Transforming a region
Kellogg-Recanati alumnus Mustafa Deeb ’12 helps Palestinian businesses reach overseasBy Dan Campana
2/24/2014 - When Mustafa Deeb wanted to transform his region, he turned to the same school that helped transform his life.
Kuwait native Deeb enrolled in the Kellogg-Recanati International Executive MBA program offered at Tel Aviv University in 2010 when he wanted to switch from tech to business. He soon realized the value the program could have for Palestinian business leaders from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
“I classify my experience in KR as life-transformative,” Deeb said.
After earning his degree, Deeb saw an opportunity to condense the program’s core lessons into a three-month version. He pitched the three-month KR executive development program as part of USAID’s Compete project, a five-year program to strengthen the Palestinian economy.
Led by professors from Kellogg and Recanati University, Deeb’s program has had 55 participants in fields ranging from commercial agriculture to information and communications technology since it launched in 2012.
“The value that Kellogg brings to the table is immense,” Deeb said. “The feedback we get from participants is just amazing.”
On an excursion to India for one of his Kellogg-Recanati classes, Deeb saw small businesses reaching out internationally, taking advantage of opportunities he felt Palestinian companies didn’t realize they had.
“The strength of the Kellogg program showed me how much Palestinian companies are missing on international opportunities,” Deeb said. “Due to the lack of a strong business program, the skills needed for these companies are not there for them to grow out of the local market.”
After graduating, Deeb joined DAI, an American company leading the largest USAID program for private sector development in the West Bank and Gaza. He works with Palestinian software companies on strategies to help them compete on regional and global levels.
Paul Christensen, associate dean and executive director of Global Programs, praised Deeb’s program. “It’s exciting to see some of the same business and leadership lessons taught in the Kellogg-Recanati EMBA program now being made available to aspiring Palestinian high-tech entrepreneurs.”
The recent completion of the program’s second run now has Deeb looking ahead to the next version later this year. He said it would be specifically designed for startups, where earlier programs took in business owners and executives.
It’s part of an improvement process Deeb hopes to continue with each class.
“In every iteration, we analyze the results very carefully in order to learn from our mistakes and make the next one much stronger,” he said.