Stanford MBA students visit Careem for insights on growth, accountability and entrepreneurship in the Middle East

March 30, 2023

It was a bustling day at Careem’s Dubai office as we welcomed 32 graduate students and faculty from Stanford Business School’s class of 2023 for a special academic session which formed part of their curriculum. The aim was to help them learn more about Careem’s growth and adaptability to regional needs and requirements, along with the entrepreneurial environment in the region.

During the session, our CEO and co-founder, Mudassir Sheikha, shared valuable lessons he learned through Careem’s journey over the past 10 years. Colin Judd, our Vice President of Corporate Affairs, also joined the discussion, where he highlighted the challenges and opportunities that come with working closely with members of the government in the region.

Mudassir emphasized the importance of integrating responsibility for the region into the purpose of a business. He also talked about the process behind the development of Careem’s values and how they helped create a space that enabled and empowered colleagues to  thrive.

Colin gave the students a unique insight into the workings of the government in the MENA region. He explained how working closely with them as allies has helped bring genuine change to the ecosystem, especially in the UAE, which has become a prime location for budding entrepreneurs.

The students were curious about what Mudassir had to unlearn from his time in Silicon Valley, and what he had to learn here. He explained that the tech culture was becoming a rat race, purely competition-based and that the purpose was missing. He also talked about the “Careem Mafia” – a term that’s been used to describe former colleagues that have gone on to build over 100 different startups, and helped create a more value-driven startup ecosystem. Mudassir also talked about the challenges that come with being an entrepreneur and how his journey with Careem has been a learning experience for him. 

‘There’s so much work to be done in our markets that we want to focus here and simplify the experience for all talent. We want to make things better here first.” – Mudasssir Shekiha, CEO of Careem. 

The session ended with a moment of celebration as Mudassir was awarded Stanford Business School’s very first “MENA Entrepreneur of the Year” award by the faculty advisor, Dean Paul Oyer. The students were thrilled to be part of this moment of recognition and congratulated Mudassir on his achievement.

Mudassir thanked the team and acknowledged the efforts of everyone at Careem who has been instrumental in the success of the organisation.