Patron of Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi

BNP Paribas is also a major patron of the Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, helping to found and fund Les Amis de la Sorbonne , an association that helps students in the Middle East to benefit from one of the most prestigious universities and gain an international degree.

Paris-Sorbonne Abu Dhabi is an Emirati university that benefits from the 760 years of experience of the prestigious Sorbonne, with a state-of-the-art campus located on Abu Dhabi s Al Reem Island. The university offers world-class degrees, both in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, following the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) and also accredited by the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Research.

Granted the exceptional patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Les Amis de la Sorbonne contributes scholarship funding, promotes research, organises seminars by visiting lecturers, and supports the cultural initiatives of the Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi. It also plays a major role by arranging internships for students, facilitating the transition of graduates into the professional world.

First fruits of the Graduate Development Programme

One success story of the Graduate Development Programme launched in 2004 is that of Shaima Al Sairafi. This interview with Shaima was published in Gulf Kalam in June 2004.

Shaima, what was your first encounter with the Bank? Shaima: Well, I first joined BNP Paribas in July 2002, when I was offered a summer apprenticeship through the University of Bahrain. This apprenticeship is normally for a period of two months, but I eventually stayed for three one month with the Finance Department and the other two months with Regional Trade Services.

What made you do this apprenticeship rather than enjoying the summer holiday with your friends? Shaima: Curiosity! The university course I was doing had so far been rather theoretical and I wanted to see things for real. Real life is different. When I first heard about reconciliations , I thought it looked really complicated. Practice taught me that things are much easier to understand when you actually do them.

So you have already experienced two different departments. Which job do you prefer? Shaima: I liked both of them for different reasons, but I preferred Trade Services. However that is merely a matter of personal interest.

Then you went back to finish your studies, but we managed to get you back again just one year later. Shaima: I was just finishing my last days of exams for my BSc in Banking and Finance when I received a phone call from Maggie Martin offering me a position in the regional Banking Operations Department. So, since I d always wanted to work for a bank, it was just one day after finishing my exams that I began my career with BNP Paribas.

Any particular reason for deciding to work for BNP Paribas? Shaima: Yes, to first obtain first-hand experience. It s always easier to look for another job if you re in a working position. During the first six months I also sent my CV to other banks, and I even received a job offer as a trainee trader at the Stock Exchange.

Why did you decide to stay with us? Shaima: Because I consider that BNP Paribas is a sound bank, if you look for example at the Graduate Development Programme. This type of programme is important since a lot of Bahraini students are not recruited by other companies due to a lack of experience. So it s very important to get chances like these. I also like the multicultural environment.

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