News & Highlights

  • DECEMBER 2021
  • EVENTS

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.
  • SEPTEMBER 2021
  • EVENT

Book Launch Webinar with Professor Sandra Sucher and Shalene Gupta: The Power of Trust: How Companies Build It, Lose It, Regain It

This September in collaboration with the HBS Clubs of the GCC, Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey, the MENA Research Center virtually welcomed Sandra J. Sucher, MBA Class of 1966 Professor of Management Practice and Shalene Gupta, Research Associate at HBS. Professor Sucher and Ms. Gupta shared their research findings on the topic and talked about the four elements that are necessary to build trust: competence, motives, means, and impact. They also highlighted insights from global leaders including those from the MENA region. Around 70 alumni and friends of HBS attended the webinar.
  • JULY 2021
  • MBA EXPERIENCE

MBA Voices: A Moroccan Student’s Experience—Meet Nassima Belkadi, MBA Class of 2022

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, Moroccan student Nassima Belkadi, MBA 2022, shares her dream of empowering women in patriarchal societies.
  • JUNE 2021
  • EVENT

Book Launch Webinar with Professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee: Better, Simpler Strategy: A Value-Based Guide to Exceptional Performance

On June 15th, in collaboration with Harvard Business Review Turkey, the MENA Research Center virtually hosted Felix Oberholzer-Gee, Andreas Andresen Professor of Business Administration in the Strategy Unit. Serdar Turan, Editor-in-Chief at HBR Turkey, and Esel Çekin, Executive Director of the MENA Research Center spoke with Professor Oberholzer-Gee about his new book, “Better, Simpler Strategy: A Value-Based Guide to Exceptional Performance.” Professor Oberholzer-Gee has provided a simple tool, the value stick, which every organization can use to make its strategy more effective and easier to execute. In the discussion he showed how executives in Turkey can use this tool to create a competitive advantage. More than 200 alumni and friends of HBS attended the webinar.

New Research on the Region

  • October 2021
  • Case

Yildiz Holding's Corporate Strategy: Managing Diversification for Growth

By: Juan Alcacer and Esel Çekin

The case opens in May 2018 with Nurtaç Ziyal Afridi, chief strategy and growth officer of Yıldız Holding, a Turkish conglomerate, reflecting on the group’s diversification journey. In ten years, the group had achieved a remarkable growth through diversification: seven mergers, 33 acquisitions, and 23 divestments. By 2018, it had 164 companies and consolidated revenues of $12 billion. After two notable acquisitions (Godiva, a $850-million deal in 2007, and United Biscuits, a $3.2-billion deal in 2014), Yıldız Holding became one of the world’s largest confectionary companies. However, Yıldız Holding’s owner, Murat Ülker, wanted it to be the number one or two player globally. To achieve this goal, Afridi started a major restructuring program to focus on the group’s core assets. That was not an easy feat. The group companies addressed mass market to luxury customers, and their portfolio of products ranged from confectionary to dairy, beverages, baby food, and olive oil. They had wholesaling operations as well as retailing businesses across a wide reach of geographies. Afridi’s decisions in restructuring needed to balance all the various trade-offs. She had to decide how to define core, and accordingly decide which non-core assets to divest. Should she consider protecting only wholesaling businesses and divesting retailing? And what about managing their businesses in different geographies? Would it be a good idea if the group were to manage some geographies directly and leave the management of others to select partners?

  • October 2021
  • Case

Hospital 57357: Aligning Performance Towards a Vision of a Cancer-Free Childhood

By: Susanna Gallani and Youssef Abdel Aal

The case follows the Children Cancer Hospital in Egypt, also known as Hospital 57357, as it goes through the roll-out of a new performance management system, which Dr. Sherif Abouel Naga, founder and CEO of the hospital, had championed. This was a critical juncture as the largest pediatric cancer hospital in the world was transitioning from a traditional, relatively informal operating style to a performance management system that was tightly structured and data driven. Dr. Abouel Naga had tasked a newly assembled management team with defining a strategy to ensure that 57357 remained a world leader in quality healthcare for children with cancer in an evolving and uncertain market landscape. While Dr. Abouel Naga was confident that a system that measured each individual’s contribution to the strategy would make a difference in the overall performance of the organization, critics worried about how employees might respond to the tight structure that came with this system. How could they ensure there would still be plenty of room for creativity and innovation, which were so important in the delivery of care? Would the new system allow to adapt quickly to evolving market conditions without generating confusion among the staff?

  • September 2021
  • Case

TAV Airports: Acquiring Almaty International

By: Juan Alcacer and Esel Çekin

The case opens in April 2020 with Sani Şener, CEO of TAV Airports, a vertically integrated regional airport operator headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey, and his team discussing the pending acquisition of the Almaty International Airport in Kazakhstan. The company had been looking for ways to increase its revenues, which had shrunk by 35% in 2019 after the closing of its flagship airport in Istanbul. The business case for acquiring Almaty International was quite strong: it was an asset acquisition with no maturity, and it came with fuel and cargo operations, functions that were unaffected by the cyclicality of passenger traffic. But the world had changed significantly since TAV made a conditional offer of $415 million, outbidding all other interested parties in November 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the aviation industry had been facing unprecedented challenges, and passenger traffic in Almaty had dropped by around 40%. In the meantime, the seller of Almaty International was undeterred and pressed TAV to close the deal. Şener and the senior management team were at a critical juncture: they had to move ahead soon or risk missing out on an opportunity that had looked very bright pre-pandemic.

See more research

Istanbul Staff

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

Dubai Staff

Alpana Thapar
Associate Director, Dubai
Fares Khrais
Research Associate

Tel Aviv Staff

Danielle Golan
Assistant Director