To be sure, urban innovation often moves faster than the academic process. Sometimes the best way to improve a city is to dive right in, an approach that has worked well for Patrick Wee, Class of 2017. After graduation, Wee turned down a job at Goldman Sachs in London to join EMAAR in Dubai as one of the firm’s young “entrepreneurs in residence,” or what the company calls an E25 partner. EMAAR wanted young people to bring new ideas to the company, and Wee wanted an alternative to investment banking — anything that wouldn’t chain him up with “corporate due diligence and all that fun stuff.”
So far, it’s been a productive partnership. Among Wee’s first projects at EMAAR was co-founding letswork, a company marketing cafes and restaurants as co-working spaces during of-hours. A few months ago, he helped launch another venture, Ease by EMAAR, a short-term home rental company linking luxury properties to holiday goers. He’s also assisting with EMAAR strategic initiatives, like the construction of Dubai’s first fully 3D printed home.
Wee knows he’s been fortunate to have the latitude to run with his ideas. He also knows that the benefits have been mutual. “To be part of Dubai’s transformation and to help shape a city has been truly amazing,” he says.