Dana Haidar is no stranger to new challenges. After growing up in Lebanon and working for 14 years in war-torn Beirut, she moved to Qatar in 2006 and established Almaha Insurance Brokers. Today, as the firm's general manager, she is always looking to improve herself and broaden her perspective, which led her to the Reimagining Strategy programme at Harvard Business School (HBS) Executive Education. She opened up about the eye-opening experience she had in the programme.

Q. Why did you choose to apply to this programme?

HBS Executive Education is a prestigious name, so it was just a matter of finding the right programme. I didn't want something very technical. When I came across Reimagining Strategy, I felt that it would apply to just about any business—particularly a business that seems stuck but doesn’t really know where it's stuck. Also, I had read a lot of positive things about Professor Cynthia Montgomery, and that contributed to my decision.

Q. What were your specific goals upon entering the programme?

I arrived with no expectations because I hadn't participated in an executive education programme for many years. To be honest, I arrived with a little arrogance. Because I had been in my industry for 25 years, I wasn't sure the programme would have much to offer me. But I was also curious and very hopeful. In the end, I wasn't disappointed at all.

Q. Did you experience any "a-ha!" moments?

I experienced more "a-ha!" moments than you can imagine because the sessions were very interactive. My fellow participants represented so many different industries and offered insights that were completely different from my own. All of this opened my eyes to perspectives and ideas that aren’t common in my country. It was really an amazing experience.

Q. Who might benefit from this programme?

The programme doesn't focus on one particular industry, so executives from any industry will benefit if they come with an open mind and a vivid imagination. This is essential for understanding how to translate the messages and lessons. On the first day, when we described our aspirations for this programme, three of my living group mates mentioned that they had thought not only about their businesses but also about me and my business. That came as a surprise to me.

Q. What did you think about the case study method of teaching?

The case study method was superb. It was interactive, and the feedback and different opinions from faculty and participants were very stimulating. I had wondered if it would be difficult to sit in class for such long hours, but that wasn't an issue at all.

Q. How did you manage to step away from work and immerse yourself in the programme?

One of the reasons I chose this programme in particular was that it was very short, and I thought it would be easier to commit to a short programme. The time difference between Boston and my country is eight hours, so I asked my employees to keep their communication to a minimum. I needed to be able to delegate and step away. Otherwise, I would never have time to pursue higher education or improve myself.

Q. Did the programme's amenities and accommodations meet your expectations?

I didn't know what to expect in terms of accommodations. But it was far more luxurious than I had imagined. It was very clean, and the accommodations were generous. Everything was available in abundance—stationery, food, drinks, and a variety of other things. I knew there would be amenities, but I didn't expect that the rooms would be similar to staying in a hotel. Whatever I needed was available. It was perfect.

Source : https://www.exed.hbs.edu/assets/testimonials/Pages/reimagining-strategy-dana-haidar.aspx

Image Source : https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/442403613550206977/-YjT3kSg.jpeg