Cass student harnesses MBA knowledge to pursue entrepreneurship

The financial journalist turned fintech entrepreneur, Mirna Sleiman, partnered with Cass Business School to host FinX, a Dubai-based event recognising fintech talent in the Middle East.

Rebooting your career can be tough, but for Cass student Mirna Sleiman (Dubai Executive MBA, 2019), losing her job was an opportunity to take matters in her own hands and chart a new career path for herself.

The mother-of-three has not only been busy studying for her EMBA, she has also been working to successfully launch and run Fintech Galaxy, a digital crowdsourcing platform connecting entrepreneurs to financial institutions, tech companies and investors.

It’s only been a year since its launch, and yet her business venture is already growing from strength to strength.

Having worked as a journalist for 10 years, reporting on financial markets, equities, bond markets and fund management, Mirna spotted a gap in the MENA region’s fintech space, and capitalised on it to launch her business.

“Every ecosystem needs capital, talent, regulation and technology. In MENA, all these pillars exist, however the market is completely disconnected. There is a lack of cohesiveness. Fintech Galaxy works as a virtual bridge or open innovation marketplace where organisations would post challenges for our global network of startups to have a go at solving them in return for business contracts or cash rewards.”

Mirna’s experience on the EMBA programme played a crucial role in shaping her company. “Every single module I have taken has taught me something that I have implemented in my company."

“I learned all about crowdsourcing during the Digital Transformation module and that’s when I realised I was ready to launch Fintech Galaxy. My company’s advisory board was created after having attended the Corporate Governance module. Additionally, I raised $250,000 dollars of seed money, thanks to the knowledge I gained during the Corporate Finance module. I now understand the difference between a convertible bond and an equity investment because of the Financial Investments module.

“It all culminated with the New Venture Creation course where I was able to work on a proper business plan for the next stage of the company’s growth. I am now heading for the next round of fund raising using insights from my Business Mastery Project which I have already submitted.”

Mirna admits that the EMBA has been a challenging experience, but she says she is reaping the fruits of her labour.

Last month, Fintech Galaxy launched FinX, an event celebrating the achievements of institutions and individuals shaping the fintech ecosystem in the Middle East. Cass Business School was a strategic knowledge partner of the event which took place on October 31 at the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Hotel in Dubai.

Professor Steve Thomas, Associate Dean, MBA Programmes at Cass Business School, said: “Cass Business School is delighted to partner with Fintech Galaxy in promoting the achievements of startups and institutions in MENA’s fintech sphere. Their tremendous success is a reflection of the transformative power of technology on the financial industry. As a leading global business school with a presence in Dubai, Cass is committed to supporting the development of the regional fintech sector - partnerships with ventures such as Fintech Galaxy are very much in line with that commitment.”

Mirna says: “The support I have received from Cass for my company has been invaluable. This support is proof that that the School believes in fostering long-term partnerships with its students, beyond learning and networking, which is something you rarely see in other institutions.”