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Sana El Hajj, a teacher, financial consultant, and mentor, passed away on February 6, 2024.
She had been a lecturer of accounting and finance at the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB), American University of Beirut, since 2006. Over the course of a 23-year career, which began at the Lebanese American University (LAU) in 2001, Sana had acquired extensive experience teaching accounting, finance, and related subjects. Her contributions to practice included extensive research of various Lebanese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and case studies published with Ivey Publishing in 2018 and 2020, respectively. The former was listed in the Harvard Publishing Review Store and Harvard Business Education Publishing. She was also a member of OSB's The Case Hub that promotes case writing and teaching.
Dr. Yusuf Sidani, OSB dean, mourns Sana saying, “Sana was an exceptional educator, distinguishing herself through her dedication and commitment. The last couple of years were even more remarkable in her career as she embarked on numerous new projects that will have a lasting impact on students and the school as a whole."
El Hajj was the founder and organizer of the famous Big4&After fun-filled, day-long treasure hunt that is organized by the Accounting Track at OSB, in collaboration with PwC and EY–two of the Big Four accounting firms worldwide. Since 2011, Big4&After, the only-of-its-kind accounting competition in Lebanon and the MENA region, has dared to provide 64 jobs and internships at multinational accounting firms to graduating business students, offering them an unparalleled opportunity to launch from OSB into a bright future.
Sana's background was in the banking industry, as a credit analyst at BLOM Bank (London) and a Eurobond trader at SAMBA (London). She also attended the Associate Development Program at Citicorp Investment Bank (London). Starting in 2001, Sana shifted her attention to the private sector.
In addition to her academic career, Sana had a wide experience as a consultant, advising in optimal business processes, budgeting, financial forecasting, implementation, and monitoring of internal controls and also conducted professional workshops and seminars. She was on the advisory board of many privately held firms, offering consultancy to upper management to help make more informed operational and strategic decisions in planning, assessment, and review. She contributed to major financial decisions such as capital investments/acquisitions, capital sales, and asset valuations and also lead teams in restructuring existing models and implementing turnaround business plans for new and ongoing operations.
Sana was a founding member of the Lebanese Private Sector Network (LPSN) and a member of its executive committee. LPSN was created to respond to the economic collapse and its impacts and to lobby towards long-term change within the Lebanese economy.
Sana was also a member of the BOD of Wake, a non-profit organization and a cultural and educational center that strives to enforce a culture of dialogue and acceptance of religious diversity among the Lebanese.
As a financial consultant to a couple of regional SMEs, El Hajj was always keen on identifying and resolving problems that relates to financial reporting and corporate governance.
She holds a BA in economics from AUB ('85) and an MBA from LAU ('99).
Her memory will be a blessing to her students and colleagues. Sana is survived by her mother, Dr. Haifaa Badri El Hajj; her husband, Mr. Jihad Ibrahim; her son, Mr. Jamil Ibrahim; her daughters, Ms. Haifaa Ibrahim Berbari and Ms. Nayla Ibrahim; and her sisters, Dr. Ghada El-Hajj Fuleihan and Ms. Maha El Hajj Al Barazi.
You can watch Sana in her latest contribution at WIDS 2023 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmDekYHMmv4.