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Nisrin Hala

  • Nationality: British/Lebanese
  • Job Pre-programme: Manager for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe (SMBCE)
  • Job Post-programme: Head of Africa Desk, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Professional background:

Nisrin began her career in the media industry before moving into the financial sector around eight years ago. She joined SMBCE in 2007 and played an instrumental role in setting up the Africa Desk Group within the Global Trade Finance Department. Key responsibilities include originating transactions and managing a multi-billion dollar US portfolio of commercial and central banks, multilateral institutions and corporates. In June 2012, Nisrin completed the Corporate Finance Programmes at London Business School.

Expanding knowledge

When I joined SMBCE, I got involved in a line of business that was entirely different to the subjects I had studied academically. There were some transferable skills, of course, but I wanted to expand my knowledge in a way that was more relevant to my job. After looking at the academic programme, I found that the Corporate Finance Programmes at London Business School corresponded more closely to the requirements of my role.

I was very satisfied with the content of the programme and the way that it was organised and structured. The first programme on financial analysis was very relevant to my day-to-day job because my customer base is composed of financial institutions and, after a few classes, I began to feel more confident about analysing the customers myself rather than relying on my credit analysts. Now I can challenge them on their corporate analyses using the knowledge of balance sheets and financial statements I have gained from the programme.

Alternative viewpoints

Aside from the educational value of the programme there is the networking opportunity. I have met bankers from global financial institutions and we have had the opportunity to discuss the ongoing credit crisis and what’s happening in the financial world, which all helps in giving you a better perspective. Some of my classmates worked in the same area of banking, and naturally we had customers in common. I was able to have very insightful conversations about our common clients, sharing views on their business environments and how we as bankers manage our coverage of markets, generally.

I have also met people such as lawyers and marketers, which means you get many alternative view points from different angles. It was refreshing and stimulating to share and listen to insightful opinions amongst classmates. The diverse backgrounds were of much added value to all the participants on the programme, as every one of us – bankers, lawyers, strategists, technicians and so on – has been able to contribute and assist others when needed, in their field of expertise.

Immensely invaluable

The members of faculty are all very impressive too. Chris Higson (Associate Professor of Accounting Practice), for example, is a very interesting man. Financial accounting can be a very dry subject, but he treats it in a storytelling way and I never lost interest in going to his classes and listening to him. One of his strengths is that he understood there were students from different backgrounds and not everyone was particularly acquainted with finance; he was able to teach in a way that was accessible to students of all levels.

The programme has been immensely valuable to me already. It is definitely something that I can trade on in the future, especially with the visibility it has created for me. Doing the programme at London Business School sharpened my ability to think critically, to analyse, and to look at things beyond their face value. I can see the impact unconsciously in everything I do, whether at work or outside.

Corporate Finance Portfolio

The programmes within our Corporate Finance Portfolio are: