News & Highlights

  • April 2021

Virtual Event with Professor Ashley Whillans

On April 6th, in collaboration with the HBS Clubs of the GCC, Egypt, Lebanon, the MENA Research Center virtually hosted Professor Ashley Whillans, Assistant Professor of Business Administration. Professor Whillans shared her research findings from her recent book Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time and Live a Happier Life. She talked about the causes and consequences of time poverty and touched upon the six research-based strategies for managing the minutes on the clock, all with the ultimate goal of enjoying both work and personal time. More than 150 alumni and friends of HBS attended the webinar.
  • April 2021

Book Release Event - Glass Half–Broken: Shattering the Barriers That Still Hold Women Back at Work

On April 21st, HBS Club of GCC and MENA Research Center held a virtual event with Colleen Ammerman, Director of the Gender Initiative at Harvard Business School on her new book, Glass Half-Broken, with Professor Boris Groysberg . The event was hosted by Raja Al Mazrouei (HBS AMP 2014), Executive Vice President of Fintech Hive at DIFC. Ammerman discussed why the gender gap still persists and what organizational and managerial strategies are designed to weaken and ultimately break down these barriers. Al Mazrouei also shared her perspective on the challenges women are facing in the Gulf and what organizations are doing to reduce barriers to gender equality in the workplace in the region. Around 40 alumni and friends of HBS attended the webinar.
  • JANUARY 2021

Virtual Discussion with Professor Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury

On January 12th, the MENA Research Center virtually welcomed, Raj Choudhury, Lumry Family Associate Professor of Business Administration. Professor Choudhury discussed how to deal with today’s challenges and prepare organizations for the post COVID-19 era. The event gathered around 100 alumni and friends of HBS.
  • DECEMBER 2020

MBA Webinar Series with Current Students and Alumni in the Middle East and North Africa Region

In December 2020, HBS MENA Research Center hosted panels with fellow alumni and current students who shared their MBA experiences. The virtual panels gathered over 300 prospective students from Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, North Africa, and the Gulf Region, and Eileen Chang, a member of the MBA Admissions Board, shared about the MBA program.
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  • 08 OCT 2020
MENA Research Center Managing During the Pandemic
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  • 08 OCT 2020
Being HBS-Affiliated During the Pandemic

New Research on the Region

  • April 2021
  • Case

Borusan CAT: Monetizing Prediction in the Age of AI (A)

By: Navid Mojir and Gamze Yucaoglu

Borusan Cat is an international distributor of Caterpillar heavy machines. Esra Durgun (Director of Strategy, Digitization, and Innovation) and Ozgur Gunaydin (CEO) seem to have bet their careers on developing Muneccim, a new predictive technology that is designed to reduce downtime of heavy construction machines that Borusan Cat sells. While they have been able to manage to develop the technology to a level that beats any human expert in predicting machine failures, they still have not been able to find a way to monetize the technology. After spending a few years and millions of dollars developing the technology, they are both under pressure from Borusan Group, Borusan Cat’s holding company, to show monetary results. Sales have been declining due to the economic downturn in Turkey, and the Company has been losing market share to their strong domestic competitors. Gunaydin and Durgun must decide about their monetization strategy for Muneccim and pick which segment of the market they want to target with this technology.

  • March 2021
  • Case

Cedar Environmental: Innovation vs. Corruption in Lebanon?

By: Nien-hê Hsieh and Youssef Abdel Aal

The case follows Ziad Abi Chaker, founder and CEO of Cedar Environmental, an environmental engineering company in Lebanon, as he weighs his options for how to grow the company despite facing barriers to growth, most notably the prevalent public corruption in his industry which he refused to participate in. Abi Chaker had established Cedar Environmental soon after the Lebanese Civil War with a vision of introducing a “Zero-Waste” concept to Lebanon by building and selling recycling plants, which used his proprietary dynamic composting technique, to local municipalities. But he soon found the public sector lacking the capacity to manage these plants as he envisioned. In parallel, Abi Chaker continued his research and development by developing new innovative products, most notably Eco-boards, a multipurpose building material made out of recycled plastics. In 2015, Lebanon suffered from a severe garbage crisis as the main waste collection companies had stopped collecting household waste, leading to country-wide protests. Seeing an opportunity, Abi Chaker aimed to shift his business model to run his plants and charge the municipality for the service, instead of selling them the plant and let them run it. While he launched a successful pilot, this model was fraught with other challenges, most notably finding the right municipality to partner with. Meanwhile, an opportunity presented itself to take his business abroad but might require moving his operations to that country. As his home country’s economic and social stability were under increasing pressure, he needed to decide on the future direction of the company. Should he remain in Lebanon, despite the challenges, to fulfill his dream of a “Zero-Waste” Lebanon or should he focus on growing the company and use his innovations to help other countries manage their municipal waste?

  • March 2021
  • Teaching Material

Snapp: Scaling Under Sanctions in Iran (B)

By: Meg Rithmire and Gamze Yucaoglu

The case opens in November 2020 as Eyad Alkassar and Mahmoud Fouz, co-founders of Iran’s first and leading ride-hailing platform, Snapp, eagerly await the results of the U.S. presidential elections. The case takes us through the challenging times between November 2019 and November 2020, as the confounders navigated Snapp through an increasingly challenging environment of sanctions, stricter restrictions of big tech companies, and since February 2020, through the operational difficulties exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic that shook Iran to its core. The case highlights the challenges of operating under sanctions and the different ways the co-founders try to find to keep Snapp alive and asks how the U.S. election results could change the environment in which Snapp operates, as the two presidential candidates have vastly different approaches to their policy to Iran.

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Istanbul Staff

Esel Çekin
Executive Director
Youssef Abdel Aal
Research Associate
Yasemin Çağlar
Educational Programs Manager
Zeynep Mağgönül
Office Manager
Gamze Yücaoğlu
Associate Director, Research

Dubai Staff

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Associate Director, Dubai
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