Company: The University of Manchester
Designation: Director – Middle East
Randa Bessiso has spent much of her career working on market entry strategies, company start-ups and channel development programmes, and building profitable regional businesses and brands. She has more than 25 years of experience in business education and is the founding director of The University of Manchester Middle East Centre.
Bessiso has been recognised among the 100 Most Powerful Arab Businesswomen/Middle East 100 Most Influential Women by Forbes Middle East, from 2014-2018, in recognition of her work in building the Middle East Centre into the largest and fastest growing in the university’s international network – and a UK higher education success story. She was also named among the 30 Most Influential Women in the Arab World by Arabian Business in 2019.
Bessiso was instrumental in planning and establishing the Middle East Centre, which opened in Dubai in 2006. She is responsible for the overall management, operations, strategic planning and business development of the university in the Middle East.
Today, the Middle East Centre has supported more than 2,500 global part-time MBA students in the region, making it one of the largest professional communities of its kind in the Middle East region. The University of Manchester was the winner of the Best MBA Programme award at the inaugural Forbes Middle East Higher Education Awards in 2019.
Bessiso has overseen the development of the Middle East team and the launch of a range of educational products, services and initiatives including the Manchester Innovation Award for Emiratis.
She has also played a central role in establishing the Middle East Alumni Association, and built a wide range of collaborations with organisations and professional bodies including IMA, ACCA, CIMA, CIPD, Dubai Police, Dubai SME, GM, Philips, Aon and Dubai Technology Partners. She is also chair of the UAE-UK Business Council’s Higher Education Group.
Bessiso is a regular media commentator and speaker at executive forums in the UAE on her special area of interest – women in business.