Making a difference in Bahrain
Alumna Dana Hamzah (Industrial Economics with Insurance 2008) is Head of Economic Research at the Central Bank of Bahrain. We spoke to Dana about her fascinating role and some of the challenges of working in one of the world’s most rapidly expanding centres for banking and finance.
Tell us something about your career journey and current role
“After graduating from NUBS, I joined Khaleeji Commercial Bank in Bahrain as a Risk Officer. My role involved creating policies and procedures for various consumer finance products and managing the bank's risk related projects such as Business Continuity Planning, IT Security processes and the bank's overall business strategy. The job gave me great exposure to the banking industry and in particular to Islamic Banking. In 2013 I joined the Central Bank of Bahrain as an Analyst in International Relations under the Financial Stability Directorate and worked my way up to become the Head of the Economic Research Division in January 2019. I love my job.
“My role involves undertaking research in various areas to ensure the financial stability of Bahrain’s economy and highlighting any emerging risks. This could be anything from performing stress tests and analysing economic and financial soundness indicators to ensuring the Central Bank complies with international standards. My current area of focus is in Artificial Intelligence platforms and their use in our industry and I recently introduced Cyber Risk as a potential threat to financial stability for example.
“I am also passionate about finding innovative solutions and strategies that can generate sustainable long-term economic growth for Bahrain. Our future will depend on forward-looking growth plans and diverse revenue streams that are not predominantly dependent on the oil sector. Integrating sound business strategy into public policy design will be vital. I am a member of the Central Bank of Bahrain’s Risk Policy Committee with voting rights on new regulations and policies adopted by the Central Bank.
"In 2016 I was selected for the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program by the US Department of State and was the only candidate selected from Bahrain and the Gulf Cooperation Council. During the program, I worked as a consultant at the Michigan State Department of Treasury in Lansing, MI and at the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC. I received a certificate signed by the President and Secretary of State for being an outstanding mid-career professional from Bahrain in the field of Economic Development, Finance and Banking for that year."
Why did you choose to study at Nottingham University Business School?
“Initially, I was enrolled for ‘Finance, Accounting and Management’ but quickly realised that a career in Accounting was not for me but I very much saw myself as an Economist and was more drawn to modules related to microeconomics, behavioural economics and the theory of firms, industries and markets. I switched to Industrial Economics and decided to take all of my elective modules in Risk Management and Insurance.
“One of my fondest memories was making it as a finalist at the Haydn Green Institute ‘Student Business Plan Competition 2008’ with an idea to use the Blue Ocean Strategy to fill a gap in the market for a luxury designer boutique selling fashionable, high quality maternity wear and children’s clothing in Bahrain called ‘Toes & Tummies’.
“The Business School played a huge role in how my career developed and shaping who I am today. It gave me a solid foundation, from the modules I studied to the academics who taught me and the facilities I could access. My knowledge of market competition and business strategies was significantly extended and is fundamental to my career.
“It is not only one of the best business schools in the world but very diverse and student oriented too.
It really gives students the chance to discover both their social and academic strengths."
What advice would you give to others who are about to start on a course at Nottingham University Business School?
“Look out for all the opportunities that the University has to offer but also remember to have fun! Nottingham is one of the best places in the UK to live and study, I therefore encourage you to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!"
Are you still in touch with fellow alumni?
“I’ve only been back to Nottingham once since graduation but am planning on making more frequent visits. I am still in touch with some of my friends through various social media channels, especially LinkedIn. I also attended some of their weddings in India, Dubai and Qatar after graduation and am in regular contact with a friend in London.
"It is very important for me to stay connected with my alumni network because we share a special ‘Nottingham’ bond. I always feel like we have so much to relate to and it is nice to see how the University of Nottingham has helped in shaping the careers of all alumni."
Posted on Friday 15th March 2019