News & Highlights

  • OCTOBER 2019
  • EVENTS

A Discussion on Social Safety with Professor Nien-hê Hsieh

On October 8th and 9th, the MENA Research Center, in collaboration with the HBS Clubs of Lebanon and Turkey, welcomed Professor Nien-hê Hsieh, Professor of Business Administration and Joseph L. Rice, III Faculty Fellow, to Beirut and Istanbul. Professor Hsieh presented his latest research on the topic of societal safety. He posed a very important question, “We ask businesses to be safe for consumers and for workers, but what about for society? Professor Hsieh led interactive discussions with 50 alumni and friends of the school.
  • JULY 2019
  • MBA EXPERIENCE

MBA Voices: A Lebanese Student’s Experience—Meet Yazan Halwani, MBA Class of 2020

MBA Voices is Harvard Business School’s admissions blog. A collection of community perspectives on the blog provide prospective students with insight into life at HBS. In this interview, Lebanese student Yazan Halwani, MBA 2020, explains his journey to become one of the applicants admitted to the school.
  • MAY 2019
  • EXECUTIVE EDUCATION

Senior Executive Leadership Program – Middle East (SELPME)

Amr Habis, Deputy Secretary-general of Olayan Financing Company, shares his experience as a participant in the Senior Executive Leadership Program—Middle East (SELPME). While on the Harvard Business School (HBS) campus for the program's first module, Amr explains how the SELPME experience has already accelerated his leadership development—and revealed strategies for developing his team as well. SELPME is a business management program that aims to help individuals become strong leaders who can deliver value in a global context. The program is taught in a series of modules offered in Boston and Dubai.
  • MAY 2019
  • EVENTS

HBS Alumni & Friends Gathering with Professor Christina R. Wing in Istanbul, Turkey

On May 29th, 2019 the MENA Research Center hosted an event with Professor Christina Wing, Senior Lecturer specializing on Families in Business. Over 50 HBS alumni and friends of the School attended, and the event presented an opportunity for HBS alumni and recently admitted students to engage in conversations with each other and Professor Wing. HBS looks forward to welcoming the recently admitted students to campus in the upcoming months.

New Research on the Region

  • November 2019
  • Case

Edita: Making Choices in Uncertain Times

By: Caroline M. Elkins, Juan Alcacer, Alpana Thapar and Youssef Abdel Aal

After 15 years of steady growth and expansion, Edita, a leading Egyptian snack producer, faced a series of challenges in the wake of the Arab Spring. In January 2011, the Egyptian Revolution sparked political and economic turmoil that reflected the waves of protest and violence already spreading throughout North Africa and parts of the Middle East. Hani Berzi, CEO of Edita, managed to navigate the company through this period, though the severe devaluation of the Egyptian pound in November 2016 meant yet another period of crisis for the country’s economy and, with it, the snack food industry. Hani was faced with a series of hard decisions that would determine Edita’s future. He held a crisis management meeting with his executive team and on the agenda were two key decisions. Should they increase their prices as a short-term strategy to survive the turbulent period at the risk of losing market share? Should Edita aim to diversify risk by tapping into underserved rural areas in Egypt or rather by expanding its presence in regional markets? Or, should the company adopt some combination of both strategies, or neither, and instead devise another course for addressing the crisis?

  • November 2019
  • Teaching Material

Actera Group: Investing in Mars Cinema Group (A) and (B)

By: Victoria Ivashina and Jeffrey Boyar

In summer of 2010, Murat Çavuşoğlu (HBS MBA 1994) led private equity firm Actera Group’s investment in Mars Cinema Group (Mars), the leading movie exhibitor in Turkey. Immediately after acquiring Mars and merging it with the second larger player in the market, AFM, Çavuşoğlu focused on institutionalizing and implementing value creation work streams in Mars. While transforming an entrepreneurial company into an institutionalized firm, Çavuşoğlu established adjacent businesses such as movie advertising and ticket sales. The most recent step in transforming Mars was to establish a movie distribution arm, which would help the company to monitor and manage the seasonal cycles, enhance the appeal for investors in the exit, and improve the valuation. However, while Çavuşoğlu was laying out the plans for his next move with movie distribution in 2014, Turkey’s Council of State, the highest administrative court in the country, had decided to cancel the approval for the merger of Mars and AFM, putting all of Actera’s efforts on Mars at risk. Should Çavuşoğlu push the stop button for distribution? If Çavuşoğlu decided to move forward with distribution, should he do it now or wait until the process with Turkey’s judiciary and regulatory authorities cleared out?

  • October 2019
  • Case

Leading Bank Leumi into the Future

By: Joshua D. Margolis, Allison M. Ciechanover, Nicole Keller and Danielle Golan

An unlikely but highly effective leader of a traditional bank, Rakefet Russak-Aminoach, simultaneously leads a classic change effort and an unconventional effort to innovate. She focuses her initial energy on making the bank more efficient in the face of industry changes and then rolls out a self-disrupting, independent mobile-app bank, aimed at millennials and designed to anticipate the coming transformation from fintech. The case documents the difficult situation she faced stepping into the CEO role, her change efforts, and her distinctive leadership style and how it has evolved. It ends with the enduring question of when to integrate an incubated business unit that was separate intentionally to spark innovation.

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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
Assistant Director, Research

Dubai Staff

Alpana Thapar
Assistant Director, MENA Region
Fares Khrais
Research Associate

Tel Aviv Staff

Danielle Golan
Assistant Director