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International Company Directors Course, Abu Dhabi – a director perspective

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Kirstin Ferguson

I am a non-executive director on a diverse range of boards and was fortunate enough to be awarded the Talbot Foundation Scholarship by AICD Queenslandin2012. This scholarship provided me with the opportunity to attend the AICD International Company Directors Course which I have just completed in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Simply attending an international governance course outside of the country you reside in, wherever that might be, reminds you explicitly of the importance of being a director in the global context. The five day long International CDC was a brilliant experience and one that provided me with the ability to further expand my professional development as a director alongside an incredibly diverse group of professionals. While all of the participants on my course were Australian, very few still resided in Australia. The expat participants were working in locations as diverse as Singapore, Dubai, Stockholm, Abu Dhabi and Australia. This meant that the anecdotes we were able to share during the course were incredibly relevant and brought to light issues of operating across countries and cultures which were invaluable.

I am fortunate to have graduated from the traditional Company Directors Course in Australia as well as now having graduated from the International version in Abu Dhabi. What I appreciated about the International version were modules such as Strategy, and also Risk, which were addressed almost entirely in their international context. This enhanced the ability to work on case studies that went well beyond the Australian context. In addition, having such a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences amongst participants also provided the course with greater insight into the impact of culture on board dynamics, contract negotiations, assessment of risk and the impact of social licence, to name a few.

I thoroughly recommend the International CDC to any future or current director who is looking to further their professional development. The course is of the highest quality with facilitators who are able to engage all course members in the material they have to share. If you are operating in the international environment, this course will equip you very well for the often challenging  waters you are sure to navigate as a director working across the globe.

I am sincerely grateful to the AICD in Queensland and the Talbot Foundation for providing me with this professional development opportunity and learning experience.

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