After building a healthcare empire in the U.A.E., Abu Dhabi-based Indian billionaire B. R. Shetty is entering the region’s lucrative higher education sector. This week, Shetty’s BRS Ventures inked a deal with Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA)—one of the top-ranked management schools in India—to establish the first IIMA extension center in Dubai.
The new center will offer all the academic and training expertise while BRS Ventures will be responsible for the infrastructure, logistics and industry links. New IIMA will add on to a crowded education sector in the U.A.E. and particularly Dubai. The emirate is home to the satellite campuses of many international B-school giants like UOWD, London Business School, CASS Business Schools and SP Jain School of Global Management while the neighboring Abu Dhabi houses campuses of NYU, INSEAD Abu Dhabi and Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi.
One of the most competitive B-schools in India, IIMA sees millions of aspiring students attempting to get an admission every year. Last year just 115 students were accepted into its prestigious Post graduate program in management for executives. IIMA was established by the government of India and Gujarat in 1961 in partnership with Harvard Business School. It counts former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan, Ajaypal Singh Banga, President and CEO of Mastercard, Sanjeev Chadha, Chairman, Asia, Middle East and North Africa of PepsiCo and popular writer Chetan Bhagat among its alumni.
IIMA’s Dubai campus will start with shorter programs but has plans to expand its programs later, BRS Ventures has indicated. The company has also said that graduating students from the institution would be given preference across BRS Ventures’ diversified operations when longer programs are launched.
BRS Ventures already operates within the K-12 education segment in the U.A.E. with schools such as Sara Nursery, Deira Private School, Bright Riders School and BR Academy in India. With IIMA Dubai BRS Ventures has entered the region’s burgeoning higher education market. A 2016 PwC report showed that around 42,000 additional seats will be required by 2020 in higher education within the U.A.E. due to the increasing tertiary enrolment rate in the country. In 2016, 62 higher education providers in Dubai had a combined enrolment of 60,300 students, which included including 33,600 foreign nationals, according to ICEF Monitor.
Healthcare tycoon Shetty, 76 is the founder and non-executive chairman of London-listed NMC Healthcare. Forbes calculates his net worth at $3 billion. He is also featured on our Top 100 Indian Business Leaders In The Arab World.