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Dina Farid

Degree:

Diploma in Financial Strategy

Location:

France

Industry:

Legal

Year:

2016

By Dina Farid

From law to finance…to valuing the Airbus A380

As a lawyer focusing on project finance in Africa, I was looking for a program to give me a deep financial understanding about valuation of projects and bridging the infrastructure-financing gap. The program is rigorous and intense as we were studying term long modules in one week covering both theory and practice. The modules get into the depth of the principles and crystalizes the concepts in its most complex form.

Coming from a legal background, I knew it was going to be difficult stepping into a finance program at a business school, but nothing could have prepared me for the intellectual challenge of studying finance at Oxford. The examination marking criteria is unforgiving so I had to push far beyond my limits to meet the Oxford masters level exam conventions. It was one of the most challenging yet most incredible experiences as the way the program is structured and taught took me from starting off with hopelessly struggling with foreign financial concepts to graduating with a distinction.

Today whether I am advising an African government on financial regulations or an investor on a transaction, I am able to visualize the timeline of cash flows, associated risks and the underlying rationale behind financial decisions.

During studying the program, I took time off from my legal career to work with my father in launching New Giza University in Egypt. The “Oxford thinking” and “Oxford doing” immediately came to life when the opening of the university in 2016 collided with an economic crisis in Egypt followed by a historic currency devaluation doubling its operating costs.

In addition to academic excellence, the school gives the opportunity to hear directly from business leaders such as Michael Bloomberg, Colin Coleman from Goldman Sachs, Stephen Schwarzman from Blackstone and US Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew. Given my focus on Africa, I joined the African Oxford Business Network. From learning about South African politics to the Nigerian foreign currency regulations, the African Oxford Business Network helped me understand the concepts of the modules in the context of emerging markets and developing countries which is one of the most valuable exposures that I couldn’t have gotten elsewhere and I am now part of the Baker McKenzie Africa Initiative.

From Skype study sessions at 4am to accommodate different time zones to learning how to value the Airbus A380, studying at Said Business School was an experience of a lifetime.

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