Areen Shahbari, MBA

Areen Shahbari is a business consultant, the founder and CEO of Cactus International, and an instructor at the Harvard Extension School, Harvard Professional Development Programs, Stanford University Continuing Studies, and Simmons School of Business. Shahbari's research, teaching, and consulting focus on entrepreneurship, strategy, marketing, and the intersection of business and psychology. Shahbari speaks at local and international conferences and has led workshops and training programs in the United States, Chile, Jordan, Palestine, Morocco, Turkey, and Mexico. She is also the chief executive officer of, a company that she founded in 2013 to promote women's entrepreneurship and leadership in the Middle East and North Africa regions. Through Cactus, she trains and consults women on how to start and grow scalable and sustainable businesses. Prior to her teaching and entrepreneurial career, Shahbari worked for over ten years in the media industry as a journalist, a TV programming director and a TV host of six TV shows, where she interviewed hundreds of professionals on topics such as politics, law, psychology, business, and gender equality. Shahbari received three Excellence in Teaching awards from Simmons School of Business and two letters of commendation for her distinguished teaching performance at the Harvard Extension School. She is fluent in three languages, holds a BA in psychology and communication, and an MBA in entrepreneurship from Simmons School of Business, where she was a Fulbright scholar and an inductee of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society.


  • MBA Simmons School of Management