News & Highlights

  • NOVEMBER 2022
  • EVENT

Alumni Events in Istanbul, Riyadh, Cairo, and Dubai with Professor Paul Gompers on His New Book,

In October and November, the MENA Research Center hosted alumni events in Istanbul, Riyadh, Cairo, and Dubai in collaboration with HBR Turkey, Harvard Club of Saudi Arabia and Harvard Business School Clubs of Egypt and GCC. Professor Paul Gompers discussed his book, Advanced Introduction to Private Equity, with HBS alumni and allies. The book, which he co-authored with University of Chicago Professor Steven A. Kaplan, can serve as a source of insight for everyone who has an interest in private equity, whether they are academics, students, young professionals or industry veterans. Over 100 alumni and friends of HBS attended.
  • NOVEMBER 2022
  • Event

Virtual Book Discussion with Professor Jeremy Friedman

Professor Jeremy Friedman gave his insights from his new book, Ripe for Revolution: Building Socialism in the Third World. The book seeks to tell the story of the global evolution of the socialist project during the Cold War through an iterative process of trial and error. The book explores how socialists sought to build a model of socialism that would fit the conditions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, then referred to as the “Third World,” and now more often called the “Global South.” This event was co-hosted by the Africa Research Center with nearly 50 HBS alumni and community members attending the virtual event.
  • SEPTEMBER 2022
  • Event

Virtual Conversation with Professor George Serafeim

The MENA Research Center and Africa Research Center co-hosted a virtual event with Professor George Serafeim. With his new book Purpose and Profit: How Business Can Lift Up the World, Professor Serafeim provided answers to the following questions: Are purpose and profit in conflict, or can both be achieved simultaneously with the right mindset and tools? What are the forces that are reshaping the relationship between the two? What can we all do to strengthen the relationship between purpose and profit as entrepreneurs, managers, employees, consumers, and investors? Approximately 50 HBS alumni and community members attended the event.
  • September 2022
  • Event

Climate Adaption: How Businesses and Investors Think About Resilience by Professor John Macomber

In September, MENA Research Center and Professor John Macomber hosted an event in Istanbul, Turkey. Professor Macomber's work focuses on climate adaptation and the future of cities, particularly as aided by the private finance and delivery of public infrastructure projects in both the developed and emerging worlds. He discussed ‘What is the state of the art in climate adaptation today, and what future opportunities will we have?’ 25 HBS alumni and community members attended the event and it was the first in-person event after a long hiatus.

New Research on the Region

  • October 2022
  • Teaching Material

The SAH Group: The Time is Right, Spreadsheet Supplement

By: Juan Alcacer and Alpana Thapar

In January 2021, Jalila Mezni, CEO of the SAH Group, was preparing to present the company’s future growth plans to its board of directors. The Tunisian company was a leading producer and distributor of personal care and packaged hygiene products. In 2019, it expanded further by entering the detergents market. By 2020, the company employed over 4,500 people and had a presence in 20 African countries. The Lilas brand had become a household name in Tunisia, outperforming brands owned by global players like Procter and Gamble. In detergents, SAH was steadily gaining ground over multinational consumer goods companies like Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser, and Henkel. As Mezni looked ahead, she had to carefully evaluate three growth opportunities: introducing a range of kitchen cleaners, vertically integrating operations in the detergents business, and opening a subsidiary in Kenya. Which of these, if any, would be the right way forward for the SAH Group at this juncture?

  • October 2022
  • Teaching Material

The SAH Group: The Time is Right, Instructor Spreadsheet

By: Juan Alcacer and Alpana Thapar

In January 2021, Jalila Mezni, CEO of the SAH Group, was preparing to present the company’s future growth plans to its board of directors. The Tunisian company was a leading producer and distributor of personal care and packaged hygiene products. In 2019, it expanded further by entering the detergents market. By 2020, the company employed over 4,500 people and had a presence in 20 African countries. The Lilas brand had become a household name in Tunisia, outperforming brands owned by global players like Procter and Gamble. In detergents, SAH was steadily gaining ground over multinational consumer goods companies like Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser, and Henkel. As Mezni looked ahead, she had to carefully evaluate three growth opportunities: introducing a range of kitchen cleaners, vertically integrating operations in the detergents business, and opening a subsidiary in Kenya. Which of these, if any, would be the right way forward for the SAH Group at this juncture?

  • October 2022
  • Case

Volt Lines: Leading a B2B Service Provider through a Crisis (A)

By: Navid Mojir and Gamze Yucaoglu

Volt Lines was a next-generation transportation service in Istanbul, Turkey. The company was trying to disrupt the traditional corporate transportation market by developing software that allowed it to offer subscription-based transportation. Under the subscription model, Volt Lines pooled employees from different clients to ride on the same bus and charged its clients using a per-seat pricing model instead of the traditional per-bus model. In 2020, when the pandemic hit and companies pivoted to working from home, the need for corporate transportation almost disappeared overnight. While this drop in demand put tremendous pressure on Volt Lines as a startup with negative cash flow, it also allowed the company to leverage its software infrastructure and offer even more flexible pricing models. Such flexible pricing models could help Volt Lines clients that now had their employees show up at the office only a few days a week cut costs. The three cases (Volt Lines A, B, and C) follow the journey of Ali Halabi, the company's founder and CEO, as he moves from trying to survive in the early days of the pandemic to seeing the pandemic as a unique opportunity to gain market share.

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Istanbul Staff

Esel Çekin
Executive Director
Yasemin Çağlar
Assistant Director, Educational Programs
Zeynep Mağgönül
Office Manager

Cairo Staff

Ahmed Dahawy
Research Associate

Dubai Staff

Fares Khrais
Research Associate
Alpana Thapar
Associate Director, Dubai

Tel Aviv Staff