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Last Thursday, Paul MacPherson returned to Cornell for his second time as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series. Paul is the Executive Vice President of Global Business and Real Estate Development of Kerzner International in Dubai. He has lived in Dubai for 12 years and his visit was in anticipation of the Second-year Baker student’s international trek to Dubai, which will take place in just a few weeks.
As part of the Baker program’s curriculum second-year students participate in an international trek, between the fall and spring semester break, while first-year students experience a domestic trek. These treks are integral to the Baker experience, as they give students the opportunity to have on-the-ground exposure to the current movements in various real estate markets both nationally and internationally.
Each year, leaders of the program select cities that are leading in innovation and whose real estate markets are experiencing significant growth. This year’s international trek will be to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. A city that seen tremendous growth over the last two decades and has one of the most robust real estate markets in the world.
As a friend of the program, Paul came back to campus to prepare student for the experience that theywill have in the upcoming weeks. Paul has lived and worked in Dubai for the last twelve years. He currently works for Kerzner International whose most notable property is the Atlantis Hotel on the Dubai Palm Island. Prior to his time at Kerzner, he spent time at Jumeirah, one of Dubai’s premiere hospitality developers.
Paul brought an air of enthusiasm and flare and enticed students by showing them the many sites and wonders they will experience once in Dubai. During the week-long trek students will see many of the fantastic sites that Dubai has to offer such as the Palm Island and the Burj Al-Arab, the only seven-star hotel in the world. They will also be treated to an exclusive back-of-house tour, of the Burj Al-Khalifah, currently the world’s tallest building. Students will also spend time in Abu Dhabi where they will take a tour of the city which will include the Abu Dhabi Louvre and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. To cap off the week, the trek will conclude with a tour of the Atlantis, courtesy of Kerzner International.
In addition to showing students the many sites of Dubai, Paul also took them through the history of Dubai and its humble beginnings as a small pearl diving village on the Persian Gulf coast, leading up to its current status as one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. He noted how the country has flourished under the leadership of it current leader Sheikh Muhammad bin Rahid Al-Maktoum. He also expressed the regard he has for the city where he has lived with his family.
In the audience was several prospective Baker students who were on campus for the Baker Program’s Super Day, which invites students to campus to visit the program and talk to current students and faculty to see what the program has to offer those seeking a graduate experience in real estate. Many of the prospects were impressed and hopefully see these treks as one of the many things that makes the Baker program unique and separates it from out other graduate real estate programs.
All year, the second-year students have been looking forward to the Dubai trip and not just for a chance to escape the winter weather of Ithaca. But rather to experience one the world’s most exciting cities. And after Paul’s visit, they are even more excited. Be on the lookout for exciting stories from their excursion, as well stories from the first-year Baker students who will be visiting Seattle in January.