AUD Graduates Among the Most Employable in the World
February 7, 2017

The American University in Dubai has ranked among the top 150 universities in the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016. The ranking, based on a survey designed by French human resources company Emerging, was published recently by the Times Higher Education. Notably, AUD is the only one of two universities from the Arab world to figure in the ranking. The published ranking can be found here.


AUD President Lance de Masi attributes the results of the Global University Employability Ranking 2016 to the fact that AUD embraces liberal education as the context within which it provides students with a 360-degree "whole person" education. He explains, "Universities are houses of learning, for today and tomorrow; and nothing is more sacred to them than the cultivation of the mind. Education is a much bigger and more encompassing activity than training. My point, however, is that there is no reason for universities to have to choose between the vocational and the educational. Both can live side by side to the greater satisfaction of employers."


On what defines AUD, President de Masi explains that it is the maintenance of high academic standards, an emphasis on innovative and critical thinking, the cultivation of curiosity and a spirit of inquiry, and the identification of the whole person as the target for human and cultural development. "These values underpin AUD`s identity and account for the success of our graduates at home and abroad, a success that figures prominently in the university`s contribution to society. The Global University Employability Ranking 2016 adds to testimony that we succeed in our mission."


According to President de Masi, the success of a higher education institution is indeed measured by employment retention rates as well as remuneration of its alumni. However, with many organizations reporting that students are not ready for the workforce, there is a need for both higher education institutions and the private sector to work towards bridging the evident skills gap. We have found that "when asked what skills they are looking for in recent graduates, employers decidedly put soft skills - for example, those possessed by good communicators, team-players and negotiators - ahead of hard skills such as technical knowledge related to a job. Importantly, these soft skills can be taught at university."


He continued on how learning to make students employment-ready happens through independent inquiry and discovery, in any of the university`s offices, through extracurricular activities, and via experiential encounters such as internships, field work and study tours. "These are all sources of growth in emotional intelligence, so key to career success."


On classroom management, President de Masi warns, "It is detrimental to conserve the belief that traditional pedagogical approaches (e.g., the lecture), in which students are passive recipients of knowledge, favor the development of the critical thinking and pro-activity in high demand by employers."


To produce the Global University Employability Ranking, an online survey was completed by two panels of participants from 20 countries across the continents including the UAE, between April and July 2016. The first panel consisted of recruiters at a management level who had experience of hiring or working with graduates. The second panel consisted of 3,450 managing directors of international companies.