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Fuqua admins stay quiet on new UAE degree program

Applications are now open for a new program in the United Arab Emirates, though fundamental questions about it remain unanswered.

Applications for the two-year Master of Management Studies in Finance degree program are now being accepted, however details such as the start date of the program are unclear. The program passed through Duke’s channels of approval last Fall, and a Fuqua School of Business news release Nov. 7 indicated that enrollment would begin Spring 2012. The program has yet to begin and an exact start date has yet to be released, with several members of the Fuqua administration declining to comment on the present state of the program.

Fuqua is accepting online applications in two waves: The first round due Jan. 20 and the final deadline is March 1, according to the Fuqua website. The application and degree web page do not list a schedule for the program.

The MMS-Finance is a part-time program out of Dubai that caters to working professionals in the Middle East. It offers 13 courses on topics such as markets and financial accounting, which are similar to the course offerings in Durham’s MMS-Foundations of Business. Earning the degree will take approximately two years, with one course taught every two months for eight days. Tuition is $41,140—about $3,000 less than the Durham program.

The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees approved the new degree at its meeting Nov. 4. The executive committee—instead of the full Board—considered the proposal due to timing issues, University Secretary Richard Riddell said, noting that the executive committee has the power to approve any proposals that come before the Board. Fuqua wanted to get the program approved before December, which is when the full Board of Trustees was scheduled to meet, he said.

Riddell deferred further comment as to why the proposal could not wait for a full meeting of the Board to Fuqua Dean William Boulding. Boulding and other Fuqua administrators deferred to Chris Privett, senior public relations specialist for Fuqua.

Privett said there are no new developments to be released at this time.

Academic Council first heard the program proposal Sept. 15, and the council approved the program without dissent Oct. 20. Academic Council Chair Susan Lozier said she believed Fuqua wanted the program to be approved by the Board quickly, so it could begin Spring 2012.

“[The degree] went through without many questions,” said Lozier, also a professor of physical oceanography.

The program will be partially funded by the Securities and Commodities Authority of the UAE. The ESCA has agreed to provide facilities and operational costs up to $1,470,000 at no cost to Duke, which eliminates almost all financial risk, according to the proposal that went before Academic Council in October. ESCA plans to pay for its employees to attend the program.

When detailing ESCA’s role as a decision maker for the program, the proposal suggests that there may be plans to begin the MMS-Finance in summer 2012.

“If ESCA prefers that this program be taught in Abu Dhabi, Fuqua cannot commit to delivering the program in summer 2012 because teaching in Abu Dhabi would require re-accreditation by the UAE Ministry of Education,” the proposal states.

According to the Fuqua website, the program will be offered in Dubai, though no one from Fuqua would comment on a summer 2012 timeline.

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