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Middlesex University team wins Emirates Islamic ‘Innovation Challenge’


Six students from Middlesex University’s Business School have won the inaugural ‘Student Innovation Challenge’ organised by Emirates Islamic. Beating off tough competitions from more than 15 teams from leading universities across the UAE, a team of finalist students from the BA Honours Business and Marketing programme at MU earned the top spot for their innovation campaign titled ‘Scan Your Dreams’. In addition to clinching the top trophy, the winning team consisting of Mr. Abdullah Arshad Abdullah, Mr. Syed Raffay Kazim, Ms. Anum Mazhar, Mr. Sephr Amin Kharazi, Mr. Mustafa Mufaddel and Ms. Khadija Hussain, won themselves much sought-after summer internships at Emirates Islamic and a cool AED 18,000 in prize money.

The idea impressed an expert panel of judges from across Emirates Islamic’s banking divisions including Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Jamal Saeed Bin Ghalaita, as it was anchored in social media and used QR codes (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) to engage current and potential customers Emirates Islamic. The idea provided for meaningful engagement with the brand and a rewarding experience for participants.

Team leader Mr. Abdullah Arshad Abdullah, recounted the team’s experience through the two-months long competition, said “it was challenging on many fronts, with numerous late night calls and meetings for the team. Nonetheless it was incredible learning experience as we had to deal with many practical problems associated with running marketing campaigns like forecasting lead rates, conversation rates and return on investment. We also considered technical aspect of the campaign like the cost of operating the website, cost of staff needed run the campaign, feasibility, legal compliance, and whether it was keeping with the values and brand image of Emirates Islamic. There were several rounds of elimination and with each passing round we emerged with more and more self-confidence. This win is fantastic as it demonstrates the relevance of our academic learning and will look great on our CVs as we graduate in June”.

Mr. Mohammad Meraj, lecturer at Middlesex University Business School, who mentored the winning team, said he was proud of his students who defeated strong and capable competitors. “These are finalist students and naturally have significant academic commitments so close to graduation. Yet they have demonstrated tremendous drive and responsibility in addition to their ability to apply their knowledge and creative thinking to achieve success in the corporate world. At Middlesex, we encourage students to come up with innovative solutions to business problems and social media features extensively in our discussions of new marketing realities.”

Ms. Alveena Javed, Careers Office Manager  at Middlesex University Dubai, congratulated students and noted that competitions such as Emirates Islamic’s  Innovation Challenge allow students to show off their business skills in the real world and engage with future employers and industry professionals in a meaningful manner. She joined the students in thanking the staff members at Emirates Islamic for offering students this valuable opportunity and for mentoring them throughout the competition.

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