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Tell us about your concept for the event and the purpose behind it?

The event planning primarily aimed to increase awareness among the Arab community and provide essential guidance for people interested in applying to MBA programs abroad. One of the leading programs highlighted during the event was the Full-Time MBA Program at Chicago Booth, establishing the brand among the audience, and addressing the new generation's interest in the best MBA programs.

To capture the highest value, we chose Fattoush Gallery & Bar in Haifa, Israel for the location, tapping into the local and global ambiance of the place and leveraging the atmosphere to create a friendly and welcoming environment for new adventures. In addition, we played Arabian music in the background and a slideshow of pictures taken from MBA journeys, including my Booth journey at Harper and trips with fellow Boothies. Finally, we served our audience Middle Eastern food.

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What drove the development of this event?

In the past few years, and since I started my preparation for the MBA journey, I noticed a severe lack of Arab community presence in MBA programs outside of Israel. From what I've observed, the primary reason for underrepresentation is the lack of awareness. This issue was amplified when I joined a WhatsApp group of students from Israel at MBAs abroad, which consisted of +240 members starting an MBA in the last three years, and of which only three were Arabs (1.2% of the total).

To further quantify this disproportion, I started looking for Arabs who completed an MBA in the last 20-30 years and have found only 14 members. A significant portion of this group completed their MBA through a Fulbright Program, limiting the option to work in the US post-MBA due to visa restrictions.

To enforce a solid ground for a fundamental change, we established the Arabs in MBA Abroad (AMBAA) club, gathering Arab students and alums who studied MBA abroad. This club aims to provide the Arab community's future prospective students with the tools and resources to better plan their MBA journey abroad. 

What drove the development of this event?
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What was your favorite experience from the event?

In the past two years, I had the privilege to participate in one of the most prestigious programs—a Full-Time MBA at Chicago Booth.

I cultivated many new skills, honed existing ones, switched my career, and built a worthy network of brilliant fellows and professors. Being able to share these experiences with my community, to which I have a strong sense of belonging, and to reshape their future plans to include similar journeys, was by far my favorite experience.

Moreover, witnessing the interest generated among the audience, illustrated by more than 100 attendees from across the country with some of them commuting 1-1.5 hours and by joining our social channels, demonstrated the achievement of the primary target of the event—raising awareness and interest.

What was your favorite experience from the event?

Did the event meet your expectations? How?

It exceeded all expectations. I recall having discussions in June about the number of potential attendees when I started contemplating the right approach to plan such an event. Initially, I aimed for 20-40 participants with a 70% attendance rate, but given the high interest that this event has received, I had to change the venue twice throughout the process.

Over 100 people attended the event, with a 75% show rate, arriving on time and staying after the event's official hours to receive answers to their long overdue questions.

The flyer, the banners, the forms, and the marketing strategy worked well. But for me, the real impact was that this event presented an awakening call that everyone was waiting for.

What else do you want to share?

I am happy to share that in the last month, the AMBAA club has partnered with one of the most prominent non-profit organizations to initiate a program to provide funding and supporting platforms for Arabs interested in MBA abroad.

We are finalizing a working-plan offer** and aiming to have our first generation participating in this program apply to Booth and other institutions starting September 2023. More details to follow.

** Still under initial planning