News & Highlights

  • OCTOBER 2019

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 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

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

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

  • 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.

  • 2019
  • Book

Business, Ethics and Institutions: The Evolution of Turkish Capitalism in Global Perspectives

By: Asli M. Colpan and G. Jones

This book is the first systematic scholarly study on the business history of Turkey and its predecessor the Ottoman Empire from the nineteenth century until the present. It places the distinctive characteristics of capitalism in Turkey within a global and comparative perspective, addressing three related issues. First, it examines the institutional context that shaped capitalist development in Turkey. Second, it focuses on the corporate actors, entrepreneurs, and business enterprises that have led national economic growth. Third, it explores the ethical foundations and social responsibility of business enterprises in Turkey.

  • 2019
  • Book Chapter

Ethical Business, Corruption and Economic Development in Comparative Perspective

By: Janet Hunter and G. Jones

This chapter contextualises the drivers of corruption in Turkish business through comparisons with Japan and India in the late 19th century. It identifies the developmental state as a common driver of corruption. Catching up by using extensive state intervention had the major downside that it has served to facilitate corruption. The operation of the developmental state may have been constrained by factors beyond the control of the state, such as shortage of funds or external pressures. Yet it is apparent that the individual measures that made up the overall strategy of the developmental state are vulnerable to exploitation by those who are involved in their implementation, while at the same time positively encouraging such manipulation. The example of 19th century Meiji Japan suggests the building of inclusive political and economic institutions. Consequent trust levels can help address the problem, but it also suggests that old habits die hard and that respect for the state and its institutions is something that cannot be taken for granted. The fact that some places, such as Singapore and Hong Kong, were able in recent decades to roll back corrupt practices is less comforting for Turkey. Turkey, like India, has not yet taken the necessary steps needed to disrupt corrupt practices. However the chapter also explores the many uncertainties surrounding the issue of corruption. The very term corruption is ambiguous, because there are many grey areas that result from variations in cultural norms. The existence of corruption does not appear to stop development. It did not stop Japan’s economic growth over the long term. It has not stopped India’s rapid growth in recent decades, which appears, if anything, to correlate with growing corruption rates since the 1970s. It would appear, though, that the more extractive the institutions of a society, and the fewer the countervailing forces of productive business enterprise, the more potential there is for negative outcomes. In the case of Turkey, corruption has not only prevented significant economic growth, but it also had negative consequences, such as poor quality building construction, and distortions, such as helping one sector of the business community grow at the expense of others. Its prevalence maybe part of the explanation why Turkey has struggled to build innovative businesses able to drive forward the development of the country and break out of the middle-income trap.

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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

Tel Aviv Staff

Danielle Golan
Assistant Director