Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Two data points for Kapil Sibal

  1. Michigan State University shuts down its UG program at its Dubai campus.

    Any followers would do well to learn from Michigan State’s combination of ambition, mistakes and misfortune. After just two years of operation, MSU Dubai has moved to immediately discontinue its undergraduate programs due to under-enrollment. That just 85 students are affected is testament to the extent of the institution’s struggle.

  2. The New York University's Abu Dhabi campus opens this fall with an in-coming class of 150 students.

    ... NYU Abu Dhabi, by far the most ambitious overseas branch campus to be launched by a U.S. university, opens this fall, and today announced the profile of its inaugural freshman class. More than a third (36 percent) of the 150 incoming students hail from the United States, which is the single largest country of origin, followed by the host country, the United Arab Emirates (8 percent), and China (6 percent).

    All told, the students come from 39 countries and their median SAT score is an impressive 1470 -- as befitting an institution that has already dubbed itself the “World’s Honors College.” The acceptance rate for students at NYU Abu Dhabi, of just 2.1 percent, compares to 29.4 percent (fall 2009 data) at NYU’s main campus in New York and makes it among the most selective undergraduate institutions in the world.

This is a good place to remind ourselves (once again) about the pre-history of NYU's Abu Dhabi campus:

When John Sexton, the president of New York University, first met Omar Saif Ghobash, an investor trying to entice him to open a branch campus in the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Sexton was not sure what to make of the proposal — so he asked for a $50 million gift.

It’s like earnest money: if you’re a $50 million donor, I’ll take you seriously,” Mr. Sexton said. “It’s a way to test their bona fides.” In the end, the money materialized from the government of Abu Dhabi, one of the seven emirates.