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Story | Education
27 August 2020

In their own words: A case for impactful learning - benefiting leaders and managers


Written by Dr. Laoucine Kerbache and Dr. Wolfgang Amann– faculty members at QF partner university HEC Paris in Qatar – ‘Doing business in Qatar - case studies for executive education’ explores business opportunities and challenges in the strategic Gulf nation.

Case studies have been used in management education for over 100 years, and it is a trend that continues in various forms even today. ‘Doing business in Qatar - case studies for executive education’ analyzes how executive education programs balance international best and next practice cases with local relevance.

A top business school has to prepare its graduates for a world which may well be partly flat … but remains at least partially spiky

Dr. Laoucine Kerbache and Dr. Wolfgang Amann

A top business school has to prepare its graduates for a world which may well be partly flat – as posited previously by journalist Thomas Friedman – but remains at least partially spiky. The above-mentioned book consists of local cases used in the programs of HEC Paris in Qatar.

Dr. Laoucine Kerbache.

Dr. Wolfgang Amann

HEC Paris’ best practice model highlights four distinct phases of learning:

  1. Clarifying the importance of a topic within the largest context of managing success.
  2. Explaining how a concept works.
  3. Practicing problem-solving and applications.
  4. Reflecting on the lessons learned, and what they mean for individuals, their teams, organizations, industries, or society at large.

At times, steps 2 and 3 might well be interchanged in order to orchestrate either a more deductive or a more inductive learning journey. Such case studies allow for unique learning experiences covering all four essential levels.

Not everybody can become a CEO; not everyone has to. But if they desire to do so, the next stages in their development, along with unlearning and relearning, must be clear

Dr. Laoucine Kerbache and Dr. Wolfgang Amann

The ‘knowing’ level discusses facts, figures and conceptual frameworks, and it’s the easiest to tackle. The ‘doing level’ ensures that learners hone their practical skills towards achieving results as merely knowing a model would never suffice. The ‘being level’ is about the kind of leader and manager that one aspires to be – for example, how much empathy should a leader show during a crisis like the current COVID-19 situation? Finally, learners benefit from the new insights on the ‘becoming level’. They ought to have an opportunity to clarify what stages come next in their development. Not everybody can become a CEO; not everyone has to. But if they desire to do so, the next stages in their development, along with unlearning and relearning, must be clear.

The book takes into account different industries, organizational sizes, ownership structures and degrees of diversification. The first case deals with Al Shaqab, a member of Qatar Foundation, which started as a small breeding center more than two decades ago and went on to become a world-class player in the equine industry, with top-notch facilities and stallions competing in the most prestigious of shows.

The subsequent case of Coastal Qatar delves on how to build a unique corporate culture and strategy within Qatar’s construction sector. The Msheireb case, which follows, deals with leadership challenges when building and operating the ‘new heart of Doha’. It familiarizes the learner with options for mastering complexity in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world. Furthermore, a related case comes to mind with regard to Qatari Diar Vinci Construction, in charge of carrying out large and highly complex construction projects in the country.

Moving on, the case of Empower World deals with a coaching start-up and allows learners to figure out further growth in that kind of a set-up. Qatar’s retail sector and a case about Mosafer is next in line. It calls for learning opportunities on strategic and operational inventory management during various phases of growth. Then there are descriptions of cases involving Salam International and the telecom sector, which reviews the transitional journey of Qtel to Ooredoo.

Insights into executive education are provided in the book written by Dr. Kerbache and Dr. Amann.

The book also includes a case on the training of Qatari investors, which are based on the dilemmas that arise when portfolio companies are merged. And finally, things are wrapped up with a case about getting entry into the Qatari market, which in turn is based on an analysis of local players and customers in a specific industry.

  • Professor Dr. Wolfgang Amann has been designing and delivering executive education seminars for more than 22 years. He had previously published several other business case books on corporate governance, complexity in global organizations, and doing business in the MENA region, next to winning the global oikos case writing competition and publishing a guide on case writing for executive education.

  • Professor Dr. Laoucine Kerbache has been full professor at HEC Paris’ main campus, for the last 22 years during which he also served as Dean and CEO of HEC Paris in Qatar. Currently, he is a founding faculty member of the Engineering Management and Decision Sciences Division at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, a member of Qatar Foundation.

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