The Silicon Review
“UBT contributes to the global community by promoting creative research, creating new intellectual values, and fostering talented human resources that can generate such new values and have a great added value to the community.”
University of Business and Technology (UBT) is a young and pioneering private higher education provider established in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, offering, through its four colleges, a range of high quality, market-responsive undergraduate and graduate programs. It is recognized and distinguished as an academic landmark, and it is an active contributor to the country’s role in developing the quality of higher education. UBT is the only private University providing education programs for both males and females at undergraduate and graduate levels.
Dr. Abdullah Dahlan, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of UBT, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.
Q. Why and how did you found the University of Business and Technology?
University of Business and Technology was established based on my vision and belief that higher education should promote lifelong learning, drive excellent professional education, and be considered pivotal in delivering skills training to impact the Saudi economy positively.
UBT was founded in 2000 as an institute of Business and Technology IBA to fulfill the job market needs for specialized, well-experienced, and competent employees ready to face world challenges, solve current problems.
Q. What are your focus areas?
UBT bridges the gap between academia and job market needs by developing new programs and majors in collaboration with international universities to serve the community and contribute to the Saudi economy in supporting the realization of the vision 2030. Through discoveries, UBT generates knowledge through applied research, transfers this knowledge to society by the right communication means, and transfers the technology to the industry with a positive impact. UBT’s applied research serves different kingdoms’ economic development axes from business, legal, advertising, science and technology, and educational perspectives.
Q. What do you think are the biggest challenges the education sector will face in the next five years?
The higher education sector is one of the main pillars of the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plan, with a special focus on enabling the private sector to play an active role in developing it, especially that the private sector is working on meeting the Saudi job market need.
UBT has been part of the fabric of the western region of the Saudi Arabia Community since its inception. It expanded over 21 years from a business institution to a leading university in Saudi Arabia, the Arab region, and other parts of the world. It continues to pursue its core mission of contributing to the global community by promoting creative research, creating new intellectual values, and fostering capable human resources which can generate such new values and have a great added value to the community. In its pursuit of that mission, the University has made significant achievements as one of Saudi’s leading teaching-research universities.
For sure, like any private university, UBT is facing many challenges such as students’ enrollment, Scholarships, competitiveness, research productivity, university-industry relationship, accreditation, and improving quality. These challenges for us are an opportunity to explore.
Currently, multiple complex issues threaten people all over the world. UBT reaffirms its commitments and missions by seeking solutions to the multifaceted and complex issues faced by global society through disruptive research, new pedagogical techniques, new academic programs, and professional training and diplomas and consistently shares its progress with society.
Q. What strategies are in place to encourage innovation at UBT?
Innovation applied research, and disruptive research is the main and only tools to build tomorrow in KSA. UBT has created the best environment to allow research to grow and prosper. The priorities have been defined by the kingdom’s needs, limitations, and opportunities in different business sectors in the kingdom.
UBT encourages and supports disruptive research and creates the platform for a knowledge-based economy, and contributes to the national transformation plan. UBT is going beyond teaching to produce knowledge and conduct quality research that will contribute to economic development and serve the community in Saudi Arabia and the world.
Over the past, the UBT has made considerable progress towards this aspiration, and the new strategic plan will enable it to build on such progress. In its journey towards research excellence, the UBT has established the Research and Consultancy Centre (RCC), which was transformed in 2017 to the Deanship of Scientific Research (DSR) with an ambitious goal to become the leader in providing applied studies and R&D services for the business sector, in helping improve its production efficiency and to provide studies to serve the national economy.
Q. Where does UBT stand at the moment relative to other participants in the industry?
UBT is considered as one of the Saudi leading teaching-research universities, based on its testified achievements by the fact that UBT has received many international awards. It is recognized at the international level by the International Association of Universities, iREG, and the Association of Arab Universities and at the national level by the Ministry of Education and NCAAA. Besides, UBT is accredited by CEA, IAA, EDAF, EPASS, and ACCA. UBT is a member of AASCBC, AMBA, and many others. UBT is also the first private University to be licensed by the Saudi national e-learning Center.
Q. What plans for transformation are you pursuing to remain relevant now and in the future?
As the world is changing fast, there should be a divergence between the pace of university research and its environment. UBT is moving toward becoming a fourth-generation university and then fifth-generation University. UBT will be seen as a central stakeholder capable of underpinning societal transformation by preparing future leaders, generating knowledge that underpins sustainable economic growth and sustainability industries, transforming it into a sustainable institution.
UBT’s mission will combine research, teaching, and secondly, it is an actor in the process of sustainable development co-creation, with stakeholders located within and outside its institutional boundaries.
The Visionary Leader at the Helm of University of Business and Technology
Dr. Abdullah Dahlan is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Business and Technology. He is a Saudi Businessman with 40+ years of experience in investment in education. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Coral International School Company, a Member of the Arab Businessmen Association, and an Economist writer in Al Madina Newspaper.
He held many positions, such as Board Member of the Al Shoura Consultative Council, Faculty member in the College of Economics & Administration in King Abdulaziz University. President of the center of Human Rights at work- Geneva, Board Member of the International Labor Organization, Board Member at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Board member of Saudi Airlines, Chairman of the Saudi-Egyptian Business Council- Saudi Side, Vice Chairman of the Arab-Swiss Chamber, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Al Bilad Press Foundation, Board Member at King Fahad National Library, and so on.