As a leader in the tech industry, Yvonne Chebib, ’12, (EXP-17), aims to surround herself with a diverse team of contributors who can bring different perspectives and fresh, new ideas to the table. At Microsoft, Chebib ensures that her team always includes women—whom she also tries to provide space to develop professionally.
“We should never underestimate the role of women in mentoring and inspiring other women to grow,” says Chebib, who also uses this inclusive mindset to help Microsoft better collbaborate with its partners as senior executive director of global partners solutions in the UAE.
Chebib’s quest was most recently seen on display at the 2023 Imagine Cup, a global tech competition cosponsored by Microsoft to tackle some of the world’s toughest challenges while fostering the next generation of talent. She was thrilled to see many women students in technology make it to the regional finals in Dubai—in fact, the majority of the finalists this year were women.
Her passion for improving diversity and inclusion in the tech industry was first ignited more than ten years, during her time in Booth’s Executive MBA Program. Her classmates came not only from different nationalities and backgrounds but also from a wide range of industries and career stages.
“It brought this diversity and richness to conversations—in and outside the classroom,” she says. “I got to know so many different people, how they think, how to work with them, how to lead the discussions, when to lead, and when to listen.”
Chebib decided to pursue an MBA because she wanted to learn more about different approaches to running a business, as she hoped at the time to open her own executive search company.
Even though Booth’s name was less well recognized than other programs in the Middle East, where she was based, she had friends who had enjoyed studying there, and she took their recommendation seriously. Chebib was not disappointed.
“It was the best two years of my life. It was very intense, especially since I was also working,” she says. “Through the program, I visited Singapore, Chicago, and London. As someone based in the UAE, it was really good to see different cultures.”
“As you learn, you move faster, you fail faster, and you continue to take the initiative. It’s all part of the growth mindset that pushes you to reinvent yourself to keep pace with the continuous innovation in the tech industry.”
Chebib, who is Lebanese and French, focused on general management and entrepreneurship, combining her part-time studies with work in sales at Alcatel-Lucent, a Paris-based software company that delivers tailored digital networking, communication, and cloud solutions.
The program also exposed her to new and unexpected subjects. Chebib never thought she would love statistics, but her professor, Federico M. Bandi (now at Johns Hopkins), made the entire class love the subject because of his fun and unique teaching style. The same went for other classes that helped her understand how global markets worked and impacted both the economy and daily life.
“The discussions during the sessions with the professors could be mind-blowing,” she says. “A few professors were astonishing, including John Huizinga. He taught us about global economics, which, for me, was one of the most fantastic subjects I learned.”
Chebib says she thrived on the intensity of the work and always had “two hands up”—asking her professors seemingly endless questions. Despite the rigorous learning process, she says, the MBA experience was also enjoyable. “What really was amazing was all the fun we had while learning,” she says.
After graduating from Booth, Chebib started an advisory company focused on scaling startups, before joining Microsoft.
From her vantage point, Chebib knows it’s important to keep up with fast pace of changes in the industry—a necessary task for all tech companies. Embracing diversity is one way she keeps her finger on the pulse.
It’s an exciting time for Microsoft as the company keeps reinventing itself, with continuous innovation, she says. “With that comes the opportunity to decide how we want to work differently and how we want to up our game to better serve and support our customers and compete in the market.” As a self-described competitive person, it’s a process she finds exciting.
“The biggest thing at Microsoft is the growth mindset—it’s a ‘learn it all’ culture,” she says. “As you learn, you move faster, you fail faster, and you continue to take the initiative. It’s all part of the growth mindset that pushes you to reinvent yourself to keep pace with the continuous innovation in the tech industry.”
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