Mohammed Al Barwani
Oman
Mohammed Al Barwani
  • Founder and Chairman, MB Holding Company (Oil; Gas; Mining Exploration; Diversified)
Born Ibra, Oman, October 30, 1951. B.S., Miami University, Ohio (1975); M.Eng., Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland (1980); PhD (hon.), Heriot-Watt University (2010).
“If you can invest in brands internationally, and especially brands which are exclusive, there’s always a market and there’s always demand.”

Summary

Mohammed Al Barwani is Founder and Chairman of MB Holding Company in Oman. In the interview, he discusses how he diversified his original businesses to include drilling and oil field services, exploration and production of oil and gas, mining and minerals, oilfield and marine engineering services, biotechnology, cybersecurity, hospitality, investment, insurance, and yacht manufacturing. Upon graduating from Miami University in Ohio in 1975, he went to work for Petroleum Development Oman, a subsidy of Shell. It was here that he began to outline his plans for his future career. He worked for the company for a total of ten years. The first two years he spent as a petroleum engineer on a land oil-drilling rig, and was subsequently transferred to the head office in Muscat where he worked as a petrophysicist for one year. From here, he took a brief break to pursue a master’s degree in petroleum engineering at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. Upon completion, he returned to Petroleum Development Oman, where he worked as a reservoir engineer for an additional seven years.

Al Barwani explains that he decided to leave the company and transition his career in a manner that would allow him to pursue his interest in business. The first business he started was a small construction company, which was unsuccessful. After a period of reflection, Al Barwani realized that in order to create a successful business, it had to be in an area that aligned with his education and his experience. He ultimately decided to go back to the oil and gas business. Here, he found success and established his company, which was initially called MB Trading. In this interview, Al Barwani explains the domination of the oil market in Oman by major international oil companies, the lack of local competition, gaining credibility as a company, how he was able to obtain contracts, the importance of focusing on local talent, and the challenges and risks that come along with diversification and global expansion.

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Mohammed Al Barwani is Founder and Chairman of MB Holding Company in Oman. In the interview, he discusses how he diversified his original businesses to include drilling and oil field services, exploration and production of oil and gas, mining and minerals, oilfield and marine engineering services, biotechnology, cybersecurity, hospitality, investment, insurance, and yacht manufacturing. Upon graduating from Miami University in Ohio in 1975, he went to work for Petroleum Development Oman, a subsidy of Shell. It was here that he began to outline his plans for his future career. He worked for the company for a total of ten years. The first two years he spent as a petroleum engineer on a land oil-drilling rig, and was subsequently transferred to the head office in Muscat where he worked as a petrophysicist for one year. From here, he took a brief break to pursue a master’s degree in petroleum engineering at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. Upon completion, he returned to Petroleum Development Oman, where he worked as a reservoir engineer for an additional seven years.

Al Barwani explains that he decided to leave the company and transition his career in a manner that would allow him to pursue his interest in business. The first business he started was a small construction company, which was unsuccessful. After a period of reflection, Al Barwani realized that in order to create a successful business, it had to be in an area that aligned with his education and his experience. He ultimately decided to go back to the oil and gas business. Here, he found success and established his company, which was initially called MB Trading. In this interview, Al Barwani explains the domination of the oil market in Oman by major international oil companies, the lack of local competition, gaining credibility as a company, how he was able to obtain contracts, the importance of focusing on local talent, and the challenges and risks that come along with diversification and global expansion.

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Video Clips by Topic

Diversification (1)

Mohammed Al Barwani, founder of the Oman-based diversified group MB Holding Company, discusses the diversification of his oil production and services companies into other industries ranging from biotechnology to mining, with varying degrees of success. 



Diversification (2)

Mohammed Al Barwani, founder of Oman-based diversified group MB Holding Company, discusses the diversification of his group into the yacht industry. 



Global Expansion

Mohammed Al Barwani, founder of the Oman-based diversified group MB Holding Company, discusses the origins of his group's growth beyond Oman. 



Start-Up

Mohammed Al Barwani, founder of the Oman-based diversified group MB Holding Company, shares his advice to young entrepreneurs starting a business, including the need for simplicity. 
Keywords: Oman, Start-up


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Additional Resources

Additional Resources

Interview Citation Format

Interview with Mohammed Al Barwani, interviewed by Kristin Fabbe, Muscat, Oman, December 18, 2018, Creating Emerging Markets Oral History Collection, Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School.