Dear friends and colleagues of the AUB community,
Graduate jobs, jobs, jobs?
No one who graduated a decade ago or more envies the predicament of today's university students, whose attainment of a first-rate university degree may no longer plot a path to employment and the possibility, even likelihood, of future prosperity. Yet in these challenging economic times, we can all deeply admire the buoyancy of our graduating classes, whose endeavors to find work—or fashion their own career—have resulted in AUB's consistent positioning among the world's best in
graduate employability rankings.
This spirit shone through at this year's pulsating
Job Fair organized by the
Office of Student Affairs Career Hub. Recruiters put up more than double the vacancies of last year, as the organizers tightened qualifying criteria for participating companies and focused on raising the quality of their offerings. Meanwhile, students received fun incentives to overcome any shyness and talk to more recruiters among the 120 booths lining upper campus. Such conversations are not-to-be-missed opportunities to shine in front of recruiters and HR managers from leading-edge commercial enterprises, enabling them to discover quite how attractive AUB's educational package makes our remarkable students to potential employers.
Recruiters tell us their interest in AUB stretches much further than exam scores on paper. They know our graduates will also have considerable soft skills such as adapting to new circumstances, a positive mindset towards learning new knowledge, comfort in diverse global settings, with strong communication skills and coherent, consistent ethics. Recruiters' eyes really light up when approached by students who have been building their skills portfolio through co-curricular activities here such as club membership, volunteering, cultural pursuits, or sport. And it is not just students, but all AUB alumni who are being targeted these days. It was superb to see mid-career professionals looking for a better fit or new direction among the graduate and undergraduate students. People are often surprised to hear that the Career hub has time, resources (including a
full list of vacancies ), and advice available to alumni as well as current students.
The hub is brimming with ideas to get everyone on track for their perfect career. As director Melina Harb is at pains to stress, job hunting takes time and job seekers should curb their frustration if the months pass without them walking into a position. Most important is to take the time to find something you enjoy doing, in an organizational culture that suits your personality and aspirations. And there are many tactical approaches that can lead to success. Keep honing your skills and market yourself in a way that makes potential employers feel a special connection to you. Harness the available technology and show your creativity; have you considered a digital video presentation to showcase your resume or set out why you are the perfect candidate for your dream job? The bottom line is, aim high, be patient, and good luck!
World-class medical education
Our relationship with doctors is very special, founded on trust in deeply ingrained characteristics that blend expertise, judgment, and compassion. It all starts with the transformative construct that is medical education, which AUB offers to the very highest global specifications. We saw this on
Match Day 2019, an annual event when the National Resident Matching Program announces the results of medical graduates' applications to residency and fellowship training positions throughout the US.
Three-quarters of AUB's residency applicants were matched with top-ranked medical centers, considerably higher than international averages. Two graduates were accepted onto America's number one internal medicine residency program, the
Osler Medical Training Program at Johns Hopkins—the only successful Osler program applicants educated outside US medical schools. Two other students matched in the highly competitive orthopedic and general surgery programs at the same university. This is not to mention those who gained residencies at Harvard, Washington University at St. Louis, NYU, Duke, Pittsburgh, Indiana University, Mt. Sinai, and a host of other leading US universities—a unique outcome for international medical schools that puts our graduates among the highest echelons of residency interns.
What is it that places such a valuable premium on AUB's medical education? Of course, we select the highest achievers, with average GPA or MCAT scores on a par with the top 30 US medical schools—but that does not happen by accident. Each new cohort understands they are the successors to an outstanding legacy of AUB graduates who have reached the top of their profession, including many in leadership positions at major US medical schools. Our
Faculty of Medicine (FM) was only the second in history after Harvard to introduce a four-year medical degree that is now the standard US model and for 152 years this university has fostered the transfer of medical knowledge from one generation to the next with extraordinary results.
In the last decade, after a period of post-war recovery, medical education has been in resurgence at AUB thanks to the vision and strategic support reaching from the Board of Trustees and donors, through to the senior administration and medical faculty. You see the fruits of this in more than 200 outstanding medical faculty who have been “repatriated" to Lebanon, as well as the infusion of investment in people, buildings, and infrastructure under the
AUBMC 2020 Vision.
Specific to medical education this year, on the undergraduate side FM
has become the first Lebanese medical school to receive
World Federation for Medical Education accreditation from the Association for Evaluation and Accreditation of Medical Education Programs, a necessary step for international MD graduates to qualify for certification from the US
Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. On the graduate side, the AUB Medical Center was the first in Lebanon and among only a handful of international institutions to be accredited in all 20 of its clinical programs by the US-based
Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education–International (ACGME-I), allowing our resident graduates to apply directly to advanced (fellowship) training programs in the US. Topping a remarkable year of achievement, Associate Dean for Medical Education Kamal F. Badr received ACGME's 2019
international physician award in recognition for his efforts supporting accreditation in this field. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Badr, the graduates, and everyone who contributed to these exceptional results.
Standing with our Palestinian scholars
As many of you know, students from the West Bank and Gaza attending AUB under the US State Department's
Middle East Partnership Initiative–Tomorrow's Leaders (MEPI–TL) program were informed in early January that they would no longer be eligible for their scholarships at the end of the month. It was made clear to us by our partners at the US embassy that the withdrawal was required as an unintended and regrettable consequence of a change in anti-terrorism legislation in Congress last year.
You can imagine how distraught these bright, talented, and dynamic Palestinian students felt—some at the beginning of their AUB journey, some on the threshold of graduation—when they heard this news. It was a potentially disastrous blow to them, their families, and their futures. As soon as we became aware of the situation, Provost Harajli, Vice President Baalbaki, and I resolved not to let these students fall by the wayside, and we made a firm commitment to find the money needed for them to continue their studies at AUB until graduation.
I sent a
message to AUB alumni and friends on January 24 setting out the situation and seeking their help. I explained the need to raise $1.2 million to ensure no Palestinian MEPI-TL student would be left behind without redirecting any of our already considerable financial aid commitments from other deserving and disadvantaged students.
The response to my message was immediate and generous. We were heartened to hear from many of you on email and social media endorsing the stand AUB had adopted. We also received a great number of financial contributions—both large and small. I am delighted to report that we have now advised the students the necessary funds have been secured, in fact exceeded, for them to continue to receive the full package of tuition, co-curricular activities, accommodation, and travel that the US government provides in its generous scholarship programs.
This episode has left me feeling a powerful sense of the environment in which we operate at AUB and how our community invariably responds. All too often, we are confronted with unexpected trials and threats, but the AUB family never fails to cohere and with determination overcome the challenge, embracing our mission to endow our students with a more abundant AUB life.
Fadlo R. Khuri, MD