employment process, as applicants screen and analyze company values and missions before enaging with them, making the interview process both ways. 
The HR Director panel hosted Mrs. Siwar Zein, Head of Talent & Development Nestlé Middle East, Mr. Simone Beretta, Head of HR Middle East at BOSCH, Mr. Ghassan Talhouk, Head of LinkedIn UAE-LTS, Mr. Rob Jones, HR Leader Emerging Markets at Nielsen, Mr. Jean-Michel Gauthier, CEO of InternsME, Ms. Alizeh Batra, Doctorate in Education candidate at the University of Bath in the UK. The panelists explained the credentials needed to bridge the gap between academics and careers (What is the market asking for?) As well as indicating that companies today are striving to increase personal development and exposure to the business in their employees, building on life long skills and knowledge that can be used in companies across the industry. 

The last panel, the Alumni panel hosted Ms. Sandra Choueiri, HR Director at Choueiri Group, Mrs, Myrna Ayad, Director of Art Dubai, Mr. Adel Alawadhi, Founder and Managing Partner at The Corporate Group. The Panelists shared their experiences in the workforce which led to their current professional success. Some of the advice shared included the great importance of undertaking several different internships during university years to discover where their passions and talent lie.

The American University in Dubai was ranked for the second time in two years by the Times Higher Education Employability Rankings as being one of the top 150 universitites worldwide to be chosen for the employability of their graduates. AUD is the only UAE university to be featured, and one of three regional universities to be mentioned on the international ranking.