Author archives

Thank you for stopping by : ) I am Hatem Mahbouli. I am currently an investment officer at FMO, the Dutch development bank, in the Hague. Every day, I have the amazing opportunity to contribute to complicated investments with high development impact, mainly in Asia. I am sharing here some ideas, thoughts and resources. I hope you enjoy it and maybe make something with it!

Was the MBA worth it?

I graduated one year ago, so I guess it is time to take a small step back and ponder on the use and return on investment of my MBA (but the heat of  Tunis where I am now writing is not really helping).  I have read a couple of articles lately on the topic and of course their answer is more or less “no” (otherwise it is not an interesting enough article): you can train …

My experience with MOOC

MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses)  have been a big hype for the last couple of years: they are “disturbing the education models”, they are opening “huge opportunities” for new educational start-ups, everyone now can get a Harvard-degree while lying on his bed etc. Dozens of universities in Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia have announced partnerships with the large American MOOC providers, to catch the “next big thing”. You can find the list of MOOC courses here. …

Fostering Social Entrepreneurship in the New Tunisia

Just found out about this article where I am quoted here. Very good job to capture the social entrepreneurship ecosystem in Tunisia by the writers. Democratic Transition Presents an Opportunity Trying to understand a new phenomenon such as “social entrepreneurship” in post-revolutionary Tunisia is a challenging task due to the ongoing nature of the transformation, the emergence of new actors, and the changing power relations. Social entrepreneurship is not clearly defined in the Tunisian discourse: The …

Surviving Political Turmoil

Article published on Wamda.com here In Europe, outsourcing is a delicate topic. Some politicians picture it as an epidemic that must be be stopped, as new hubs in India threaten local business. On the other side of the Mediterranean, outsourcing has gained a much better reputation, as lucrative outsourcing contracts have benefitted thousands of engineers in North Africa, giving rise to a large pool of software companies that exclusively serve Europe. Captivated by the competence of …

Book Review: Confessions of a Microfinance Heretic

FINALLY, I finished this now famous Sinclair’s book yesterday. I thought it is a very easy and captivating read overall, especially that I recognized many of the names and organizations he mentioned in his book ( I confess I smiled at how he describes some of them). Hugh Sinclair whistle-blowing story started in Amsterdam, working in the advisory department of a Dutch Micro-finance Fund, so the reference to the Dutch players is quite obvious. Being myself in the …

CGAP Week : Developing Inclusive Financial Systems

I had a very enriching week in Dakar (very nice city btw!) starting January 28th. In fact, every year, CGAP  – sort of the microfinance guru center – organizes a one week training on the best practices for MFI appraisal and funding. It was good to have some basics refreshed and to learn more about the trends and the (big) challenges of the sector. Participants were very diverse, from the Ministry of Finance of Cameroon …

Time to Get Serious!

I read this article a couple of months ago and it really struck me by the gravity of the underlying problem , an issue that I have been personally noticing since I got in touch with the social business/impact investing sector: “stage ready” Vs “investment ready” entrepreneurs. “The sell is perfect, tears roll from the eyes listening to the problem statement, the model is plausible and the entrepreneur is a true believer in their cause. …

the Gross National Happiness

I am not sure how much have been written about this concept and it might be a new buzz word to generate some hype, pushing some people to think for some minutes outside of the GDP growth box: let’s measure happiness instead! Very surprisingly, I heard about this initiative – the Gross National Happiness – at the Future of Banking conference held by FMO in Amsterdam, and I was quite perplexed hearing some CEOs agree …