Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Hamza El Mahboubi, INSEAD

Hamza El Mahboubi


“Moroccan Engineer, Impact driven person, I believe every challenge, hurdle or setback is an opportunity.”

Hometown: Born and brought up in a small Moroccan town called ‘Sidi Bennour’

Fun Fact About Yourself: I remember getting lost on my first visit to Barcelona. It was around 3 am, my phone died and every single person I approached to ask for direction didn’t speak English. I thought I would spend that night on the streets.  I was desperately walking when I heard a Moroccan song coming from a car. The Moroccan driver gave me a ride to my hotel.

Undergraduate School and Major: I have an Engineering degree from Ecole Hassania des Travaux Publics in Morocco.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Lead Civil Engineer at JESA (a Joint-Venture between OCP and Worley)

INSEAD is one of the most culturally and professionally diverse MBA programs in the world. How do you see these global perspectives enhancing the value of your business education over the next year? The world is more connected than ever. Furthermore, the issues we are facing today such as climate change, pandemics, and demographic shifts are global challenges that don’t concern just one particular region or country. Tackling these challenges in a fast-paced and highly-connected business landscape requires leaders with a global outlook.  Being a melting pot of cultures and professional backgrounds, INSEAD provides a safe environment to develop and practice critical skills like cultural awareness and responsiveness and managing divergent work styles.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of INSEAD’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The Personal Leadership Development Program (PLDP), which runs parallel to the MBA’s academic curriculum, is a set of courses and individual and group coaching sessions designed to enhance self-awareness and awareness of others and to develop leadership skills. The program kicks off in P0 (before joining the campus) with the PPIN (Personal and Professional Identity Narrative) where we have to reflect on our vision, values, identities and leadership journey. I believe that the PLDP is an indispensable tool to develop the necessary skills to succeed as a leader.

What has been your first impression of the INSEAD MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best INSEAD story so far. INSEAD is the business school for the world, and I felt this global dimension when connecting with INSEAD MBA students and alumni. I have met with a French engineer who transitioned into consulting in Jakarta after his MBA, a Moroccan national who works now as investment banking associate in London, and a student from the middle east who plans to settle in Europe.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at INSEAD? I heard so much about The INSEAD Student Impact Fund (ISIF) from students and alumni and I am looking forward to joining this group.

ISIF provides students with first-hand experience of investing in early stage social and environmental enterprises across various sectors such as Education, Healthcare, Energy and Sustainability. The club consists of five teams that work on Deal Sourcing, Due Diligence, Impact Assessment, Portfolio Management and Fundraising.

I am really excited about the opportunity to work alongside people interested in impact investing and to meet with founders who are making a real impact in their communities.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Throughout my career I had the opportunity to participate in industrial and infrastructure projects that have shaped Morocco and Africa, and I am very proud of my contribution to the advancement of my country and my society. Yet, the achievement I am most proud of stems from my desire to have a positive impact on my community. Being a TED enthusiast, I always dreamt of hosting a TEDx event that promotes idea sharing, celebrates thought leadership and fosters collaboration and innovation.

In 2019, by showcasing that the mission of TEDx resonates with the values of JESA, the company I used to work for, I managed to convince the managing director to host a TEDx event at JESA. I am proud to see my dream become a reality, and I am proud that JESA is hosting the first business TEDx in Africa.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? Coming from an engineering background, an MBA at INSEAD will help me to polish up my strengths and bridge my knowledge gaps. This transformational journey will enable me to meet and connect with outstanding individuals and to substantially expand my network.

One of my career goals is to embark on an entrepreneurial journey and start a business venture that reflects my values and my ambitions. I plan to focus on energy transition strategies and helping businesses unlock their potential.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? INSEAD is the only MBA program I applied to

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into INSEAD’s MBA program? Take the time to reflect on what you want to get out of your MBA journey and try to get in touch with students and alumni. They have been in your shoes and the insights and information they provide is invaluable.

All in all, the application process can be very long and demanding, but if you consider it as an opportunity for learning, self-discovery, and networking you will definitely enjoy it.


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.