I wish to progress my career in banking and the EMFIN will be one of my greatest assets.
Sarfaraz Ahmed

Sarfaraz Ahmed

Sarfaraz Ahmed
Nationality/Passport: Indian Year of graduation: 2014 Current Role: Group Chief Data Officer | Validus

Why did you choose to do the INSEAD Executive Master in Finance?

When I applied, I was largely driven by intellectual curiosity. I had that for quite some time, wanted to do a formal education in an area relevant to financial risk management as well, but never found the right programme at the right institution or in the right place. On hearing that INSEAD was launching a Master in Finance programme, I didn’t delay any longer.

What did you think about your classmates?

The nature of my work is quantitative and therefore, analytical at the core. So, I could relate to most of the other EMFIN participants – whose jobs are also analytical in nature. A very impressive group, I like how some of them challenge the status quo and think out-of-the-box. With my EMFIN classmates at INSEAD, I felt I was in great company.

What are your thoughts on the curriculum?

The curriculum design is perfect. The modules work for people who live a great distance away but also allow locals like me to attend classes with little disruption. Being here in Singapore has enabled me to attend INSEAD events between modules, not only on finance but also on other topics that fascinate me. For instance, I attended a seminar on big data and venture capital over one weekend. While I was there, I learnt of quite a number of other events lined up as well. I’ve even gone to the INSEAD library to work a few times!

How did you find the leadership content of the fifth and final module?

In fact, I opted to do some leadership content in the fourth module as well. I think it is one of the programme’s strengths. Most other schools don’t include leadership in their Masters in Finance. I found the leadership courses to be a good refresher on concepts that I had forgotten. I probably knew them deep down but had never consciously practised them. The negotiation course, especially, provided me with the tools I didn’t have before.

What did it feel like to graduate?

The graduation ceremony was an emotional highlight after many months of hard work – and sacrifice of leisure and family time. It was all the more moving when I realised I wouldn’t be seeing my classmates quite so regularly again.

How has the programme helped you to develop your career?

While I was still doing the programme, I made a small career change. I’m still in risk management, but my new role is more about corporate and institutional risk than my previous job. It’s an area where a lot of knowledge is required, so the programme has been very relevant and helpful. In fact, my final project was on risk management and it enabled me to brush up on some information about regulatory issues that I had particularly wanted to find out about.

What next?

My next career move is flexible. I’ve been conscious about leveraging the knowledge and awareness gained at INSEAD to focus on my next area of interest. What I know is that I wish to progress my career in banking and the EMFIN will be one of my greatest assets.