CHICAGO — One of Qatar’s leading entrepreneurs, Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani, chairman and CEO of Al Faisal Holding, is working with DePaul University to bring specialized MBA degrees to his country in preparation for the 2022 Soccer World Cup.
“Al Faisal Holding, in view of Qatar’s upcoming hosting of the Soccer World Cup in 2022, believes that Qatar needs to create capacity in middle management in the area of sports management and hospitality management and that there is a market for graduate offerings in these areas,” said GianMario Besana, associate vice president for Academic Affairs at DePaul in Chicago.
In a visit to DePaul this past spring, Sheikh Faisal signed an initial “heads of agreement” with Patricia O'Donoghue, vice president of Strategic Initiatives and Alumni Outreach. At the time, O’Donoghue was serving as interim provost. The initial plans called for bringing DePaul’s MBA program with concentrations in Hospitality Leadership and Sports Management to Qatar’s capital city, Doha.
Offered through DePaul’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, those plans have been expanded to now also include MBAs with concentrations in Banking and Revenue Management, and will be using a model similar to the DePaul program in Bahrain, in collaboration with Stenden University Qatar.
“We are very excited by the possibilities of cooperation between DePaul and the Al Faisal group,” Besana said. “We are looking forward to finalizing plans to bring our MBA to Qatar and to work together on other projects that could open up opportunities for DePaul’s students and faculty members.”
In addition to Sheikh Faisal, members of the delegation who visited DePaul included his sons, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Faisal Al Thani and Sheikh Turki Bin Faisal Al Thani; his daughter, Sheikha Maha Faisal Al Thani; and Tarek M. El Sayed, Group CFO for Al Faisal Holding. The delegation toured the Driehaus College of Business and met with Dean Ray Whittington.
Sheikh Faisal, who has an interest in artistic artifacts conservation, also toured the DePaul Art Museum on the Lincoln Park Campus and met with the director, Louise Lincoln, and the museum’s staff.
Additional visits to Chicago are planned, including one this fall when Sheikh Faisal plans to meet with the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president of DePaul University.
Al Faisal Holding owns, among other business, more than 18 large hotels around the world. In 2012, a subsidiary of Al Faisal Holding, Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company, or ARTIC, entered into a strategic partnership with Magellan Development Group and Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group to purchase the Chicago Radisson Blu. The founder and co-CEO of Magellan, Joel M. Carlins, received his law degree from DePaul.