Sherif Ayoub, an expert in Islamic finance, credits Edinburgh with deepening his thinking – and the creation of a book from his PhD. He just wishes he'd played golf while in Scotland.
PhD, Finance and Risk Management
|Year of Graduation||2013|
Your time at the University
The decision to embark on the PhD journey was not easy. The minimum three-year commitment with the prospect of rather long days pondering one question or hypothesis with myriad, multifaceted answers, along with family commitments was certainly daunting. That being said, looking back, I can honestly say that choosing the PhD, the University of Edinburgh, and the city of Edinburgh were some of the best decisions that I have ever made.
In terms of the University itself, what is etched in my memory is the history of the place, the pride and humility of its students, the support of its staff, the close friendships (that exist to this day), and the level of effort and commitment that is required in order to be a University of Edinburgh alumnus. For the city and country, I have actually managed to live in both the city and the countryside (Dolphinton/West Linton) throughout my time at the University, and I sorely miss the splendour, the spirit and the culture of the city of Edinburgh and its people, as well as the magnificence and beauty of the countryside and the Highlands.
My favourite memories include motorcycling in the Scottish countryside and taking a stroll with my wife and daughter down the Royal Mile and Princes Street. I regret that I didn't golf in Scotland! The strangest thing I encountered was a deep fried Mars bar!
What is etched in my memory is the history of the place, the pride and humility of its students, the support of its staff, the close friendships.
Tell us about your experiences since leaving the University
In the period between the submission of my thesis and my graduation, I was accepted as a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University’s School of Government with a dual research focus of Islamic finance and the political economy of the Gulf monetary union. Upon graduation, I have returned to my original employer, Islamic Development Bank (IDB), in Saudi Arabia. I am still with IDB, although I have taken a leave of absence for approximately two years to serve as the Assistant Secretary General of the Islamic Financial Services Board in Malaysia.
Also, shortly after my graduation, I successfully published my PhD thesis as a book titled 'Derivatives in Islamic Finance' (Edinburgh University Press) and I am very pleased that its sales exceeded my expectations. This is certainly something for which I have to credit the University of Edinburgh.
Overall, my approach to finance and risk management (the focus of my PhD) has been broadened and deepened because of my studies at the University of Edinburgh. At a more general level, my thought process with regards to any subject, issue, and/or problem is always striving to capture all the relevant angles (even if hidden from view at first sight), and views and opinions with as little preconceptions as possible.
On the personal front, my family has enlarged (we are now a total of five, compared with three when we were in Edinburgh). And we are actively planning our next trip to Scotland.
The power of humankind, when conjoined with knowledge, is limitless.
Open your horizons; challenge yourself; set high goals, and achieve them; grant your family a key focus ; enjoy yourself and the city; go explore; challenge the status quo; make a difference. And don’t forget to try golf!