A Boothie’s Effort to support the Arab Community in Business

A Boothie’s Effort to support the Arab Community in Business

Marhaba Boothies, my name is Amir, and I’m a recent Booth graduate from the Class of 2022, where I served as the Co-Chair of the MENA Group (Middle East North Africa) and an Admissions Fellow responsible for the Country Captains for Middle East student admissions.

Amir Akleh, Booth ’22

I’m excited to share with The Booth Experience about an initiative – GoBIC – that I helped co-found and develop during my time at Booth. GoBIC is an organization that aims to facilitate and support the Arab community – Muslims and Christians – in the business ecosystem by increasing our presence in business-oriented industries, more specifically, in Banking, Investing, and Consulting (“BIC”). 

A little about me, prior to Booth, I was working in Israel’s Ministry of Finance, focusing on taxation – where I was able to incorporate both of my undergrad degrees (Law and Accounting) – and make a sizeable impact on the government budget. Career shifting and network expansion played a vital role in leading me to Booth and eventually to McKinsey in the New York Office.

In addition, I have been delighted to interview prospective candidates through the Admissions Fellows program and increase awareness in the Middle East region by acting as a Global Booth Ambassador. Likewise, the Management Consulting Group (MCG) helped me prepare for a career pivot to consulting, so the least I could do was serve as an MCG Family Lead, supporting and assisting the first-years in securing their dream jobs.

Now, back to GoBIC. On January 7, 2022, we launched our first official conference as a kick-off for this new initiative. For the event, we recruited many Arabs working in the BIC industries. The conference included key speakers from all three industries, major news outlets’ representatives, and recruiters from top-notch firms.

We had panel discussions, debates, and brainstorming sessions on how to best design the future roadmap for GoBIC. Post the conference, we established an active communications channel, started building out mentorship programs, created tools for prospective employers, and leveraged our connections with employers to generate job opportunities.

GoBIC Inaugural Conference

With so many bright minds combined working to increase the presence of Arabs in top schools and industries, the future is looking bright. 

Booth has been a massive supporter of this initiative. First, Booth’s “Pay it Forward” mantra inspired me to start contemplating ways to help others in my community. Second, pursuing an MBA degree is one of the strategies to help GoBIC meet its objective. Through my work as an Admissions Fellow, I expanded my outreach network and credibly approached Arabs interested in exploring BIC industries. Finally, Booth has helped me cultivate the soft skills required to connect and engage with people from different backgrounds, facilitate the gathering of the GoBIC members, and connect with prospective candidates. 

In addition to Booth, it cannot go without mentioning the push of Maram El Sheikh, with whom I co-founded this initiative. Thank you for all of your support.

If you’re from a country or community typically underrepresented in business and business school, Admissions Fellows can be a great resource through which you can connect with Ambassadors and Country Captains, who can share more about our experiences and discuss any questions you have. You can get in touch with Admissions Fellows here.

Overall, this initiative means a lot to me because I have benefited so much from pursuing a career in business and an MBA at a top program in the US. Our community is significantly underrepresented in business, and I hope to change this.