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Friday 26 September 2014

Success story : Mamadou-Abou Sarr, ESCP Europe alumni named to Financial News' Top 40 under 40 Rising Stars in Asset Management List.

A new generation of entrepreneurial financiers is rising in the asset management industry.

More than half of Financial News’ list of the 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in Asset Management in Europe this year are recognised for their success in devising new means to capture growth opportunities, up from 35% last year and 18% in 2012.
“They include individuals who have developed new funds to capitalise on Europe’s recovery, spearheaded inventive strategies for growth within their own business or who head newly created functions. One such is Mamadou-Abou Sarr, alumni of the Specialised Master in International Project Management class of 2005, who was promoted to the new position of global head of Northern Trust’s environmental, social and governance investing in June, having built the asset manager’s ESG capabilities from scratch.

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Find out more about Mamadou-Abou Sarr’s feedback on ESCP Europe :

Why did you choose the ESCP Europe Specialised Master in International Project Management?

After completing my bachelor in economics,  I felt the need to broaden my scope of knowledge and add an international stance to my curriculum. I was lucky to study at the University of Connecticut during my senior year in economics and enjoyed the international experience. The ESCP Europe Specialised master  in International Project Management was (and still) is one of the best Master in Management and a solid academic and practical foundation to advance your career in finance or other fields. 

Can you tell us about your studies at ESCP Europe?

I still have fresh memories of my first day at ESCP Europe. I had worked during the summer in Seattle for the Southwestern company and missed the first day. When I arrived on the second day, they’ve asked me to introduce myself in front of 66 students from more than 20 countries ! A microcosm of the world a feel of what could an international career look like. I have enjoyed the diverse curriculum and international openness of my peers and speakers. I have been fortunate enough to lead our international seminar in Senegal, which was an amazing experience for me. Such project gave me an opportunity to hone my leadership skills and showcase the potential for investments in my native country.

What was your first job after ESCP Europe?

My first job after ESCP Europe was foreign exchange trader for Citi, based in Dakar. I must admit that securing my first job in Finance had a lot do with the international seminar we had organised in Senegal. As such, I had a chance to develop a network and start my career as an associate at Citi in the treasury department. I was responsible for trading foreign exchange, money market and securities.

What motivates you in your current job?

As Senior Vice President and Global Head of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing at Northern Trust Asset Management, I am responsible for ESG innovation and product development across our array of asset class capabilities.  I have a key role within Northern Trust to proactively develop new ideas to ensure that ESG thinking remains central to our business development. I also have a strong link with our Global Equity Strategist team to support the advancement of our engineered equity product positioning, capabilities, and business in EMEA and APAC regions. Back to my childhood dreams, I always wanted to be an architect yet I was not really good at drawing. What motivates me in my current role is that I feel like an architect, conceptualising and creating investing  capabilities that are relevant for institutional investors. Overseeing our ESG practice globally give me a chance to travel a lot and interact with investors from all over the world. An amazing position for which the diversity within the specialised master in project management, gave me a taste of it.

For the record, my drawing skills are still not great !

E-financial news ranked you 1st September 2014 in the top 40 under 40 “rising stars" in asset management, what quality allowed you to get to that level?

I remember my first interviews in finance in the city. I would come for interviews with business pitches, to convey my own ideas to managing directors and senior executives who often had been working in finance for over two decades. I was 23/24 years old at that time, passionate and eager to showcase my potential. Over 10 years down the like, I still approach my career with the same drive and the same passion. Core skills can be learnt in programme such as the Specialised masters at ESCP Europe, yet from my perspective, what would set you apart is your passion and leadership skills. I did not wait to be in a leadership position to demonstrate my leadership skills and help driving businesses forward at an early stage of my career. It allowed me to get to that level with fun, enthusiasm, hard work and long hours…very long hours !

What advice would you give to the Specialised Master’s in International Project Management students to succeed in this competitive environment?
I wish I had a recipe ! Having said that, students of the Specialised Master in Project Management have the right ingredients to enjoy a successful career. In such competitive environment, a solid academic foundation is certainly not enough and they will need to go the extra mile and think outside of the box. My advice is lead your career and passion and develop transferable skills to progress in your career and adapt with the market cycles. Last but not least, please have fun !!!!!

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