GLCM with reflection

The Global Leaders in Construction Management (GLCM) is a Strategic Management Research Initiative founded at Columbia University in 2011 by Professor Ibrahim Odeh.


Every academic year the initiative nominates top eight to ten talented students from the Civil Engineering Department to join the GLCM strategic group. To be able to qualify as a GLCM candidate; as shown in the figure below, each student needs to show a combination of the following attributes: (i) outstanding academic achievements in their studies; (ii) exceptional soft skills in presenting and writing; and (iii) promising entrepreneurial and innovative problem solving skills. This highly selective criteria of the GLCM members is by nomination not by application. The faculty engaged in this initiative observe and nominate at the beginning of the academic year; approximately after 2 months, all potential rising leaders at the program. Each candidate will be then interviewed before gets a final invitation to join the GLCM initiative. The graph below highlights the overview of the typical academic year of a GLCM member.

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Major GLCM innovative components are: (a) International Trip: the GLCM go through an exceptional educational international trip during the winter break for one to two weeks. The focus of the international trip is to learn outside the campus; and the country, about top trends that are reshaping the AEC industries globally and get themselves immersed directly with global operations of signature global construction projects and companies; (b) National Trip: visiting local construction firms as well as local signature projects during both semesters to get exposed to national best management practices. During the international and national trips, the team meet top executives from international and global AEC companies and strategic management consulting firms as well as visit active construction mega projects. (c) Analysis and Trends: The GLCM group is usually engaged in highly challenging topics in the Architecture Engineering and Construction (AEC) industries where the majority of these projects are advised by industry executives from top leading AEC firms to rising startups; (d) Leadership Component: several CEOs and executives from top construction firms (as well as rising startups) meet with the students during the academic year to highlight for them top skills that are crucial to excel in the industry as potential future leaders and expand their network with high level executives.


Since its inception, the GLCM groups visited many countries such as Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Malaysia, Thailand, and India.


GLCM Academic Year


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“Such a great and rich experience! Visiting top companies, meeting their CEO’s and top engineers and having great site visits for mega project, widened my whole perspective in construction management to encompass a new aspect for globalization in our industry. Not mentioning the magnificent educational and cultural tours we had in turkey. I ‘m really glad and proud to be a member of the GLCM.”






"GLCM helped broaden my scope of knowledge on construction and gave it a global perspective. Studying the Turkish market by visiting several prestigious and brilliantly engineered projects in Istanbul was an enriching opportunity presented to us. Working with colleagues who represented several countries including India, China, Greece, Costa Rica, South Korea, Qatar, and Turkey proved to be a unique experience."





“GLCM is an exciting opportunity for first-hand experience within the Construction industry, researching the latest technological trends, and connecting with top executives from global companies around the world. This program has helped to prepare me for the limitless opportunities available for construction engineering and management professionals looking to make their mark on the world."




“I really feel proud to be a member of G.L.C.M team, the amount of rich experience it has provided us and the way it has encouraged us to think beyond our horizons has helped us to be better managers, which will be of paramount importance for our future and the future of Construction Industry.”




“The GLCM program has been a great platform to launch myself in the global construction market. It has not only added a tremendous value to my knowledge base but also has equipped me to be a global leader in a true sense.”


"The visit to Turkey has helped me a lot in understanding how the process of managing construction activities is executed in a country where the market conditions are very much different from those in America. It is an excellent example of taking advantages of the local strengths combined with brilliant management of finances which makes the Turkish Contracting Industry one of the best in the world."

Swaroop Kulkarni



“The GLCM program has been one of the most nurturing experiences I have ever had in my life. It has allowed me to acquire an in depth knowledge of the construction industry in the various developing countries of the world. I grew up in a house which specialized in building construction. The trip to Istanbul has opened my eyes to the various other realms of construction and has allowed me to reinvent myself as an engineer. The GLCM research has been a wonderful opportunity which I would have wished for and am glad I to be a part of it.”




“When I joined the Civil Engineering & Engineering Mechanics department at Columbia University, I knew I’ll acquire a great deal of knowledge and experience in the Construction Management field. But after joining the GLCM team, going to Turkey, visiting top companies, meeting their CEO’s, top engineers, and great site visits for mega projects, my whole perspective in construction management widened to encompass a new aspect for globalization in our industry. Not to mention the magnificent educational and cultural tours we had in Turkey. I ‘m really glad and proud to be a member of GLCM.”



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"The trip was extremely fruitful and exceeded my expectations in every aspect: I got the chance to observe the practices in Turkish construction industry and identified the differences with the Chinese one, despite many similarities; also did I have the privilege to network with the country’s industry leaders; finally, the trip allowed me to develop my interested research areas for the spring semester.”





“GLCM is a team that can develop my leadership and build me a global view in construction management.  The Turkey trip gave me the opportunity to meet with the top international executives at global construction project, and I really gained very substantially from this trip.”

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“The trip was an unforgettable one with an opportunity to visit the biggest construction sites, biggest companies. But the experience of meeting the BIG people sharing the ideas they used to make it BIG in the industry was unparalleled."




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“Meeting with established construction companies and developers firsthand and learning about how they overcame the challenges distinct to the Turkish market to become industry leaders was not only helpful to our research, but also to our own career development.”




