Professor Hussein Abdou On Finance


Eleanor Montgomery

FinTech-North-Hussein-AbdouHussein Abdou is a Professor of Banking and Finance at the Business School at Manchester Metropolitan University. His academic background is in this field, focusing on topics such as credit scoring modelling techniques, risk management in financial institutions and applications of non-parametric modelling techniques in banking and finance.

Hussein has experience building scoring models for banks in many developing and emerging markets, and is also a professional trainer who has delivered professional training courses worldwide.

Professor Hussein Abdou will be participating in the FinTech Fundamentals panel discussion scheduled to take place at the end of the FinTech North morning session on April 26th.

We spoke to him about his role at Manchester Metropolitan University and the importance of education, and asked him to offer advice to ambitious students.

Hussein, thank you for talking to us today. Tell us a bit about your professional background in the banking and finance industry; where did you begin, and how did you get to be where you are today?

I started my PhD back in November 2004 at the University of Plymouth Management School, and successfully completed it in January 2009. I was working on a number of research projects at the same time, and due to a good number of successful publications, I secured my full-time lectureship at the University of Salford Business School in 2008. That’s where I began my academic career.

Within five years, by October 2013, I had become one of the youngest professors in banking and finance, having secured my professorship at the University of Huddersfield Business School. In March 2017, I was appointed to the role of Professor of Banking and Finance at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School.

My academic background is in banking and finance, including credit scoring modelling techniques, risk management in financial institutions, Islamic banking and finance, and applications of non-parametric modelling techniques such as neural networks and genetic algorithms in banking and finance. My professional background has involved working with a number of international banking and finance institutions in countries such as Egypt, Cameroon, Vietnam, Libya and India to build scoring models; and evaluating software packages for financial applications. I am also a professional trainer; I have extensive experience in delivering professional training courses worldwide in various areas including Islamic banking, finance and economics; risk management, big data analytics in banking and finance; scoring modelling techniques and innovative management.

What do you enjoy about being a professor?

Being a professor means that I can contribute to the university at both an operational and strategic level. Operationally, I am involved on a regular basis in research, teaching, leadership and programme development, where I contribute to bridging the existing gap between academia and professional practice. Here, the emphasis is on preparing undergraduate, postgraduate and research students to develop and practice the skills needed for a professional career.

A rewarding part of being a professor also involves working with colleagues to assist them in developing research careers; be that to inform their teaching and practice or to publish in international peer-reviewed journals.

The strategic aspect of my professorial role involves contributing to the academic direction of the school, faculty, university and wider academic subject group. Internationally, this is reflected in allocating resource for research projects and publishing the results research conducted by the university. Externally, the strategic focus of my role involves working collaboratively with other academics and professional bodies both in the UK and internationally.

Could you tell us more about the writing and editing you have done?

I have written more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles over the past seven years, covering a wide range of areas in banking, finance and accounting. I have also reviewed and edited a number of textbooks covering Islamic banking and finance and general finance issues.

My main focus is on the banking and financial industry. My academic and research focus includes a number of multidisciplinary areas that I believe have a significant impact on today’s research and economy. These areas include: credit scoring modelling techniques; credit rating and rating agencies; credit risk management in financial institutions, especially applications of non-parametric techniques such as neural networks and genetic programming in banking and finance; Islamic banking and finance; capital structure; SMEs failure prediction; and corporate governance. These are of interest due to their importance and impact on today’s research and economy.

Additionally, I am engaged in a number of multidisciplinary research work and activities in different areas. I am also involved in a number of interesting timely projects such as apprenticeships; predicting bank FSRs; the effect of Sharia’h and governance on bank ratings; international banking efficiency and applying credit scoring principles to develop models of risk management within sectors such as the food and drink, pharmaceutical and automotive industries.

How important do you think education is in industries such as Financial Technology?

The scope of education is changing considerably. For example, higher level apprenticeships will mean that employers can develop programmes that are bespoke to their current and future needs. Specific within FinTech, the development is twofold: the first involves developing knowledge and products within the technology side and the second involves training employees and customers in how to use their technology to maximum effect. The use of mobile phones and other devices reflects not only the changes that have occurred in the last 15 years but also provide a marker for how technology will further develop and impact our daily lives.

Does it take long for education to catch up with industry developments as they emerge?

Universities have long been the fertile ground for new developments and new technologies. Currently, within education there is an increasing emphasis on cooperation, collaboration and co-creation.  As a result, we are now seeing a change in the relationship between the development of new technologies and the way in which they are brought to market. Specifically, there is a shorter time between technology and product development and its entry as a market practice.  Therefore, I would suggest that the ‘catch up’ is much shorter due to the way education and industry work together.

How important do you think events such as FinTech North are?

FinTech North epitomises the spirit of cooperation, collaboration and co-creation. Bringing stakeholders together will enable their interests and needs to be reflected in future developments. This will lead to changes in practice, especially where they involve new technologies, to be accepted as a standard practice within a shorter time frame.

What appealed to you about being on the discussion panel?

Being part of the FinTech North panel reflects my professional ambitions of working with multiple stakeholders to make positive contributions in improving individuals’ quality of life. Moreover, I believe that being on the panel will give me the opportunity to help various stakeholders to become more aware of the importance and significance of FinTech as an emerging concept in HE and the wider economy.

What advice would you give to your students looking to become part of tomorrow’s finance and banking world?

Economic development is littered with good technology that failed due to final customer rejection. Within the finance sector, technology should enhance end users’ quality of life and experience. A multi-stakeholder approach to designing products and how they are used will allay fears and increase potential success. The role of technology must therefore be considered not only from a technical and system perspective but also from an end user perspective, in terms of acceptability. By studying a FinTech degree, students will have an advantage above their peers and may be more likely to secure employment.