The Role of An Online MBA in Driving Innovation and Growth in The GCC Region

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The region’s economy is transitioning from oil-based to knowledge-based, which requires a new set of skills from its leaders. Online MBAs offer professionals the flexibility they require to upskill and upgrade their knowledge at a pace that is suitable to them, while juggling with professional and personal responsibilities. Moreover, online education platforms offer GCC nationals as well as expats based in the GCC region, an opportunity to connect with professionals across the globe and study in a virtual classroom with students from hundreds of nationalities.

The GCC region’s economy is complex and dynamic due to its multicultural environment, as well as socio-economic and geopolitical placement. This can make the decision-making process challenging. Students must learn to analyse data, consider multiple perspectives, and make informed decisions that will benefit their organizations and the region. Online MBA programs teach students these skills by exposing them to real-world business problems and providing them with opportunities to practice decision making.


An online MBA can significantly drive innovation and growth in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region. Here are some data points and insights that support this claim:

1. The availability of online MBA programs in the GCC region: The number of online MBA programs available in the GCC region has been increasing in recent years. For instance, according to a QS World University Rankings report, the number of online MBA programs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region increased from 30 in 2014 to 50 in 2021 (QS World University Rankings: MENA, 2021).

You may learn more about some of the Top 15 Online MBA in UAE.

2. Enrollment in online MBA programs in the GCC region: The number of students enrolling in online MBA programs in the GCC region has also been on the rise. , reported a 20% increase in its online MBA program enrollment in 2020 compared to the previous year (Al Faisal, 2020).

3. The impact of online MBA programs on entrepreneurship in the GCC region: Online MBA programs can help foster entrepreneurship in the GCC region. For example, according to a survey by the Higher Education Accreditation Commission in Bahrain, 10% of online MBA graduates in Bahrain started their own businesses (Rashid & Almalki, 2020).

4. The growth rate of startups in the GCC region: The GCC region has been witnessing a steady growth of startups in recent years. For example, according to a report by Magnitt, a startup data platform, the number of startups deals in the GCC region increased from 342 in 2016 to 496 in 2019, indicating a 45% increase in just three years (Magnitt, 2020).

5. The industries with the highest demand for skilled professionals in the GCC region: According to a report by Gulf Business, the industries with the highest demand for skilled professionals in the GCC region are healthcare, information technology, and finance (Mohammed, 2021). Most of these have adopted to online means of education.

6. The projected growth rate of the GCC region’s economy: According to a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the GCC region’s economy is expected to grow by 3.1% in 2022 (International Monetary Fund, 2021).

In conclusion, an online MBA program can play a vital role in driving innovation and growth in the GCC region. However, to have a meaningful impact, these programs must remain centered on building better leaders and decision-makers. By developing these skills, online MBA graduates can contribute to the region’s economic development and help shape its future. Westford Uni Online strives to do just that by offering UK quality education and globally recognised MBA degrees.

You may also be interested in reading: Top 15 Online MBA in UAE


Al Faisal, A. (2020, November 26). The University of Dubai reports a 20% increase in online MBA enrolments. The National. 

International Monetary Fund. (2021). World Economic Outlook, October 2021: A long and difficult ascent. 

Magnitt. (2020). MENA Venture Investment Report 2019. 

Mohammed, S. (2021, January 12). The GCC’s most in-demand professions. Gulf Business.

QS World University Rankings: MENA. (2021). Top Online MBA Programs in Middle East and North Africa.

Rashid, H. S., & Almalki, A. M. (2020). The impact of an online MBA program on entrepreneurship in Bahrain. Journal of Entrepreneurship Education, 23(2), 1-8.

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