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AUC First University in Egypt to Offer FinTech Program

Ioanna Moriatis
November 5, 2017

AUC recently signed a memorandum of agreement with Luqman Weise Capital to establish the Luqman Weise FinTech Fellowships Fund. The program will begin admitting students in Spring 2018, offering 14 fellowships for Egyptian students to attend AUC in pursuit of a Master of Science in finance. Additionally, Luqman Weise Capital will be supporting the development of a FinTech concentration at AUC under the Master of Science in finance program -- the first in Egypt and among the first worldwide.

“With the help of Luqman Weise," said President Francis J. Ricciardone as he signed the historic agreement, "we will now be able to take some things we’re already doing at our business school -- we have an emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation -- and particularly in the FinTech area, we will now be able to put a greater emphasis on FinTech and establish the first concentration in degree studies, in the region, in Egypt –– thanks to you and the vision that you have to expand your industry and grow it in Egypt, and through Egypt, to the entire region."

FinTech, or financial technology, is a growing field garnering increased interest across the globe. With this fellowship and the establishment of an official program, AUC begins to break new ground in education across the Middle East and North Africa region, and enters the international discussion on the future of finance. “FinTech is going to change the way finance works,” said Mohamed Khater, Luqman Wiese Capital’s chief investment adviser. “The way we trade, the way we handle money, the way we handle transactions are going to change in the future incredibly.”

In addition to helping establish the concentration in FinTech at AUC, Luqman Weise Capital has agreed to provide support as the University develops courses and will be bringing in distinguished visiting professors to work with students as well as train faculty members in order to build a solid foundation for the program moving forward.

As it engages in this global dialogue, AUC continues to expand its reach and bolster its international presence. “This is what AUC does best,” said President Ricciardone. “It brings together people from across the world, East and West. It’s really what defines us as Egypt’s global University.”

"Not only does AUC bring together diverse and impressive individuals, but it also cultivates an academic environment that produces students who can continue to innovate in different sectors. “We are at the forefront of this FinTech movement,” said Aliaa Bassiouny '03, '05, associate professor of finance and chair of the Department of Management. “AUC finance programs are considered amongst the strongest in the country and have been recognized and ranked by various international bodies and the new program we will be able provide something that will really help our students contribute to the future of FinTech innovation, advance business and develop markets.”

Alumna Omaima Hatem ’79, ‘83, chairman and CEO of Technology Transfer for Consulting & Trading and visiting professor at the University of Edinburgh, was central in connecting AUC and Luqman Weise Capital, seeing potential for fruitful collaboration in a developing the field. Hatem is a lecturer and has served as a consultant for international organizations on engineering, education and banking services. She has established a group of diverse companies and has worked on a wide range of development projects across the world.

“Through fully sponsoring an MSc [Master of Science] in [finance] at The American University in Cairo, their company, Luqman Weise Capital, is hoping to enable young Egyptian entrepreneurs to learn the skills they need in order to contribute to the FinTech domain,” said Hatem.

Based in London, Luqman Weise Capital is a private investment fund with engineering investment portfolios that go beyond traditional wealth management offerings. Motivated by the entrepreneurial spirit and passion for growth that Luqman Weise Capital observes in the Egyptian population, the organization hopes to continue enhancing opportunities for youth in the country with the creation of this fund. “Through contributing to this program, I’m hoping that we can play a small role in advancing the banking and investment system in a great country like Egypt," said Mikihide Yamazaki, head of Luqman Weise Capital’s private equity division.

With a total of $280,000, the fund will support two cohorts of fellowship students over a period of three years. Fellowship recipients will participate in an internship with Luqman Weise Capital during the course of their studies, and top students may be eligible for employment opportunities after graduation, either with Luqman Wiese Capital or one of its sister companies. “We look forward to engaging with students through this course and through employment opportunities once they complete their studies,” said Yamazaki.

Bassiouny sees great potential for global impact with a program in FinTech, with possibilities for change beyond the business sector as well. “In my opinion, FinTech is the fastest growing sectors in the world,” she asserted. “It’s changing the way people are doing finance and business. It also has a social dimension because FinTech plays a very important role in poverty elevation. It helps people who don’t have access to financial markets better understand and benefit from these innovations.”

Through their studies and internship experience, students will have the opportunity to refine their skills and envision the impact they can make on the finance sector after graduating. “I have a strong trust in the youth of my country and their ability to innovate and create,” said Khater. “What is missing are the skills to enable these bright minds to contribute to the global value chain. Through this course, we are hoping to equip Egyptians with the necessary technical and soft skills that will enable them to become innovative in the FinTech world.”