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Ozair Ahmad (McIntire ’18) is deeply indebted to his UVA mentors for his McIntire experiences and the upcoming opportunities that stand to define his future.
The Finance and Management concentrator credits his Finance professors for helping to cultivate his passion for investing and where it will take him. He also thanks his fellow members of the Alternative Investment Fund (AIF), of which he was CEO for the last academic year and managing director of its special situations group in the year previous.
“As a student deeply interested in investing, I previously sought to begin my professional career as a practitioner as quickly as possible, so as to follow in the footsteps with AIF alumni who work in the field,” Ahmad says.
After applying to a graduate program and having discussions with both professors and older McIntire friends, however, Ahmad will now be spending a year in academia first. “While I never would have imagined myself pursuing a graduate degree directly out of UVA as a first year,” he says, “the relationships I built with peers and professors have led me on a path that I am extremely excited for, and I hope to pay this aspect of my UVA experience forward in the future.”
As winner of the coveted Lenox-Conyngham Scholarship award, Ahmad, who minored in East Asian Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences, will begin his fully funded master’s program in Development Studies at University of Cambridge’s Trinity College in the fall semester—a pleasantly surprising and rewarding chance to dive deeper into studies that connect to his coursework, heritage, and long-term plans.
“The Development Studies program uniquely provides the opportunity to study politics, law, social sciences, and the economies of emerging markets in a synthesized manner,” he says. “I hope to utilize my education in investing and business strategy to present solutions for international issues through methods involving impact investing and global monetary institutions.”
Having studied Mandarin for 10 years and growing up speaking Urdu at home, Ahmad also hopes to use his background in languages to study primary documents in the program. “I am particularly interested in developing nations due to my Pakistani heritage and studies into East Asia,” Ahmad says. “Having witnessed firsthand some of the issues prevalent in the region, I have sought to integrate my finance and liberal arts degrees to research and work towards solutions in this field. Specifically, I hope to build a career in this area through investing on a global scale, working at an international monetary institution such as the IMF or World Bank, or a combination of these roles.”
Roadmap for Success
With a plan for his long-term ambitions in the international finance field in mind, Ahmad will transition from Charlottesville to the U.K., and then upon completion of his graduate studies, to San Francisco, where he will start a full-time position as an Analyst with private equity firm Alpine Investors in August 2019.
“I am excited to join the Alpine Investors investing team,” Ahmad says, noting that he accepted the offer, under the guidance of his mentors, for three reasons.
First, Ahmad says, given his passion for investing—stemming from his work in AIF and his investing coursework—the position offers hands-on business evaluation and transaction experience he’s seeking.
Second, he adds, he’ll have the invaluable experience, as he begins his career in investing, of working with operating partners and the management teams of portfolio companies to gain an in-depth understanding of how a firm builds its competitive advantages and moat.
“Third,” Ahmad says, “as my mentors at UVA had an enormous impact on my development, I wanted to find a position that involves extensive exposure to upper management, if possible. This aspect of Alpine Investors became clear during my internship, and I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to work at a firm that provides incredible access to working with experienced professionals.”
McIntire’s mentorships will prove challenging to live up to for whomever Ahmad meets throughout his journey. Citing Finance Professor and Associate Dean for Global Affairs Peter Maillet for a career path that paired professional accomplishments with a passion for teaching and a “commitment to educating future business leaders,” Ahmad found his dedication inspirational.
Ahmad was also moved by presenting for McIntire Professors John Griffin (McIntire ’85), President and Founder of Blue Ridge Capital, and Chris Shumway (McIntire ‘88), Managing Partner of Shumway Capital, as part of their semester-long courses; planning and giving final presentations in New York served as some of his most memorable moments as an undergraduate. “These courses were incredible experiences through which I had the opportunity to learn an immense amount from my professors, as well as from a wide array of guest speakers who invest around the globe,” he says. “In addition to weekly lectures, these courses provided rigorous hands-on training, as my classmates and I built and iterated on investment memos under the guidance of Professors Griffin and Shumway and employees of their firms.”
A Bright Future Ahead
The well-rounded student, who was a member of the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, International Relations Organization, as well as UVA’s Men’s Rugby Football Club, believes that the relationships he has forged with his Comm School professors has made the difference in his life.
“McIntire professors take a strong interest in not only your academic and professional paths, but also your personal growth,” Ahmad says. “They keep their doors open throughout the day and welcome conversation with students. I am extremely grateful that I attended a school where the faculty and administration are invested in both my academic success and professional development, but always prioritize my personal growth and well-being to ensure I am growing into a well-rounded individual.”
As he heads into a bright future, Ahmad remains appreciative of his McIntire family and intends to remain involved in preserving its success. “The McIntire network is extremely strong and provides unparalleled access to individuals pursuing a wide variety of career paths,” he says. “Everyone in the McIntire community, ranging from professors to alums, is willing to help current students navigate their academic and professional paths. This is something I will always be grateful for, and hope to contribute to going forward.”