News & Highlights

  • FEBRUARY 2020
  • EVENTS

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.
  • 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.

New Research on the Region

  • February 2020 (Revised March 2020)
  • Case

Managing Blackout at Aluminum Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba) (A)

By: Joseph B. Fuller, Gamze Yücaoğlu and Youssef Abdel Aal

The case opens in 2017 as Tim Murray, CEO of Aluminum Bahrain (Alba), the largest single-site aluminum smelter in the world outside China and a major contributor to the Bahraini economy, was contemplating the recovery options as the company was facing the most severe crisis in its history. The case provides background on Alba and chronicles a transformation process implemented by Murray. The company had historically underperformed expectations. It developed a hierarchical, engineering oriented culture. The large workforce, made up of multiple nationalities, exhibited uneven levels of process compliance and personal accountability. Those deficiencies manifested themselves in many ways. Most damaging was a consistently poor record of workplace safety. Alba suffered from a high rate of on-the-job injuries and fatalities. Murray undertook to change the company culture, using safety as the linchpin of a campaign to instill a greater sense of discipline and personal responsibility across all levels of the organization. The case occurs against the backdrop of Alba’s largest expansion project to date, which was planned to increase its production capacity by 50%. Just as Alba was reaping the benefits of Murray’s campaign, a total blackout at Alba’s facilities leads to an explosion that severely damaged its largest production line while Murray is on home leave. As the extent of the damage becomes apparent, the management team begins reverting to old behaviors. The case follows the subsequent series of events as Murray seeks to get control of the situation. Murray has to choose between two options for restoring production: outsourcing the recovery efforts to a credible third party at a very high cost or letting his team take on the task. As he contemplated his options, he dwelled on an overarching question—what was the best mechanism for restoring the damaged production line without undermining the culture he had invested so much in trying to create at Alba?

  • February 2020
  • Case

Managing Blackout at Aluminum Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba) (B)

By: Joseph B. Fuller, Gamze Yücaoğlu and Youssef Abdel Aal

The case opens in 2017 as Tim Murray, CEO of Aluminum Bahrain (Alba), the largest single-site aluminum smelter in the world outside China and a major contributor to the Bahraini economy, was contemplating the recovery options as the company was facing the most severe crisis in its history. The case provides background on Alba and chronicles a transformation process implemented by Murray. The company had historically underperformed expectations. It developed a hierarchical, engineering oriented culture. The large workforce, made up of multiple nationalities, exhibited uneven levels of process compliance and personal accountability. Those deficiencies manifested themselves in many ways. Most damaging was a consistently poor record of workplace safety. Alba suffered from a high rate of on-the-job injuries and fatalities. Murray undertook to change the company culture, using safety as the linchpin of a campaign to instill a greater sense of discipline and personal responsibility across all levels of the organization. The case occurs against the backdrop of Alba’s largest expansion project to date, which was planned to increase its production capacity by 50%. Just as Alba was reaping the benefits of Murray’s campaign, a total blackout at Alba’s facilities leads to an explosion that severely damaged its largest production line while Murray is on home leave. As the extent of the damage becomes apparent, the management team begins reverting to old behaviors. The case follows the subsequent series of events as Murray seeks to get control of the situation. Murray has to choose between two options for restoring production: outsourcing the recovery efforts to a credible third party at a very high cost or letting his team take on the task. As he contemplated his options, he dwelled on an overarching question—what was the best mechanism for restoring the damaged production line without undermining the culture he had invested so much in trying to create at Alba?

  • January 23, 2020
  • Article
  • Notes de l'Ifri

Sanctions and the End of Trans-Atlanticism: Iran, Russia, and the Unintended Division of the West

By: Rawi Abdelal and Aurélie Bros

Sanctions have become the dominant tool of statecraft in the United States and other Western states, especially the European Union, since the end of the Cold War. But the systematic use of this instrument may produce unintended and somewhat paradoxical geopolitical consequences. The sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation in the field of energy are particularly illustrative of this phenomenon. Firstly, Iran and Russia demonstrated their resilience and a real ability to adapt, thus transforming the perspective to European companies. One of Tehran's responses to sanctions was to establish the so-called "resistance economy" in order to make Iran resistant to all kinds of economic shocks and reduce the reliance on a single commodity. For its part, Russia has adapted and offered new perspective to European and Asian businesses by creating a precedent with the case of Total. Some European companies are not ready to operate according to these rules—at least in the gas sector, as oil is too risky relative to U.S. policy and law. Secondly, differences in the approach of the United States and Europe over the type and intensity of economic statecraft against both Iran and Russia have increasingly undermined trans-Atlanticism. The so-called secondary sanctions imposed on both Iran and Russia have become the primary vehicle for signaling and even implementing a decoupling of U.S. and European political objectives. On the one hand, the costs of complying with U.S. secondary sanctions is perceived as too high for European companies. On the other, Europeans are not ready to bear the consequences of internal U.S. divisions. All of this might even have reinvigorated the European project, by triggering a debate on the need for European countries to protect their economic sovereignty. The European Green Deal might become the emerging unifying theme that might relaunch the European project and make Europe a fully-fledged geopolitical actor.

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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