01 Mar 2016

A Club for the Cosmos

Re: Khaled Al Hashmi (GMP 11)
by Robert S. Benchley


In May, as Khaled Al-Hashmi (GMP 11, 2011) was introducing the UAE Space Agency at the Global Space and Satellite Forum in Abu Dhabi, another launch was taking place inside the confines of the larger conference. The Harvard Business School Aerospace Alumni Group, the brainchild of Ideanco CEO Maher Ezzeddine (PLDA 17, 2014), was having a liftoff of its own. The group’s activities will focus on three industry clusters: civil aviation, defense/security, and space exploration.

“I wanted to remain engaged with the HBS community,” says Ezzeddine, whose company has helped aerospace companies develop growth strategies for more than a decade. “I was looking for a Harvard club to join, and I realized there wasn’t an aerospace club. I decided the best way for me to fit in was to start one.”

With “Passion for Exploration and Innovation” as its slogan, the group—which already has more than 300 members, according to Ezzeddine, who serves as its inaugural president—will have a primary office in Washington, D.C., and regional offices in France, Singapore, and the UAE. The strategy of announcing the opening of an office within the context of a larger industry event will continue in March at the Satellite 2016 conference outside Washington, D.C., and at subsequent forums in Paris and Singapore.

“This is the most effective way for us to engage with alumni in the industry,” says Ezzeddine. It is also a way to attract sponsors—necessary because the group charges no membership fees. “Innovation and reinvention are imperative for everything we will do,” he says. “We will provide our members access to world-class resources, knowledge, and experience in both aviation and space. We are also seeking a vice president for innovation—something unusual for an alumni club, but it is what this industry is based on.”

A website for the club is under construction. For more information or to join, visit the Harvard Business School Aerospace Alumni Group on LinkedIn.

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Current HBS students interested in opportunities in space can join the Aerospace and Aviation Club. Copresidents are Yosuke Hosoi (HBS 2016), who has interned at ASTROSCALE and Planetary Resources, and Alexander Wulz (HBS 2016), an engineer from GE Aviation; Nikhil Sachdeva (HBS 2016), an engineer with work experience at Boeing and Rolls Royce, is the CFO. For more information, email the club at aero@studentclubs.hbs.edu.

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