Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane - Al Akhawayn Student Wins Arqaam Capital MENA Investment Challenge

Al Akhawayn Student Wins Arqaam Capital MENA Investment Challenge


Ifrane, April 6, 2012 – Finance student Jad Tahar Benmimoun ('12) was awarded first prize in Arqaam Capital's MENA Investment Challenge held at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane in Fall 2011.  Jad Tahar Benmimoun will travel to Dubai and Beirut from June to August 2012 for his a two-month internship with Arqaam Capital. 

Arqaam Capital, the emerging markets investment bank held its first colloquium for undergraduate and graduate finance students at Al Akhawayn University last year on November 13 and 18, 2011 and on December 17. The three-day colloquium was followed by the MENA Investment Challenge, a competition where students are asked to choose a company listed on one of the major MENA exchanges (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Morocco or Egypt) and to present an investment case, with their recommendation and supporting rationale. In their rationale , they are asked to consider the risk factors affecting the company as well as a number of different performance outcomes depending on the relevant global, regional and national macro-economic background, sector dynamics, specific company analysis, and other factors. Five Al Akhawayn students submitted their projects in January 2012. 

“Our students showed quick responsiveness to the Challenge announcement," said Wafa El Garah, Dean of the School of Business Administration. "The MENA Investment Challenge offers a valuable opportunity for our students to explore global finance, economics, and business.” 

Benmimoun was one of the five undergraduate and graduate finance students from the School of Business Administration  who took part in the colloquium based on their academic performance. They presented their findings to Arqaam Capital’s investment committee who awarded Benmimoun the first prize. Benmimoun was presented with a certificate and will attend a two-month internship in Arqaam Capital’s head office in Dubai.

"It was a great experience for me; in fact the best I ever had at Al Akhawayn," said Benmimoun. "I recommend this seminar to all business students. It is a great added value for the working environment."

The Arqaam MENA Investment Challenge was especially designed to equip students in the Arab world with practical skills to increase their employment prospects, focusing on regional equity and credit markets, derivatives, interest rates, and financial risk management. In 2011, The first Al Akhawayn student to participate in this Challenge was Nada Lahrech ('12). Lahrech also won the first prize.

“The inaugural investment challenge has been a great success and we have been very impressed by the excellent quality of the work produced by the students. Al Akhawayn University has an established reputation for producing first class graduates, and this was one of the reasons we decided to launch our business initiative [at Al Akhawayn University]," said Riad Meliti, CEO of Arqaam Capital, in 2011. 

The second MENA Region Financial Markets Colloquium is part of the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between Al Akhawayn School of Business Administration and Arqaam Capital in February 2011. The objective of the MoU is to foster cooperation between the two institutions in the areas of student training, internship opportunities at Arqaam Capital, joint research projects, co-supervision of student Master's theses, joint development of field-based case studies, and joint organization of business conferences and symposia. 

Arqaam Capital is a fast-growing strong player in the investment banking world, bringing regional and international product offerings to the Middle East. It has a strong regional shareholder base including institutions and high net worth veterans of the Middle East finance industry.  Arqaam Capital is committed to the Middle East and other communities within which it operates. As part of its initiatives to invest in human capital and drive educational development in the region, Arqaam Capital is willing to work closely with leading regional universities to help them enhance education systems.