Peter Thabet, MBA’24, recalls his journey from Cairo to graduate student Commencement speaker

Peter Thabet
Peter Thabet, MBA’24

Photo Credit: Dan Holmes

By Julian Cardillo
May 15, 2024

Peter Thabet, MBA’24, recalls the mentorship he received from his Brandeis International Business School professors when asked about his most defining experiences as a graduate student.

His pursuit of two academic concentrations — finance as well as strategy and innovation — was encouraged by professors Ben Gomes-Casseres and Grace Zimmerman.

“Initially, I was most interested in strategy,” said Thabet, a native of Cairo, Egypt and a Fulbright Scholar. “But after talking to my professors, I got to understand different routes that will take me to being in a strategy position, and one of these routes was finance. I was advised to consider finance as it provides a fuller understanding of the big picture — you are usually exposed to more, which enables you to talk about and execute on strategy in a more meaningful ways.”

Prior to coming to Brandeis, Thabet worked in Egypt’s Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center leading an accelerator program administered by the Egyptian Ministry of Communication.

Several factors led Thabet ultimately to choose Brandeis for his graduate studies. 

An article naming Brandeis International Business School a top 10 graduate school piqued his interest. The curriculum offering a global lens seemed like a natural fit for someone looking to start a new life in a new country. And then there was the school’s  reputation for robust faculty mentorship. 

“To have actual relationships with the professors — as an international student, I knew I wanted to have these types of connections,” Thabet said. “Brandeis was the right size for the kind of mentorship and network I wanted.”

After graduation, Thabet will work as a senior finance planning and analysis specialist for the pharmaceutical company Merck. His role is part of Merck’s MBA finance rotational program.

Before Thabet restarts his professional career, he will have a chance to share his own wisdom one last time with his fellow students. After a lengthy application process, he was chosen to serve as this year’s graduate student speaker at Commencement.

Thabet won’t give away any nuggets from his speech until the morning of graduation, but says the working title for his remarks is “Three Business Lessons not about Money.”

“It’s a great honor,” Thabet said, who also received the Richard Kaufman ’58 Memorial Leadership & Academic Excellence Prize as part of being named a Commencement speaker.

“I plan to call out the professors who helped me so much. But I will also share three lessons that, yes, I learned in finance classes, but are applicable to anyone no matter where they are in their life.”