Doha Tantawy
Home Region

Cairo, Egypt

Undergrad Education

American University, BBA Finance, 2013

Previous Experience

Misr Radiology Center/Misr Scan, Easy Pan, Procter & Gamble

HBS Activities

Health Care Club, Management Consulting Club, Consulting for Impact Club, Islamic Society

“It's a lifetime chance to reformat who you aspire to be.”

When her father opened a radiology center in Cairo, Doha Tantawy "found a real inspiration to do something different and get out of my comfort zone. I wanted the know-how of building something from scratch."

Her initial post-graduation assignment at Procter & Gamble was Doha's "first reality check. I saw how economics play out in a real marketplace, how all the constituents – business, customers, legal context—work together." The experience awakened a passion to "serve consumers, to see change happen and to increase value to their lives."

Inspired, Doha launched her own business, "Easy Pan," which she describes as "aspiring to be the Blue Apron of the Middle East." After a year, when she realized she couldn't reach the growth targets she had hoped for, she shut the business down. Yet she wasn't discouraged. "Failure is not necessarily a bad thing," she says. "You can learn a lot regardless of outcomes. I learn more from sad moments than happy ones; the sad ones are the ones you really remember."

Pursuing unanswered questions

These experiences left Doha with "lots of unanswered questions. I wanted two years to address things I didn't understand." Specifically, she wanted to know, "How to lead organizational change effectively; what's the best way to push a vision you're trying to accomplish? And what are the most effective models for serving customers?"

Some of the answers come through cases. "We're exposed to hundreds of cases by the end of our two years," Doha says. "For every case, you answer the question, 'What would you do?' I hear a new thing every single day." In Business, Government & the International Economy (BGIE), Doha and her colleagues were exposed to cases from "China, Iraq, Iran, Morocco—we learn what it takes to make it in the crazy economic world we live in now."

The intellectual stimulation is complemented by social and emotional growth. Given the diversity of people and perspectives at HBS, 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."

Emotionally, "it's been a roller coaster in so many ways," says Doha. "Dealing with 900 people in your class raises your social intelligence to another level." Yet the experience is energizing, not enervating. "Being the only woman in a hijab among 900 students pushes me to the limits. But I've never felt more safe or welcome. Everyone here comes with a mindset of openness."

For her internship, Doha will explore strategy consulting with Ernst & Young in New York. Looking ahead, she believes "the Middle East is a white space to be developed. I'd like to be involved in change in a broader way. Maybe politics? Maybe industry restructure? Something on a policy level."