The Qimam Fellowship program was founded by McKinsey and Dr. Annas Abedin. Abedin is a McKinsey alumnus who sought to refute the narrative that there is a talent shortage in Saudi Arabia. To Abedin, who was raised in Germany, it was very clear that his friends and family raised in Saudi Arabia lacked the opportunities and exposure he had early on. Having experience at world-class institutions, like Harvard or McKinsey, on your résumé—that didn’t exist in the Middle East,” he notes. So he decided to create a fellowship to nurture young people and provide these opportunities.
Given McKinsey’s long history of designing leadership-training programs and developing talent, and its commitment to the Kingdom, the Firm was keen to make Qimam a reality. Tom Isherwood, a partner based in Dubai, underscored the criticality of identifying and empowering young talent, from all corners of the Kingdom. “Qimam offered a way to broaden access to opportunities, to include those who may not come from the wealthiest families or the best schools. There’s tremendous talent here, but it’s not always where you expect it to be.”
In its fifth year, 40 multinational and national organizations in Saudi Arabia support the program in addition to more than 300 leading executives from the public and private sector.
Qimam aims to identify, develop, and empower the most promising and distinguished university students in and from Saudi Arabia to achieve their full potential. Following a rigorous application and selection process, Qimam fellows participate in an intensive training program. The program includes the following:
- one-on-one mentoring sessions with senior leaders from industry or government
- visits to leading private- and public-sector organizations
- leadership-training sessions
- networking and team-building exercises to encourage long-term collaboration and partnership among Qimam fellows
- access to career opportunities and job postings through the Qimam network
In it's fifth year, the program would have graduated 250 Qimam fellows. Some 80,000 students applied. Hailing from diverse backgrounds and fields of study, the fellows represent some of the most promising leadership talent in Saudi Arabia. Armed with leadership skills, strong mentors, and a broad network, the Qimam partners hope that this generation will put the talent myth to rest and help lead the Kingdom into the future.