Saudi Aramco Partnership

Posted on: September 21, 2012

Saudi AramcoToday, I returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia where we kicked off our academic partnership with Saudi Aramco, one of the largest oil companies in the world. Our college was chosen over other prestigious U.S. university communication programs to provide a three-year advanced PR and communication certification program to Saudi Aramco professionals.

The program's objective is to focus on building analytical and strategic communication abilities, as well as providing practical applications of advanced communication skills necessary in the new media marketplace. We launched this hybrid program over the past two weeks in Saudi Arabia. CAS faculty joining me on the "travel team" were Janet Lillie and Vernon Miller.

In addition to kicking off the partnership, we provided more than a week of onsite training covering an array of topics ranging from negotiation skills to social media. Next week, the inaugural cohort of participants will begin the first of six online modules followed by a concluding onsite week of face-to-face training scheduled for January (which will be a much better time for weather). The program is a wonderful opportunity for CAS to partner with a complex global corporation in the Middle East. 

As my first trip to an Arab state, it was quite eye opening. The professionals from Saudi Aramco were impressive in many ways. The cultural differences, while significant in many ways, do not supersede the recognition that communication is the foundation for corporate success. The dean of a communication college can certainly appreciate the corporate insight in pursuing this priority.

We did leave a little MSU spirit in Saudi Arabia. By the time we left, the participants cheered, "Go White" whenever they heard a "Go Green." Though a fascinating trip, it is always a joy to return to the beauty of MSU.

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