Sia Partners launches a consulting program for UAE graduates

27 September 2021 4 min. read

Global management consulting firm Sia Partners has announced the launch of a its new graduate program in the United Arab Emirates. A discussion with partner Rafael Lemaitre about the program’s ambition and its purpose.

Why is Sia Partners launching a graduate program in the UAE?

Sia Partners has been based in the UAE for more than a decade, as such we are deeply committed with the region’s progress and development. Welcoming Emirati talent to our ranks is one of the cornerstones of our new talent strategy.

We have been planning to launch this program for quite some time, but now with the recent announcement from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum [including the ‘United Global Emirates’ talent initiative] we decided to accelerate its rollout.

Rafael Lemaitre, Partner, Sia Partners

The move builds on positive experiences we have recently gained. As part of our ongoing consulting projects, we have been working with one of the largest UAE universities to run an entrepreneurship development program, working closely with students helping them to incubate their new ventures and scaling their existing start-ups. 

While running this project, we were impressed by the diverse mix of talented youngsters, demonstrating the major appeal of the Emiratis talent base. There is enough supply of young talent with the right competencies and eagerness to build their careers, and we are looking forward to work with them on some of the industry’s most complex challenges. 

How does the graduate program align with nationalisation strategy of the UAE?

The UAE aims to increase the role of Emirati talent in the workforce, as well as ramp up the share of employees in the private sector. Although we are a boutique firm with a relatively small graduate intake, our program is aligned with and will provide a contribution to both these objectives. 

In addition, as outlined by His Excellency Ghannam Al Mazrouei, the private sector needs to work closely with the government to realise the goals. Sia Partners has a strong network in the government sector, and we will partner closely with public sector clients in making our graduate program a success.

What can graduates expect from the program? And how will they be supported in their personal and professional development?

Emirati graduates selected for the program will be offered a comprehensive development program consisting of three pillars: Bridge + Integrate + Expose. 

Bridge is the program’s skills development component. This curriculum brings graduates up to speed with the latest methodologies, tools and knowhow that they need to successfully transition from being a ‘student’ to a ‘consultant’. This track will see graduates learn on the job and achieve several internationally recognized certifications in fields such as strategy, innovation, future foresight, agile, project management, etc. 

At Sia Partners, we pride ourselves on our culture of diversity & inclusion. The Integrate track ensures that all new joiners enjoy a soft landing within Sia Partners and are fully integrated within our team, and are treated equally. This process is supported by a ‘buddy’ – a mentor that guides graduates through their integration. 

The Expose pillar revolves around (international) mobility. Graduates will rotate among projects and countries to enrich their cultural learning experience, providing them with a broader horizon and steep learning curve. 

Gaining project experience is a key element of the program, what are the type of projects Sia Partners works on in the region?

We are delivering numerous projects in strategy, innovation, transformation and artificial intelligence across the six GCC countries where we currently operate. These projects offer exciting opportunities for future high potential employees. 

Graduates that have an interest in innovation will be able to contribute to our accelerator offering. We support both corporations and government agencies with running such programs to create their next big innovations. Those seeking to work on strategy will be thrilled to find out that we work with the most senior government officials on creating policies at city and national level 

Meanwhile, when it comes to technology, we are very active in the domains of autonomous vehicles, robotics or artificial intelligence. 

Finally, what are you looking for in graduates?

Obviously, we look for the most ambitious and talented Emirati students out there. But in addition, we find it very important that our new joiners have a strong fit with our culture and key values & norms. So talent needs to have an entrepreneur spirit, an innovation-driven mindset and teamwork capabilities, as well as care for their communities and environment.