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“This exciting trip including travel, site visit, reception and company visit gave me a completely different view of the construction market, project and company in Istanbul. I learnt a lot from the discussion with some senior managers, presentation by some experienced people and project site visits leaded by the project manager.”

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“From my experience of meeting numerous CEO's at the global center in Istanbul, I was able to see the bright future of the construction market and also to revisit my dream.”

“The trip to Turkey gave me a whole new perspective of International Construction. The connections and the possibility to work overseas amazed me. This trip motivates me to keep going forward and go back to my country to develop an International Market as well.”




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“As a COLUMBIA graduate, I highly recommend joining GLCM to maximize the value of your time at Columbia. GLCM helped me bridge the gap between the professional world and the academic world, and propelled me with ease and confidence straight into the construction industry.”

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Wissam Akra





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"Being in the 2015-16 GLCM family was veritably the highlight of my Columbia journey. Interacting with the 2018-19 team at the Mumbai HQ of our family business I could see in retrospect how accomplished the program has been in honing soft skills while giving it's members an international mindset on the industry and it's best practices"

"The GLCM experience was one of the highlights of my adventure as a Graduate student at Columbia University for several reasons: First, it helped me to grow & better understand strategic /business challenges within the construction industry ( thanks to several meetings/discussions with professionals & experts around the world). Then, it allowed me to challenge myself to reach insightful deliverable with great added value for the conducted research. Finally, it allowed me to build a strong and vibrant network & relationships with people across the world ( GLCM group & professionals)."

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Yasmine Oukrid


GLCM challenges and redefines your professional goals by exposing you to the most exciting and diverse projects from around the world, all the while you continue to broaden your network.




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"Being part of GLCM was the one-of-kind experience I got in Columbia Engineering. The program offered great opportunities for traveling overseas to see the international construction market. During the trip, we met with the local industry’s top leaders and visited the star projects in that area including commercial, residential and infrastructure projects as well. When we traveled back, we got involved in consulting multiple exciting projects which were directed by the top engineering and construction companies. Through the whole semester, we were able to regularly sync with Dr.Odeh and other industry experts on our projects and keep getting valuable feedback from them.  I will highly recommend the future students to join the GLCM Program, get the unique exposure, build the connections and tailor hard and soft skills for future employment!"

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Mengxi Yang


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"The GLCM program at Columbia University is a melting pot of talented students from diverse backgrounds and of international industry experts converging paths to bridge theory with practice. This initiative motivates and challenges its participants to view the construction market through the lens of emerging technologies and to link the industry's evolution to shifting global trends and demands."

" My experience with GLCM exposed me to the business side of engineering and construction; it made me realize as well as appreciate the vast importance of communication in everything we do. "

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Houssam Akra


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"Under Dr. Odeh’s vision, GLCM provides students with a valuable opportunity to conduct research on exciting new trends in the construction industry while connecting them to a global network between students, recent graduates, and professionals. Throughout the research, it also concentrates on the development of managerial skills and perspectives that give GLCM members an early edge in the beginning of their careers. More than four years after my graduation from Columbia Engineering, I continue to stay engaged with both new and old members of the GLCM community which I regard as an important privilege in an increasingly global and connected industry."

The GLCM program has allowed me to unlock the full potential of the Columbia experience. The opportunity that Dr. Odeh's GLCM program provides to prospective students is one of the highest regard, as students are exposed to a wide range of engineering and construction processes, both theoretically and physically that you cannot get just from the classroom alone. Traveling abroad and having the unique experience of meeting a multitude of professionals, both globally and area-specifically based, has given me the unique insight to the construction & engineering industry that I use each and every day in my career. I have met countless contacts that I have made both in the United States as well as overseas through the research I performed with Dr. Odeh, many of which I remain in contact with today, and the knowledge in our industry that I have gained and find most beneficial from the Columbia experience has been from this GLCM opportunity

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Nick Adamo


"GLCM has been the highlight of the CEEM program at Columbia for me. Its curriculum challenged us to think outside the box, dig for hidden corollaries in our research data, and ensured soft skill development as we presented our findings in a cogent manner to industry leaders. The network I built professionally and personally during our foreign trip and after has helped me reach where I am today. I thank Professor Odeh for this enriching experience and recommend future applicants to try getting into this rewarding program".




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Global leaders in Construction management absolutely delivers on the promise of being the interface between academia and industry. Dr.Odeh leads the organization with strategy and vision dedicated to development of the students. GLCM’s international travel, exposes students to industry trends in various countries while developing their soft skills. The research done by the team is in turn used by CEOs of major corporations, and industry leaders to define the future of the AEC industry. Being part of GLCM has been an amazing experience and I would recommend it every upcoming leader in the industry.

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Shiva Lukka


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Being part of the GLCM program helped me expand my views beyond the technical aspect of the construction industry. Traveling overseas, meeting with top leaders and being able to connect between the business and construction worlds through guided research made my experience at Columbia much more interesting and realistic!

I would say GLCM is definitely a surprising gift and an impressive highlight during my time at Columbia. I got to know more about how to develop a good research, I feel more confident to work out creative solutions when encountering challenges and obstacles, and most importantly, I made friends with a lot of wonderful GLCMers who are always helpful and we together had many unforgettable memories.

Sabrina Xiao


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