News & Highlights

  • April 2022
  • Case Centennial

HBS Case Centennial Celebration: Untold Stories of Entrepreneurs from the Middle East

The MENA region has produced a multitude of entrepreneurial successes, including several unicorns. Over the years, the MENA Research Center has had the honor to turn some of these success stories, many featuring female protagonists, into HBS case studies. In the first part of this video series; Katherine B. Coffman, Associate Professor of Business Administration, talks about her experience with the BulkWhiz: Negotiating as a Startup Founder in the UAE case and Shikhar Ghosh, Professor of Management Practice in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit speaks about what made Instabeat—One More Lap? a great case for students.

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In the second part; Barbaros Özbugutu, Co-Founder and CEO of Iyzico, and Mikhail Lomtadze (MBA 2002), CEO & Chief Ecosystem Officer of, shared their experiences being HBS case protagonists.

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Learn more about the case method:

  • March 2022
  • Executive Education

Senior Executive Leadership Program—Middle East: Participant Perspective

Faced with a slew of challenges inherent to conducting business in a challenging part of the world, Muna Batayneh, director of operations at Engineering Enterprise Company, sought innovative approaches and strategies for addressing complex situations in Iraq. Muna's quest prompted her to apply to our Senior Executive Leadership Program—Middle East (SELPME). While on Harvard Business School campus for the program’s first module, she sat down with us to share her thoughts about her experience thus far.
  • February 2022

What They’re Made Of: In conversation with Professor Ranjay Gulati and Mona Ataya

This February, in collaboration with the HBS Club of the GCC, the Middle East and North Africa Research Center hosted Ranjay Gulati, Paul R. Lawrence MBA Class of 1942 Professor of Business Administration, and Mona Ataya, CEO and Founder of Mona Ataya has proven to be one of the Middle East’s most prominent and successful female entrepreneurs, and at this session she talked about her journey and how it has informed her purpose. Over 100 HBS alumni and friends attended the webinar.
  • January 2022

Case Centennial Celebration with Professor Stefan Thomke

This January in collaboration with Executive Education, Harvard Business Publishing, and the India Research Center, the Middle East and North Africa Research Center hosted a case discussion in celebration of the centennial of the HBS case method. The discussion was on Building World-Class Operating Systems led by Professor Stefan Thomke. Professor Thomke discussed the classic Toyota case with HBS alumni of the Senior Executive Leadership Program – Middle East and India followed by a Q&A session with faculty members on the teaching plan and subtleties of teaching a case online.
  • DECEMBER 2021

Book Launch Webinar with Professor Julie Battilana: Power, for All: How It Really Works and Why It’s Everyone’s Business

This month in collaboration with the HBS Clubs of the GCC, Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey, the MENA Research Center virtually hosted Julie Battilana, Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Business Administration. Professor Battilana is also the Alan L. Gleitsman Professor of Social Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School where she is the Founder and Faculty Chair of the Social Innovation + Change Initiative. She spoke about her new book, Power, for All: How It Really Works and Why It’s Everyone’s Business which addresses the importance of understanding of one’s own sources of power, the confidence to use it, and strategies for shifting power in order to ensure it is used effectively and ethically. Over 70 alumni and friends of HBS attended the webinar.

New Research on the Region

  • March 2022 (Revised May 2022)
  • Case

Reclaiming the Land of Purple: Purpl’s Mission to Unlock Finance in Lebanon

By: Lauren Cohen and Grace Headinger

Karl Naim, Co-Founder and CEO of Purpl, embarked on a venture to lower remittance costs for his native Lebanon. Since October 2019, the Lebanese economy had entered a free fall as its banking sector collapsed and large swathes of its population were plunged into poverty. As a repeat technology entrepreneur, Naim alongside his two co-founders decided to launch a new remittance aggregator to improve acess to low-cost remittances, which acted as a lifeline for most local families. By becoming a fiat-to-fiat aggregator and eventually leveraging stablecoin technology, he expected that in the first phase he could cut remittance fees in half from 9-12% to 5-6% — and eventually up to 1%. With the Lebanese population's trust in financial and banking institutions shattered, could Purpl succeed in its mission? How could it convince its potential users, the broader Lebanese public and the 20 million-strong Lebanese diaspora around the world, to adopt a different way of sending and transacting with digital cash? For primary remittance users, who only needed to reliably receive a monthly $100-$200 for basic goods and other necessities, could Purpl convince them both to change their habits and to trust the financial system that had put them in this situation in the first place? Morever, given Purpl's ultimate goal to upend the current establishment, would its "playing nice" with current established institutions haunt the firm's "anti-establishment" credibility from ever materializing?

  • March 2022
  • Case

Proximie: Using XR Technology to Create Borderless Operating Rooms

By: Ariel D. Stern and Alpana Thapar

In mid-January 2022, Nadine Hachach-Haram, founder and CEO of Proximie, was thinking about the company’s growth plans. Launched in 2016, Proximie was a platform that enabled clinicians, proctors, and medical device company personnel to be virtually present in operating rooms (OR) where they would use mixed reality and a suite of digital audio and visual tools to communicate with, mentor, assist, and observe those performing procedures. The goal was to improve patient outcomes. The company had grown quickly, opening offices in Beirut, London, and Boston, and had 135 employees. Proximie’s technology had been used in tens of thousands of procedures in over 50 countries and 500 hospitals. It had raised close to $50 million in equity financing and was now entering strategic partnerships to broaden its reach. In deploying its platform, Proximie also digitized and structured formerly uncaptured data from ORs, making it possible to build a novel database of rich surgical data and prepare an infrastructure for both analytics and for curating insights from users. Hachach-Haram aspired for Proximie to become a platform that powered every OR in the world. To achieve these goals, Hachach-Haram had to navigate several challenges as she scaled the company. She needed to carefully think about the company’s partnership and data strategies. Which formula would position the company best for the next stage of growth?

  • March 2022 (Revised May 2022)
  • Case

When Should CEOs Speak Out Publicly? The 2021 Georgia Voting Law

By: William W. George, Hubert Joly and Amram Migdal

This case describes the March 2021 passage of a voting and elections law in the U.S. state of Georgia and reactions by corporations and corporate leaders to the law. Included are a brief history of voting rights in the United States and Georgia and an overview of the antecedents to the law’s passage, such as rising racial tensions following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020 and the November 2020 U.S. presidential election and its aftermath. The case then relates statements and actions taken by the top executives of Georgia-based companies, such as Delta Air Airlines, Coca-Cola, and Home Depot, as well as executives across the nation. The narrative includes details about executives’ deliberations and discussions with one another on key questions: What criteria should they use to decide when to speak? What risks were they taking in speaking out on public issues? What were the benefits?

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Istanbul Staff

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

Cairo Staff

Ahmed Dahawy
Research Associate

Dubai Staff

Alpana Thapar
Associate Director, Dubai
Fares Khrais
Research Associate

Tel Aviv Staff