Educational background: Boston College, Finance and Economics
Prior work experience: Accenture, Strategy Consultant
Current or most recent position: Depa United Group, Managing Director of Strategy
I was drawn to MIT Sloan because of its international student population. Upon visiting the MIT Sloan campus, I quickly realized that the international student body was even larger than statistics had led me to believe because there were many dual citizens like me with international backgrounds and cultures. I truly felt I belonged at MIT Sloan and found that numbers and statistics don’t necessarily reflect a school’s ambience. At MIT Sloan, what I experienced was genuine and pretty amazing.
One experience at MIT Sloan actually changed my life. I was part of a small student group that attended a U.S.-Arab Economic Forum in Detroit my first year. Organized by Ken Morse of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, the trip was open to anyone who was interested. Being of Syrian origin, and having lived in the Middle East for part of my life, I was very motivated to participate. At the forum, I met many fascinating and influential people, including the future minister of the United Arab Emirates and many other leaders who play key roles in Middle East economics. I observed many men and women trying to improve our societies and economies. It was there that I decided to return to the Middle East after graduation and pursue my career. Seeing the economic and business women leaders was inspiring and drew me back to the region so that I could make a difference.
I am very involved in the 85 Broads network, an international network of more than 6,000 business school graduates representing 450 companies worldwide. As head of the Middle East chapter of this organization, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some very powerful women in the region. I am very motivated by these women and amazed at how often these busy individuals are willing to jump in and help. As a group, we’ve helped homeless children in Kenya through a member working there and gotten involved in almost anything that our members support. It’s a great group. We recently published a book More Than 85 Broads, which is a compilation of observations and perspectives from 100 of the most thought-provoking women in the world. The Wall Street Journal recently reviewed it, and we are currently hosting book launches in all of the countries where we have member chapters.
I recently joined the MIT Educational Council, and as part of this group, hope to encourage Arab women to apply to MIT Sloan. I feel this is especially important for Arab women who need to know they have the same opportunities available to them as men. Both my husband and I are MIT Sloan grads, and we made the choice to make our life in Dubai, which is wonderful. Who knows what the future will bring, but for now, our calling is here.