We caught up with International Master in Finance alumnus Aly Genena to find out about what’s happening in the world of FinTech and what made him want to work in the sector. We interviewed Aly as part of the launching of EADA’s new Master in FinTech & Business Anaytics.
Aly holds a bachelor’s in Finance and Investment from Cairo University, where he studied abroad in the U.S. on an exchange programme. He currently works as a Capital Markets Analyst at CrossLend in Luxembourg. CrossLend is a FinTech company that has developed a European digital marketplace for debt on which assets are transformed into securities or other investable formats, effectively bringing together originators and investors from all over Europe on a central platform.
Can you describe your career since you graduated from EADA?
The past few years have been diverse and exciting. I acquired a wide range of experience working in both public and private institutions, and my interest in the activities of the EU grew stronger after my time at the European Investment Bank (EIB). After my contract came to an end, I was looking for an opportunity that aligned with my interests and experience, which is why I joined CrossLend, to actively contribute to the European Capital Markets Union (CMU).
What attracted you to this emerging industry?
A big part of my decision to work in FinTech came from the alignment between CrossLend’s CMU efforts and my interests. Working in the FinTech industry was also attractive to me because I like being at the forefront of innovation in finance – every year FinTechs are disrupting incumbents in the finance industry. And being a part of that change was very attractive to me.
How do you think the field will evolve over the next few years? How do you keep up in a field that is constantly changing?
FinTech is a very young industry, and it is difficult to predict how it will evolve. In my opinion, there is a lot of growth that is yet to come, underpinned by megatrends such as technological advancements and different financial behaviour brought on by the younger generation.
Of course, working in a field like FinTech that is in a constant state of change requires a certain amount of curiosity and interest. This is the only way you can keep up with the industry’s new developments.
Tell us a bit about your current position as Capital Markets Analyst at CrossLend. What are your main responsibilities?
To answer this question, I need to give a quick walkthrough of what CrossLend actually does. In the context of the European Capital Markets Union (CMU), CrossLend is rewiring the investment and lending ecosystem. We provide both debt investors and originators with a single onboarding hub, centralised due diligence and standardised data, our platform and services empower lenders to lend more, and investors to more efficiently distribute their capital.
As for my responsibilities, I work in the Analytics Department. As a team, our goal is to make sense of the data we get from debt originators. This includes analysing debt portfolios for different asset classes and deducing meaningful patterns and KPIs that support investors’ decision-making process. In addition, we also work closely with the IT and Data Science team in order to develop and test analytical tools for our digital marketplace.
How do you use what you learned at EADA in your current position?
Having grown up in Cairo and started my career there, I had not been exposed to a multicultural working environment before coming to EADA. Apart from consolidating my technical skills in the master’s programme, the focus on soft skills development in an international setting was the catalyst to my successful integration after graduation. In certain classes, such as Geo-economics & Geopolitics, I not only expanded my interests, but I gained valuable knowledge that is highly relevant in today’s globalised world.
How important are soft skills in your position?
Soft skills are very important; I would even say that they are essential. You can never underestimate their importance regardless of where you work. Being able to quickly integrate into a new environment and positively contribute to it depends largely on one’s soft skills. My soft skills are an indispensable compliment to my technical skills as I communicate daily with internal and external stakeholders.
What advice would you give to students interested in getting into FinTech?
It is important to stay up to date with the latest megatrends that are driving the industry – find out how these trends are relevant to today’s financial industry, and who is doing something about it. This will help you identify the best disruptors in the field and will demonstrate your interest and knowledge to recruiters. I would also recommend working on your coding skills. It is becoming increasingly important for finance professionals to know how to code.