News & Highlights

  • May 2020

Virtual Alumni Event with Professor Suraj Srinivasan

On May 8th, Alain Bejjani, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Holding and Professor Suraj Srinivasan, Philip J. Stomberg Professor of Business Administration in Accounting and Management, discussed crisis management during COVID-19 and the future outlook for the retail industry and the region in general. The webinar hosted over 180 alumni from the region.
  • MAY 2020

Virtual Alumni Event with Professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee

On May 28th, Hüsnü Özyeğin (MBA 1969), Murat Özyeğin (MBA 2003), and Professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee, Andreas Andresen Professor of Business Administration in the Strategy Unit discussed the expected speed of recovery in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis. They also addressed opportunities during the downturn in the region. Over 170 alumni from the region attended.
  • FEBRUARY 2020

Offline Experiences in Omnichannel Retail with Professor Antonio Moreno

On February 11th, the MENA Research Center welcomed Professor Antonio Moreno, Sicupira Family Associate Professor in the Technology and Operations Management Unit to Istanbul, Turkey. Professor Moreno gave a talk on Offline Experiences in Omnichannel Retail and led an interactive discussion with more than 20 HBS alumni and participants. The participation and energy of the attendees during the event made it a big success.
  • JULY 2019

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.

New Research on the Region

  • August 2020
  • Case

Migros Turkey: Scaling Online Operations (A)

By: Antonio Moreno and Gamze Yucaoglu

The case opens in November 2019 as Ozgur Tort and Mustafa Bartin, CEO and chief large-format and online retail officer of Migros Ticaret A.S. (Migros), Turkey’s oldest and one of its largest supermarket chains, are contemplating what the best fulfillment format and delivery model for the company’s growing online arm, Sanal Market, and its under-30-minutes gorcery service arm, Hemen, are. Migros’s online operations had grown over 50% year-on-year in the previous three years, and the target for 2020 was to grow 100%. With all of these considerations in mind, Bartin and Tort needed to decide which levers to pull for the last mile and fulfillment to best serve the future of Migros. The case chronicles the founding and growth of Migros as well as Sanal Market and lays the ground for food and grocery retail in Turkey complete with the competitive outlook. The case then provides a detailed overview of how Migros built online channels, Sanal Market and its recently introduced Hemen, and how Tort and Bartin have thought about fulfillment and delivery as well as omnichannel mentality. The case goes into detail about the three different fulfillment models, store pick micro-fulfillment center, and dark store, that Migros is piloting in 2019 as well as providing an understanding of what the company is thinking about logistics and last mile delivery as its online sales grow. While globally, online shopping and consumer preferences were changing fast, particularly in terms of how and with what frequency customers shopped online and how fast they wanted their groceries delivered, Migros was trying to find the optimum model for fulfillment and last mile delivery. What was the best way to optimize last mile with regards to pooling store catchment areas and pooling stores, and which of the fulfillment models would yield the best results in terms of picking speed and accuracy and customer expectations? Additionally, the company needed to figure out how to position Hemen; facing fierce competition from fast-delivery grocery startups, for whom burning cash to achieve growth was not a concern, should Hemen remain as a stand-alone offering or should it be integrated within the Sanal Market app?

  • August 2020
  • Teaching Material

Migros Turkey: Scaling Online Operations (B)

By: Antonio Moreno and Gamze Yucaoglu

The case opens in February 2020 as Ozgur Tort and Mustafa Bartin, CEO and chief large-format and online retail officer of Migros Ticaret A.S. (Migros), Turkey’s oldest and one of its largest supermarket chains, are looking over the results of the fulfillment pilot the company had been running since June 2019. Comparing the data from dark store, micro fulfillment center, and store pick models, the duo see that contrary to the expectations outlined in their business plan in May 2019, the mini dark-store performance metrics were superior to those of the dark store format. As the online grocery market is evolving, the duo decide to refrain from going forward with one fulfillment model only and decide to mix and match the fulfillment models as needed and buttress the efforts with automation for picking to increase efficiency. On the last mile, the teams decide to focus on pooling and developing an algorithm to automate deployment while trying to combine delivery efforts for both Sanal Market and Hemen. Decisions with regards to Hemen’s offering are yet to be made as its competitors manage to raise money from Silicon Valley.

  • July 2020
  • Teaching Material

Instabeat—Crossing the Finish Line

By: Shikhar Ghosh, Nicole Tempest Keller and Alpana Thapar

Lebanese entrepreneur Hind Hobeika was just 21 years old when she launched her startup, Instabeat, which had developed the first real-time bio-feedback device for swimmers to monitor and improve their performance. It had been an extremely testing 10-year journey to bring the Instabeat product to market due to numerous manufacturing challenges that had caused Hobeika to almost shut down the business in 2016. However, with help from the co-founder of Jawbone, Hobeika raised additional capital and restarted Instabeat, moving its headquarters from Lebanon to San Francisco. Hobeika used the new funding to move quickly ¾ expanding her team, finding a new manufacturing partner, and re-starting conversations with the Michael Phelps Organization. However, her COO believed she should take the opposite approach – slow down and focus on getting a shippable product. In 2017 her manufacturing struggles resurfaced and Hobeika found herself once again seeking a new manufacturer. After an extensive search, she selected a manufacturer based in China, but found it difficult to manage the process from San Francisco. Ultimately Hobeika decided she needed to move to China to keep the manufacturing on track. What started out as a plan to be in China for one or two months, turned into nine months. Hobeika weathered many personal challenges of living in China, but was determined to bring the product across the finish line. By May 2019 Hobeika had returned to San Francisco with a finished product and was preparing for launch when a new, well-funded competitor introduced its own “smart” swimming goggles. Hobeika needed to decide how to proceed.

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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

Alpana Thapar
Associate Director, MENA Region
Fares Khrais
Research Associate

Tel Aviv Staff

Danielle Golan
Assistant Director