Winter Term in Dubai broadens Business Fellows’ knowledge of global commerce

Company visits and an exploration of culture in the United Arab Emirates were strategically designed to “bridge classroom learning with global business practices.”

Thirty-eight Business Fellows and four faculty members visited Dubai and Abu Dhabi over Winter Term for an exploration of the intersection between culture and commerce.

The program, organized from January 11 – 23, 2024, the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, offered second-year Business Fellows an opportunity to engage with leading companies and cultural landmarks across the United Arab Emirates as a part of the course BUS 1730: Business & Culture in UAE.

Faculty members led students in conversations to digest and discuss their observations, integrating their experiences with their academic studies and personal growth objectives.

“Our aim is to bridge classroom learning with global business practices, ensuring our students are not just academically proficient but also culturally and professionally adept,” said Lincoln Financial Professor Tina Das.


“Visiting Odoo was an eye-opener,” said Benjamin Sykes ’26 a finance and business analytics major from Lynnfield, Mass. “We not only learned about the latest in ERP and CRM technologies but also pitched our business ideas using Odoo’s platform. A big shoutout to Kevin Farah and Pavitra Singh for their invaluable insights.”

This visit underscored the practical application of business management tools in today’s market environment, showcasing how companies like Odoo are at the forefront of business innovation.

Masdar City

“Visiting Masdar City and understanding its commitment to a zero-carbon future was inspiring,” said Asa Traylor ’26, a finance major from San Diego. “It’s fascinating to see how the UAE balances rapid innovation with deep cultural roots, especially in places like the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Qasr al Watan.”

Masdar City is a pioneering eco-city in Abu Dhabi, designed as a global model for sustainable urban living and powered by renewable energy.

Armani Hotel in Burj Khalifa

“Learning about the luxury hospitality sector within the world’s tallest building and understanding the strategic advantages of doing business in Dubai was unparalleled,” said Kate Rohan ’26 an accounting major from Maplewood, N.J. “These experiences have equipped me with a nuanced perspective on international business practices.”

The hotel occupies several floors of the Burj Khalifa and includes luxury rooms and suites, gourmet restaurants, and a spa.

Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park

“The trip was a holistic learning adventure,” said Maylee Clerici ’26, a supply chain management and business analytics major from Mars, Pennsylvania. “From the strategic insights provided at the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park to the cultural depths explored at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding and the Al Shindagha Museum, the trip allowed me to get a better understanding of the UAE’s business landscape.”

The Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park is a hub in the UAE dedicated to fostering innovation, research, and development across key sectors such as renewable energy, environmental technology, and digitalization.

International Centre for Culinary Arts

Adding a culinary twist to their educational journey, the Business Fellows had the unique opportunity to participate in a cooking session at the International Centre for Culinary Arts. “Going to ICCA allowed us to experience the food in the UAE firsthand,” said finance major Katie Gontkosky ’26.

American University of Sharjah

“Josiah Jodrey ’14 G’18 who is a professor at the American University of Sharjah introduced us to finance professors and bankers who shed light onto the financial systems in place in the UAE.” Rohan said. The group was able to learn from other students at the university and speak with Associate Professor of Finance Daniel Dupuis for another perspective of international business.

More to do in Dubai and Abu Dhabi

In addition to educational experiences, the trip included activities designed to broaden the Fellows’ understanding of the UAE’s cultural and historical context. Guided tours of the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding and the Al Shindagha Museum offered deep dives into the Emirati way of life, traditions, and the historical evolution of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Fellows also experienced the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, a symbol of the spiritual heart of the country, showcasing the architectural brilliance and Islamic artistry that highlight the region’s religious and cultural identity.

“My favorite day of the trip included waking up early to watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon in the desert, walking around the Dubai Miracle Garden, and then going on a yacht as a whole cohort and seeing the sunset and fireworks show,” Rohan said.


The Elon Business Fellows Program prepares students to be innovative leaders in the competitive and dynamic world of business by blending classroom learning and real-world experience. Our emerging business professionals graduate ready to take on the leadership challenges in their professions, organizations and communities.