News & Highlights

  • FEBRUARY 2019
  • EVENTS

7th Annual HBS Crossroads Conference in Dubai

On February 28, 2019, Harvard Business School Alumni Club of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) hosted the 7th Annual Harvard Business School Crossroads Conference at the Four Seasons Hotel, Jumeirah in Dubai. The event, led by the President of HBS Club of the GCC Goulam Amarsy (MBA 1981), welcomed 300 alumni, business leaders and thought leaders who debated on the issue of “Growth Opportunities Along The Silk Road’’. The HBS Alumni Club of the GCC gathers to address the critical issues facing the region.
  • January 2019
  • MBA Student Perspectives

MBA Perspectives: Doha Tantawy shares her experience at HBS

Doha Tantawy of Cairo, Egypt shares her journey at HBS. She discusses her experience learning through the case method and highlights the diversity on campus. Doha says, "You're exposed to every single model of what an accomplished person can be. It's a lifetime chance to reformat who you aspire to be. You come out with a better version of yourself."
  • December 2018
  • EVENTS

Professor Sunil Gupta meets with business leaders and alumni in Istanbul

On December 3, 2018, Harvard Business Review Turkey hosted Sunil Gupta, Edward W. Carter Professor of Business Administration and the Chair of the General Management Program, for an exclusive keynote event in Istanbul. The event began with opening remarks, delivered by Murat Özyeğin (HBS MBA 2013) Executive Board Member of Fiba Holding, and Professor Gupta gave a talk on his new book Driving Digital Strategy: A Guide to Reimagining Your Business. The speeches were followed by a panel discussion featuring Ömer Aras (Chairman of QNB Finansbank), Cansen Başaran Symes (Chair of the Board of Directors of Allianz Turkey), Colman Deegan (CEO of Vodafone Turkey), and Mehmet Başer (Partner at McKinsey Turkey). Reflecting on the event, Professor Gupta shared, “It was a real pleasure to share the ideas from my book Driving Digital Strategy to 100 senior leaders in Istanbul. The level of engagement and energy of the audience was amazing and I want to thank HBR Turkey for organizing such a wonderful and exciting event.”
  • November 2019
  • MBA Admissions

Admissions Information Sessions in Dubai, Riyadh and Istanbul

In October and November 2019, the MENA Research Center hosted MBA Admissions events for prospective students in Dubai, Riyadh and Istanbul. Most of the attendees were young professionals and students in the region and many expressed particular interest in joint degree programs and the 2+2 Program, in addition to the MBA program. The first-round interviews for the Class of 2021 were conducted in Dubai from October 31 – November 2, 2018. A special interviewee event was held in Dubai and aimed to provide a platform for interviewees to interact with alumni and learn more about the two-year MBA experience. The decisions for the first-round of MBA interviews were released on December 11, 2018. The MENA Research Center team continues to support the MBA Admissions department in the region.

New Research on the Region

  • March 2019
  • Case

HOPI: Turkey's Shopping Companion

By: Sunil Gupta, Donald Ngwe and Gamze Yucaoglu

The case opens in 2017 as Onur Erbay, CEO of HOPI, a multi-vendor loyalty platform, is contemplating a critical decision. The case chronicles the origins of Boyner Group, the parent company of HOPI and a major retailer in Turkey, and development of retail and customer relationship management (CRM) in Turkey over the years. Before HOPI, Boyner Group retailers were unable to trace customers across the Group’s brands or form insights about customers’ preferences and habits beyond what brand-specific CRM and loyalty programs provided data for. HOPI was born as the management team at Boyner Group realized the need to serve the customer holistically; the program was designed as a coalition loyalty program including non-Boyner retailer partners. The case provides a detailed overview of the design choices for HOPI—a mobile only app with its own currency, paracik, its revenue model, user experience, and how the company planned to leverage big data to segment the customers for retailers and increase purchasing power for customers. Since its launch in 2015, HOPI had 5.5 million downloads and 300 thousand daily active users browsing campaigns offered by over 116 coalition retailers that ranged from gas stations and cinemas to supermarkets and department stores. In 2017, Erbay, who had ambitions to grow HOPI beyond a loyalty program, was faced with harsh realities: the Turkish market was very price sensitive, several competitors had emerged since HOPI’s launch, and several retailers and consumers preferred discounts at the time of purchase instead of earning loyalty points for future purchases. Erbay was also facing pressure from the parent company to make HOPI profitable. Was it time for HOPI to pivot to the discount model and abandon its original concept? HOPI has provided a supplementary data set to allow for a more in-depth analysis of the program's impact on customer behavior and retailer profits. The data covers four years, two years prior to HOPI’s start and two years after, for two retailers in the coalition loyalty program. The data set includes all customers and transactions at each of the retailers, the final price paid by each customer, and whether the HOPI app was used as part of the transaction. In all, the data contains approximately 2.7 million transactions for 578,078 unique customers.

  • March 2019
  • Case

Wattpad

By: John Deighton and Leora Kornfeld

How to run a platform to match four million writers of stories to 75 million readers? Use data science. Make money by doing deals with television and filmmakers and book publishers. The case describes the challenges of matching readers to stories and of helping writers produce better stories by supplying feedback on their chapters as they write, all by processing a billion data points daily. But it's hard to acquire new customer groups when algorithms have a bias to replicate the tastes on which they are trained.

  • March 2019
  • Teaching Material

KITEA (B): Getting Ready to Face IKEA

By: Ramon Casadesus-Masanell and Gamze Yucaoglu

The case opens in September 2015, when IKEA is about to open its first store in Morocco. It then chronicles the efforts of KITEA CEO Amine Benkirane and his son Othman between 2013 and 2015 to prepare KITEA for IKEA’s entry. After incurring losses for the first time in 2013, KITEA had bounced back and recorded profits and growth in 2014 and 2015. The improvements in supply chain management, product range, and relationships with stakeholders that the duo had been working on tirelessly seemed to be paying off. After an intense preparation period, was KITEA ready to face off against IKEA in Morocco?

See more research

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

Samer Al-Rachedy
Research Associate
Alpana Thapar
Assistant Director, MENA Region

Tel Aviv Staff

Danielle Golan
Assistant Director