Cruising through the Palm’s Man Made Islands

By: Nikita Jeswani, Smith School MBA Candidate
January 10, 2018

We started the day with a visit to DP World, a container handling company with a portfolio of more than 65 marine terminals across 6 continents, and McDermott, a U.S.-headquartered engineering, procurement, construction, and installation company. DP World and McDermott are located in Dubai’s most well-known freezone, Jebel Ali. Most business conducted in the UAE requires 51% ownership by an Emirati partner. This is not the case in the freezones, making these areas an attractive opportunity for foreign investors and businesspeople.

Following lunch, we regrouped for a visit to Nakheel, one of the world’s largest privately held real-estate developers, responsible for the visionary projects, the Palm, a trilogy of man-made islands that take the shape of the palm tree – an Emirati cultural icon, and the World, a collection of private islands that form a map of the continents right off the coast of the Dubai. We got to explore the Palm first hand during a relaxing boat tour around the islands. PT-DC student Kavanaugh Livingston shared her perspective: “Without a doubt, the Nakheel vision, project, development approach is very impressive. Nakheel demonstrated that they are part of the larger UAE story of incredible growth and development in just a few short years. It is quite a great opportunity to see their projects come alive and see how they’ve grown.”

Cultural Insight

The Emirates government is highly trusted by its people, in part because of its extensive provision of support and services for Emiratis. For example, Emiratis receive fully covered healthcare and education. In the case of specialized medical needs, the government will even pay for patients (and their caregivers) to travel outside of the country for access to Western medicine. In the case of real estate, Emiratis receive a plot of plan or subsidies/interest-free loans for a housing purchase at the time of marriage, as a way to encourage Emiratis to start families and solidify their roots in the UAE.


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