June 26, 2020
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Honors senior finance major and economics minor Sarah Merzen has made quite an impact on the foundation of the Finance program at Temple University.

She’s the executive vice president of marketing for the Temple University Financial Management Association, an associate analyst for The William C. Dunkelberg Owl Fund’s Financials & Real Estate Coverage division and the vice president of finance for Toastmasters International.

Needless to say, she’s busy.

Her work helped her become a prestigious McKinsey & Co. Qimam Fellow. The program, which is managed by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., aims to identify, develop and empower the most distinguished university students in Saudi Arabia to achieve their full potential. 

More than 18,000 Saudi Arabian students taking classes in their native country or overseas applied to become a fellow. One hundred and fifty were selected for final interviews. Fifty were selected for the fellowship, and Merzen was one of them..

Last summer, she went to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to participate in the program for the first time. There, she was awarded the recognition of being a lifelong leader. 

The Qimam Fellowship was created after Annas Abedin, a McKinsey alumnus, grew frustrated with the idea that Saudi Arabia didn’t develop professional talent. She felt as though Saudis suffered from a lack of opportunity and exposure and sought to change that idea.

As part of the fellowship, Merzen benefited from one-on-one mentoring sessions, visited leading private and public sector organizations, took part in leadership-training sessions and gained access to career opportunities through the Qimam network.

She says her success as a Qimam Fellow can be attributed to her experience with the Owl Fund.

“When I first started here at Temple, I came for the Owl Fund,” she says.

The Owl Fund is the University’s $695,000 long-only equity student-managed investment fund. Student members of the fund invest in stocks across six sectors: healthcare, financial, energy, consumer, industrial and materials. Each team from each sector picks a stock to watch and then writes a report recommending whether or not to buy that stock.

Merzen first joined the Fox Fund, which acts as a feeder program for the Owl Fund. She wanted to develop technical financial skills, such as how to use Bloomberg Terminals, how to value stocks and use them, and how to write financial statements.

She says she learned those skills while becoming a strong public speaker, critical thinker and team worker.

“I think my experience in Owl Fund is the best thing I ever did in school,” she says.

Going forward, Merzen plans to use her Qimam Fellowship as a springboard for new professional and personal relationships. In fact, she still chats regularly with other members.

While she doesn’t know whether or not she will return to her home after graduation next May (even though she’s leaning towards it), she will always be grateful for her time at the Fox School of Business.

“The amazing professors here at Fox really helped me in my performance. Fox is the reason I was selected for the Qimam Fellowship.”

EconomicsFinanceFinancial Management AssociationFox FundMcKinsey & Co. Qimam FellowOwl FundToastmasters International