Global Women - Eman Ahmad
Meet Eman Ahmad, a recipient of the Global Women’s Leadership Scholarship at Cass Business School, Actuarial Science student and passionate STEM advocate
As a budding female actuarial scientist, Eman Ahmad has faced her fair share of gender discrimination. Once, when attempting to negotiate a higher salary in the industry, which tends to be male-dominated and often pays women less than men, a senior manager joked: “You should have enough money to buy your makeup.”
Eman says: “When you think of STEM, one knows it’s a male-dominated field. When I started working at this firm I was the first female actuarial associate since it was founded in 1972.”
Eman, who is from Kuwait, is a recipient of the Global Women’s Leadership Scholarship at Cass Business School — part of a programme that develops thriving women leaders and supports them throughout their entire careers as they (sometimes) overcome adversity.
The scholarship went towards her MSc Actuarial Science tuition fees and allowed her to focus on professional and personal growth, rather than the accumulation of debt.
But the award is worth much more than the money. The scholarship will give her support and exposure to a network of inspirational women as she studies the MSc, giving her the chance to learn from their expertise.
As part of the women’s leadership programme, events are held throughout the year — last month, for example, Cass hosted Inga Beale, former CEO of Lloyd’s of London.
“The programme is incredibly important; it acts like a support system for women who want to do better in their field,” says Eman.
“And it teaches you skills — at the events I’m sure we will learn more than a few things on how to engage in a work environment.
“A lot of people talk about why it is important to have women for the sake of diversity. But we need women in leadership roles for other reasons.
“You can’t have the same people running a firm because it’s not dynamic. You need people with different opinions, ideas, methodologies, so you can become more efficient — not just women but people who think differently to one another.”
Recipient of the Global Women’s Leadership Scholarship at Cass Business School and budding female actuarial scientist, Eman Ahmad
Eman came to Cass this year after studying financial mathematics at undergraduate level with the aim of improving her skillset to advance in the actuarial field.
Choosing Cass for the MSc was an obvious choice. “When you think about risk management, Cass is the top university,” she says. “It was the first university to offer actuarial sciences as a subject in this region. They are the experts.”
She is only a couple of months into the course, but already feels better prepared to achieve her ambitious, long-term career goals.
“I feel part of a bigger purpose, being on the women’s leadership programme,” Eman says. “People are more open to the idea of women pursing subjects like mathematics. But not a lot of females have made it to the top of this field. It’s unchartered. Navigating that is a hurdle. But I feel supported.”
After completing the MSc, Eman hopes to attain an Actuarial Fellowship while gaining experience and enhancing her skill-set by working for a multinational firm as an actuarial or investment consultant.
Longer-term, she plans to establish her own consultancy firm in Kuwait, offering risk management, data science and actuarial analysis services to clients in the Middle East and South Asian markets.
“I think there’s a niche that I can fill,” she says.
Even longer term, Eman wants to empower young women to become independent, fearless and ambitious — just like she was empowered by Pakistani women leaders like Malala Yousafzai and Asma Jahangir, who fought for equal rights, while growing up.
“I aim to give women financial and moral support for education so that they are able to overcome adversity and gain financial independence,” says Eman.
“I hope to one day provide a space where underprivileged women of all ages and backgrounds can complete their high school education for free.
“I think it is my social responsibility as a human being to try and give back by providing the same opportunities that I had.”
Read more about our Global Women's Leadership Programme.