I attended a week-long training course for KPIs last week. In general, it was interesting, and I quickly realized how much I still needed to learn about KPIs. However, the most important part of the course, in my perspective, was the networking opportunity to meet other professionals working in business. The hotel had 3 other week-long training courses running simultaneously, so the opportunity to meet and greet potential professional contacts was great.
However, it was a very subtle conversation with a guy in my workgroup that might ultimately yield the most fruit. He works at an investment bank, and when I mentioned to him my MSc Fin studies at University of Leicester with an eye towards earning the CFA credential, he told me about another professional qualification that is heavily in demand, the CAIA – Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst. A quick Google search turned up nearly 100 job listing in the UK for which CAIA was a desired qualification. After having a look at the website, I can say that it looks significantly less daunting than the CFA requirements: there are only 2 exams required, and 75% of CAIA holders earn the qualification in 12-18 months. I’m definitely going to look into that a bit more and begin the process after making more progress with the dissertation.
Speaking of the dissertation, I also got a critical heads up from the same guy. I told him that I wanted to examine venture capital as a way to bolster SMEs here in Saudi Arabia, and I shared with him my off hand observation about why VC isn’t strong here. He replied that there is actually an ‘underground’ system of venture capital here being run by foreign investors who set up holding companies here. It’s a really alternative strategy, but I need to meet with him again to find out more about how the system is running and which companies are the beneficiaries. The past week is more or less a blur to me right now, so I’m going to have to review my notes to align my thoughts so I can figure out how best to proceed.