Insights from GESS Dubal exhibition

In this blog post we will discuss the outcomes and lessons learned from our second business trip to the UAE. We attended the GESS Dubai 2022 event for the first time in collaboration with two partner institutions, Metropolia UAS and Satakunta UAS as well as Edufinlandia, our common partner representing us in the Middle Eastern market. During this trip, we also visited 5 different high schools in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ajman in order to promote VAMK and Vaasa area as a study destination.

TEXT | Annika Hissa and Sirpa Rutanen
VAMK & Edufinlandia in a high school visit in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Train the trainers model arouses interest  

The exhibition was a 3 –day event and our stand attracted attention from the first day. Finland’s reputation as the top provider of education was well known among many visitors. Our core offering included tailored short courses to enhance the future worklife potential in a creative way. We had built concepts for education in themes like design thinking in education; service design; soft skills; creativity; entrepreneurial mindset and gamification. Especially design thinking in education and gamification aroused much interest. Many guests stopped to talk with us about our offering and future co-operation possibilities.  

The outcomes of GESS Dubai 2022 have led in our case to one offer only one week after our return to Finland.  Furthermore, we are working on several potential leads received during the event. The train the trainers model created much interest also, as the students in many countries have to be teached in their own language. In these cases, we train the trainers to keep the courses themselves. This means a somewhat different angle in the education and demands more in depth knowledge and mindset from both parties. We got many leads and also invitations to visit schools in many countries, eg. Kenya, India and Mongolia. 

Emphasis on building the business relationship  

In many international markets, the relationships matter more than the deals. This is also the case in the Gulf area. Building trustworthy collaboration requires time, effort and mutual trust.  So it is worth to invest time in building both personal as well as a professional relationship.  This may require lunches, teas and several face-to-face meetings.   

Guided by our partner Edufinlandia, our aim is always to keep our presentations short but accurate. Finding a wow factor to sell is the key.  We also believe that impressing your customers by treating them the way you would want to be treated is vital. Listen actively, talk less and remain always open for dialogue. The rest will follow.   

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