Press release -

Leading in Turbulent Times

Chief executives from major companies across the Gulf joined members of London Business School’s faculty and politicians in Dubai to debate the challenges and opportunities facing business leaders in the region.

The ‘Leading In Turbulent Times’ conference on 5 May, organised by students from London Business School’s Dubai MBA programme, brought together expert panellists to discuss a varied programme of topics affecting the Gulf, including the economic and political issues and the future role of the region’s economies. They looked at the leadership and management capabilities companies will need to survive into the future and the implications for social and technological change.  

Also under the spotlight at the conference was strategy in the financial services industry and entrepreneurship and innovation in the region.

Opening the conference was Lord Charles Falconer, former Lord Chancellor of the UK, who looked at leadership from a public relations perspective. He cited Franklin D. Roosevelt, the US president during the 1930s Great Depression, as a template for leaders in today’s challenging economic times.  He commented that Roosevelt’s ability to “argue his case” and persuade the public directly, is has been echoed recently in the UK Prime Ministerial televised debates.

London Business School’s world-class faculty was represented by Julian Birkinshaw, Professor of Strategic and International Management; Naufel Vilcassim, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Professor of Innovation and Andrew Scott, Professor of Economics.

In his talk, Professor Scott predicted that the coming years would see investments staying within the Middle East/North African region, where there is huge scope for trade and services, rather than the majority of goods and money going outside the region.

Chief Economist at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dr Nasser Saidi, echoed Professor Scott’s comments, acknowledging that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had learned a major lesson: it needed to develop capital markets in its own country, rather than putting money into foreign markets and seeing little of it returning to the UAE. He called for a drive for regional integration, leveraging North Africa and South Asia, and the need to finance infrastructure in the Gulf.

Guest speakers came from a range of Gulf-based organisations, including CEOs Farah Al Sharekh of Sakhr Software; Guy Crawford of Jumeirah; Osman Sultan of du Telecom and Sameer Al Ansari of SHUAA Capital.

The conference is the first of its kind organised by students on London Business School’s Dubai MBA programme – Dina Rahman, Kartik Ram, Majid Hassan and Rob Sheward  – all of whom will graduate at the Recognition Ceremony on 8 May at the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Dina Rahman commented, “I wanted to bring a bit of the London experience, the wealth of knowledge of our professors, and a Dubai perspective, represented by the incredibly diverse and committed students and alumni in the region together for this conference, which we hope will be a business forum from now on.

“I was excited to have such a varied group of CEOs and senior managers come together and discuss the issues and challenges that they face companies in today’s world. We hope that this will be an opportunity where we can bring together both the academic and practical perceptive in one place so that ideas and knowledge can be shared."


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About London Business School

London Business School's purpose is to deliver insights and leaders that have impact. The School is ranked number one in the world for the full-time MBA programme*. In research, the School is ranked within the global top ten* and holds the highest average research score of any UK academic institution**.


The School's faculty, from over 30 countries, is grouped into seven subject areas – Accounting; Economics; Finance; Management Science and Operations; Marketing; Organisational Behaviour; and Strategic and International Management.


Studying at the School provides access to an unmatched diversity of thought. With a presence in four international cities – London, New York, Hong Kong and Dubai – the School is well positioned to equip students from more than 130 countries with the capabilities needed to operate in today’s business environment. Students further benefit from our 30,000 alumni who provide a wealth of knowledge, business experience and worldwide networking opportunities.


The School awards over 1,000 degrees every year, across MBA, Executive MBA, Masters in Finance, Sloan Fellow and PhD programmes and has most recently added Masters in Management to its portfolio. The Executive Education team offers a portfolio of over 30 open programmes as well as custom-designed programmes developed to meet the specific needs of individuals and their organisation. Annually, over 8,000 participants attend executive programmes that are led by many of the world’s leading business thinkers.