International Business Association Sponsors Talk on Business Trends in the Middle East and North Africa
Dr. Abdul Malek Al-Jaber, a Palestinian businessman, former CEO of Zain Jordan, the country’s leading telecommunications provider, and member of the World Economic Forum, gave a talk on business trends in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) on April 30th at the Merage School. Co-sponsored by the Merage School’s International Business Association and the FTMBA office in collaboration with the Olive Tree Initiative, the presentation offered deep insight into one of the fastest growing areas in the world.
“The trends that Dr. Al-Jaber highlighted align really well with the Merage School’s strengths in entrepreneurship and IT,” said Abeer Abu Shmeis, a member of the Merage School’s International Business Association. “His talk is in line with our School’s relentless effort to stay on top of global trends. The Middle East and MENA region get a fair share of news coverage, but very little is shared about the good things and business opportunities there. I hope that my classmates and the audience learned a bit more about the region and that this talk sparks some interest and future initiatives.”
Among the topics Dr. Al-Jaber discussed were:
• The business environment and major trends in the MENA region, along with short- and long-term business opportunities.
o There is a growing focus on investments in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Mobile and
o U.S. VC firms and businesses interested in large acquisitions are increasingly attracted to the region.
• The presence of International/American companies in the MENA region and regional businesses that have global presence.
• The upsides and challenges for MBA students pursuing jobs in the MENA region.
o With U.S. companies such as Yahoo and Adobe expanding in the region, there will be higher demand for
professionals with exposure to both worlds.
o eCommerce, social media, and digital media are areas of growth and expertise is needed.
o There is growing demand for health care and IT integration
“We were thrilled to have Dr. Al-Jaber on our campus speaking to our MBA students and the students from the UC Irvine Olive Tree Initiative,” said Gary Lindblad, assistant dean and director of the Merage School’s Full-Time MBA Program. “We are learning more about doing business in the MENA region and encouraging entrepreneurial growth that creates jobs and opportunities.”
Dr. Abdul Malek Al-Jaber is founder and chairman of MENA Apps, the first company to focus on customer relations management, social media and its applications in modern business as well as the first to introduce Arabic API in the MENA Region. MENA Apps specializes in consultancy, content market research, applications development, telecom services and media services, as well as a multitude of other services related to ICT across the region. Previously, he served as COO of Zain Group and CEO of Zain Jordan. He also served as CEO and vice chairman of the board of the Paltel Group. He currently serves as chairman of the Golden Wheat Mills Company and chairman of the board of Holy Land and United for Energy Services. He is a member of the board of the Cairo Amman Bank in Jordan, and founder of Al Rafah Bank, the first micro-finance bank in the region. Dr. Al-Jaber is a member of the Board of Trustees of Aal El Beit University and a member of the Arab Business Council, The World Economic Forum, The Arab Technology Forum and The Young Presidents Organization.
Dr. Al-Jaber is a graduate of Jordan University of Science and Technology, McGill University, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and the International School of Management in Paris. He holds a Doctor of Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration degree, as well as a Bachelor of Engineering and a Master of Science in Engineering.
For more information about the Merage School’s Full-Time MBA Program visit mba.merage.uci.edu. for more information about the Merage Student Association visit merage.uci.edu/msa.