AUD Business Students Fly High in Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi Airports’ Fikra Competition
A team of AUD business students won the Fikra Competition organized by Etihad Airlines and Abu Dhabi Airports. The competition included about 2800 participants grouped in 413 teams from 44 different universities. After about two months of intensive mentoring and close scrutiny by senior operation managers and executives at the Etihad Airlines’ HQ and Abu Dhabi Airport, students Mohammed Al Majedi, Mohammed Selim, and Issa Salem qualified to the final round, in which they presented their idea in front of a top judging panel. The panel included the Etihad’s Group CEO (Tony Douglas), Airways CEO (Peter Baumgartner), and Aviation COO (Bruno Matheu). This setting made the challenge even more challenging and raised the bar on the competing students. However, the AUD students were at their highest readiness and fully equipped to engage those world class executives in an intelligent conversation loaded with compelling arguments; and, the result was  an obvious win to the students and to AUD. The winners will get opportunities for paid internships with Etihad Airlines or one of its global partners in different countries. Furthermore, they will be offered opportunities to develop the idea further either as a partnership with Etihad or through an extended internship program.

The student’s idea is a business implementation plan of a theoretical aircraft boarding strategy that was originally developed last year in the AUD Centre of Excellence for Smarter Logistics, and got extensive international recognition (at various academic and industry levels). In the Awards Ceremony, the Group CEO  expressed his deep admiration of  the students’ effort, and praised their determination to succeed.

Dr. Hassan Zeineddine, Chair of the Decision Sciences and Economics Department and Associate Professor of Information Systems, who mentored those students throughout the competition phases commented on this achievement by saying: “the students worked hard to attain this height, and throughout the journey appreciated the value of their knowledge in a practical context. One of the main objectives of the Business School and AUD is to prepare job-ready graduates; and engagement with industry in competitions and other activities are enabling the university and students to achieve this objective.”