The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Club at HBS aims to strengthen the ties between MENA club members and increase awareness about the MENA region on campus. In addition, the club strives to connect MENA members with alumni and to facilitate the job search for its members. We connected with the club’s leadership to see what else prospective students should know about MENA at HBS.
Why is the MENA Club an important presence on campus?
The Middle East is a complex region with many different cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. The MENA Club’s presence on campus is crucial to representing those diverse cultures and promoting them on campus. We aim to foster a better understanding of an often misunderstood part of the world through social, educational, and cultural events, and to provide a voice for MENA members on campus.
How do you hope the MENA Club will impact students?
We hope the MENA Club helps each of its members identify ways through which they can add the most value to the region and find potential like-minded business partners at HBS to get them on board for their regional plans. In addition, we hope to create an inclusive and connected social environment, both within and beyond the HBS community. We’re very connected with other university departments and foster the opportunity for our Club members to connect with the broader society around HBS.
What activities do you organize?
We organize all sorts of activities for students and club members. This includes our 1001 Nights Party which raised $7000 for Syrian refugees and had 450 people in attendance. We also hold small group discussions about a pertinent current events topic in the Middle East. Additionally, we host Harvard Arab Weekend, the largest Arab conference in the United States with over 1300 attendees and various panels and events throughout the weekend.
How does the MENA Club assist students as they search for summer and full time employment?
We have a career rep that fields all career inquiries from firms looking to hire MBAs for the region. We then organize these opportunities and forward them to our members. We are also proactive in networking with Executive Education participants and seeking help from the HBS Leadership Initiative and the Career and Professional Development Office to connect us to business leaders who are on campus and facilitate them meeting with our members.
How do you integrate new students into the MENA Club?
We organize an opening presentation and social events each fall, we make sure that MENA members get to know each other and familiarize themselves with the different events and initiatives that the club is planning to do. Also, we encourage every new member to be part of the leadership team, hence contributing to the MENA community.
How are alumni involved with the MENA Club after graduation?
After graduation, alums get involved with the club in many ways. They can still participate in the weekly discussion groups and assist with the job search process to MENA members. Many alums also return to attend the yearly Harvard Arab Weekend conference.
What advice does the MENA Club have for prospective students?
The MBA is both a personal and professional investment. Hence, we advise prospective students to be fully committed to and convinced of their decision. Additionally, we encourage applicants to be fully themselves in the application process. It is easy to get distracted by benchmarking past applications of alums and comparing yourself. What really matters is sharing your own perspective and what you have to offer to the HBS experience.