School News

Stern Solutions Experiential Learning Project Takes MBA Students to Qatar

Qatar at night
During the fall 2018 semester, a group of NYU Stern MBA students including Gabriel Ng (MBA/MPA ‘19), Su-Kyong Park (MBA ‘20) and Kinni Shah (MBA ‘19), took part in a Stern Solutions experiential learning project focused on the cost of recruiting migrant workers in Qatar.

In partnership with the Stern Center for Business and Human Rights and the Center’s Research Scholar David Segall, the students collaborated with a construction company in Qatar that has worked to ensure safeguards and welfare initiatives are in place for migrant workers.

Over the course of the semester, the students sought to understand the costs of implementing these initiatives to better inform the Center’s future advocacy work. The project included a five-day trip to Qatar, where the students conducted fieldwork and interviewed executives from the company as well as workers.

Learn more about the student experience:
  • Gabriel Ng (MBA/MPA ‘19)
    • “The chance to travel to Qatar contributed to my substantive knowledge about the human rights abuses involved in the recruitment of migrant workers. Getting to actually see the environment that the construction workers lived and worked in was eye-opening. While the research we read before the trip was certainly detailed, there was no substitute for seeing the conditions on the ground to truly gain an understanding about the context around the problem. Our interviews were also very helpful in that regard. Speaking to workers was not only deeply moving, but also gave me an insight into the differing rationales migrants had for moving to the Gulf, their views about working and living conditions, and the level of fees that they had to pay. Interviews with managers let me see the operations of the wider industry as well as the contrast between those trying to implement best practices and those who can be generously described as less than sincere.”
    • Read an excerpt from Gabriel’s daily blog while in Qatar here.
  • Su-Kyong Park (MBA ‘20)
    • “Fieldwork in Qatar was a completely new, exciting experience. The key ingredient to the success of the experience was that it was centrally a ‘work trip’ – more than 80 percent of the time spent in Qatar was solely focused on the issue of recruitment and the abuse on workers’ rights. Every hour and almost all conversation were centered on the project; this was so refreshing because the team was passionate about the work and it was an opportunity to immerse ourselves into this global human rights issue.”
    • Read an excerpt from Su-Kyong’s daily blog while in Qatar here.
  • Kinni Shah (MBA ‘19)
    • “While the entire project was a unique learning journey, my favorite part was our trip to Qatar. While there, we not only got the chance to meet different businesses (including people from international organizations), but also got to experience a completely new culture that none of the team members had never witnessed before. From a business perspective, the chance to talk to workers (as a translator), to build a comfortable environment for them to share their stories and to understand their situation was something I had never done before. It taught me the importance of empathy and hard work within a business setting, and the experience as a whole added tremendous value to my business education. From a cultural perspective, it was interesting to understand local norms (especially given the conservative nature of society there), observe social practices and learn how to adapt to a new environment in a short amount of time. Overall, I am glad the trip was included into the project because it helped make the reality of the situation more apparent than what we knew from our research.”
    • Read an excerpt from Kinni's daily blog while in Qatar here.