Coronavirus: Exclusive Saudi Arabian university fellowship adapts to online training

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College classes and internships have shifted to online platforms due to the coronavirus pandemic, and an exclusive fellowship for university students in Saudi Arabia is also adapting to the crisis.

Fifty Saudi Arabian university students were welcomed on Wednesday into the Qimam Fellowship, which provides its fellows with one-on-one mentorship with senior public and private sector leaders in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


The students are the third fellowship cohort for Qimam, which was founded in 2018 by McKinsey & Company and Dr. Annas Abedin, a McKinsey alumnus and entrepreneur.

The exclusive fellowship, which this year had a .29 percent acceptance rate, previously paired up students with leading executives for in-person meetings and office visits at leading companies. The program is now holding its mentorship sessions online, with virtual visits to the offices.

Dr. Abedin said that Qimam’s mission to identify and support talent to change the Middle East for the better will not be deterred by COVID-19.

The graduation of 2019 Qimam fellows. (Supplied)
The graduation of 2019 Qimam fellows. (Supplied)

“This mission is today more important than it has ever been, which is why we have been keen to continue with this effort despite all obstacles,” said Dr. Abedin.

The fellowship comes at the perfect time as young leaders think about their own futures and their potential to make a difference “in a world presented with so many new normals,” according to Abdullah Saidan, an associated partner at McKinsey & Company, which funds Qimam.

“With unprecedented disruption comes opportunity to help young people shape a different future,” he said.

Al Arabiya is an official partner of Qimam.

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