To say that Samer Asfour (MBA 2001) is an overachiever might be an understatement. While he was born second of four brothers, he almost always finishes first when he has a choice in the matter.
Asfour was first in his class in primary school while also competing in basketball, soccer and Ping-Pong. And he learned early on how to speak English, French and basic German, in addition to his native language of Arabic.
“It was never easy,” he said. “However, I always believed I was different and I can always stay different. Later on in life, I decided that I could be a positive citizen. Therefore, I had a mission to change people’s lives.”
Asfour went on to college, graduating first in his class from the University of Jordan with a degree in economics, statistics and political science. He also holds two master’s degrees: one in international securities, investments and banking from England’s University of Reading and an MBA from Daniels, where he was, of course, first in his class.
“After working for seven years at the Central Bank of Jordan, I realized a management degree is important and I needed the depth an MBA provides,” Asfour said.
He applied to 16 universities, was accepted by 15 and decided to tour all 15.
“I came to Denver and simply loved it. I found my heart in Denver and, to be honest, Daniels also offered me a good package to be a teaching assistant and a research assistant. I loved this combination as it was imperative to take me to the next level,” Asfour said.
The next level for Asfour came quickly. He has held numerous high-level positions in the past few years, including deputy city manager for economic development planning and investments at the Greater Amman Municipality, senior economic advisor to the prime minister of Jordan, CEO of the Jordan Investment Board, and executive director for the government sector at PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Middle East.
More recently, Asfour was personally appointed in King Abdullah II’s office as director of the economic and social directorate at the Royal Hashemite Court. In May 2018, he joined Tesla as the regional director for the Middle East.
“Tesla has always been a passion for me. It was His Majesty King Abdullah’s vision, and I executed it and brought Tesla to Jordan in 2015,” Asfour said. “After three years, Jordan has more than 10,000 electric cars of all kinds. My priority is to turn the Middle East into a solid platform for Tesla on all its lines of business. I see Tesla as a necessity for countries in the Middle East. It is not a luxury at all, and in the end, it is an energy company.”
Born and raised in Jordan, Asfour described his parents as loving people who taught their sons respect, trust and the importance of community. Asfour has taken their words to heart by claiming the community he’s in, whether it’s a corporation, country or university.
At Daniels, he was so involved that he would spend 18 hours a day on campus, which earned him the nickname “the mayor of Daniels.”
“I recall my meeting with Samer outside the U.S., discussing with him his various issues and considerations for choosing a graduate program,” said Mark Lee Levine, professor of real estate at Daniels. “I knew he was and would be a rising star—here and in Jordan. Knowing Samer and the members of his family, including his visits to our home and our visit to his home in Jordan, simply reaffirmed my prognostication for his continued success. We are proud that Daniels is a part of what has helped shape Samer.”
“Do not forget that I lived in the U.S. during the 9/11 days,” Asfour said. “The love I saw from Denver and the Daniels community, I’ll never forget. I give back because this is my family.”