Meet IESE Business School’s MBA Class Of 2020

Deema Habboub

IESE Business School

Aspiring, entrepreneurial, global mindset driven by maximizing value, innovation, creating inclusive opportunity, and improving lives.”

Hometown: Tampa Bay, FL

Fun Fact About Yourself: I renovated a house from the ground up. Including remodeling, insulation, drywall installation, plumbing, electrical, flooring, kitchen, bathrooms, painting, tiling, landscaping.

Undergraduate School and Major:

University of Florida, BS in Biology + BS in Food Science & Human Nutrition

University of South Florida, MS in Medical Sciences

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:

Business Development Manager at Harklinikken

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Throughout my career, I grew to appreciate technology as a stimulus of effective teamwork and collaboration in a network environment.  So, I diligently developed my technical skills to become instrumental in analyzing operations and implementing technical solutions to improve business processes. As a clinical research coordinator, I created workflow systems that applied data analysis and collaborative work management tools to increase enrolment in clinical trials from the clinic’s general patient body. This led to being sent to Dubai to drive growth initiatives on a global scale. While further gaining cultural intelligence in this role and introducing tailored collaboration programs with regional leaders, I managed teams to develop corporate technical solutions introducing digitization, cloud-based solutions, online consultations and e-commerce, in compliance with global health regulations.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Community! My classmates are so diverse, yet our sense of shared purpose is apparent in the level of engagement. Even before starting the program, our efforts ripple beyond our divergences and people have been consistently supportive of each other in various ways including information exchange, translation, housing, excursion planning and meet ups. I am looking forward to the relationships and originality that will arise from such a transversal, global perspective fortified with unique individual experiences.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I believe support gives us the power to push further, and I was seeking an institution promoting a strong collaborative spirit. The IESE admissions staff were exceptionally attentive throughout the admissions process. I always felt comfortable voicing my concerns and they went above-and-beyond to answer my questions with sincerity. The ongoing support and passion showed they were invested in my success and established how the values at IESE align with my own expectations, character, and goals to drive change with a humanistic approach. Likewise, my interactions with their inspirational students and their enthusiasm reaffirmed my initial impression that this place is special and made it easy to confidently choose IESE.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? The emphasis on case studies and small groups is extremely enticing because I too advocate hands-on and active learning—principles I have actively instilled to effectively improve learning outcomes. I want to embrace a multidimensional and diverse perspective and look forward to actively contribute and gain culturally attuned business acumen and ingenuity.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? My clinical experience taught me healthcare requires more than specialized knowledge. The effective and compassionate practice of medicine is best built upon the principles of a value-centered approach, cultural sensitivity, and access. I believe the same applies to business. My experience in the Middle East, an emerging market economy undergoing economic and social reform, motivated me to transform my capacity to think strategically across countries and cultures and I knew it was time to pursue an MBA. My interest is furthered by a significant lack of Arab women in Western and Arab business leadership across all industry sectors, notably technology and healthcare. More women in the classroom means more women in future top positions and more women becoming entrepreneurs, investors and decision-makers in the global sphere.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? An MBA, is a significant investment. Before committing, I put a lot of consideration into cost vs. benefit considering tuition and fees, living expenses, opportunity cost and forecasted returns. Then, putting aside the numbers, I began with evaluating why—leadership, coordination and mission-driven management have been factored into all my experiences, so what can an MBA provide that I could not attain on my own? I believe you are who you surround yourself with. Being self-aware, I thrive in a collaborative environment where I can create opportunity for others and myself. Having diverse, motivated peers seeking to become adaptable, broad-based business leaders, merging all core disciplines to drive growth initiatives across all sectors; my MBA learning experience would be priceless and possibilities endless.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? ESADE and IE

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I knew I needed to be mindful to choose a program fostering my objectives and learning style. I spent a significant amount of time researching each school online and connecting with current students and staff while comparing various qualities such as rankings, location, culture, program type, duration, and job outlooks. However, the most valuable thing I did was visit each school to get a sense of the culture and better evaluate if I would be more comfortable in one environment versus another.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? My defining moment was forgetting English. I was 8 years old when, after spending 3 years in Jordan, my parents decided to move back to the United States. I was proud of being one of the top students in my class, but became dejected when I began failing everything and feared being held back. I am fortunate my school provided me the additional support I needed quickly, as my ESL teacher was remarkable and helped me regain my confidence. She taught me what it meant to teach, and my gratitude for her support sparked my own desire to contribute to the success of others. What began as helping my younger siblings with their homework had a lasting impact on shaping my future as I discovered my own passion to support through education. I continued to nurture enthusiasm for learning as a mentor for children with learning disabilities and as a tutor for the university athletes. More recently, my passion for teaching has allowed me to create fulfilling, flexible jobs through founding a tutoring company offering students cost-efficient, personalized guidance to develop effective academic skills. Now, as these students are graduating from medical school and other professional programs, I am fortunate to see the students we served achieve their dreams and carrying forward the enduring enthusiasm to serve others.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? While I expect the program could introduce me to other intriguing possibilities, my interests forged the path of my experiences and my immediate goal is to build upon what I have learned and work in a strategy-focused role to advance healthcare through technology to increase global healthcare access, affordability and quality of care.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Ultimately, I am motivated to become a global leader leveraging a holistic and integrative approach to management to advance efforts in alleviating health disparities that fall along ethnic, socioeconomics, and national lines, whilst setting a positive precedent for women.

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