Misk foundation partners with Bloomberg for training programs and finance labs


Saudi Gazette

The Misk Foundation and Bloomberg L.P. announced joint initiatives to develop Saudi Arabia’s financial and market capabilities following Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman’s meeting with Michael R. Bloomberg, during his recent visit to the US.

Bloomberg, the global business and financial information leader, will work with 30 universities across Saudi Arabia by providing financial training and technology targeting 262,000 students and training for employees of 250 Saudi.

Earlier this year Bloomberg hosted 30 Saudi students in their Dubai newsroom for a financial journalism course led my Matt Winkler, co-founder of Bloomberg News.

We spoke to Joshua L. Steiner, Head of Industry Verticals at Bloomberg L.P., who has been spearheading this partnership with Misk. “Our partnership with Misk dates to November 2016, when we signed an agreement comprised of four pillars: the development of a Middle East-focused financial journalism training program, the establishment of a large-scale financial training program for university students and corporations, the introduction of internship opportunities at Bloomberg and a collaboration between Bloomberg Beta, a venture firm backed by Bloomberg L.P., and Misk’s venture capital arm, to share best practice in building investment teams and identifying investment opportunities.” He said Bloomberg has been working closely with Misk on financial training, and as a result signed a MoU in March to provide experiential learning programs within the Kingdom. “This includes two areas of collaboration: providing financial training and technology at 30 Saudi universities and supporting 250 Saudi corporations with training, tools and resources,” he added. We discussed the details and future of the partnership with Steiner who oversees the company’s venture capital fund, Bloomberg Beta, and the company’s Corporate Development and Strategy team.

SG: Can you tell us more about the Bloomberg terminals and their integration with Saudi universities?

JLS: Launched in 1981, the Terminal brought transparency to financial markets and connected market participants to a groundbreaking data, analytics and information-delivery service. Today it remains at the cutting-edge of innovation. It delivers fast access to news, data and trading tools from any internet-connected PC or mobile device and is used by hundreds of thousands of finance professionals across the globe as well as thousands of university students.

Bloomberg will equip the next generation of Saudi leaders with financial expertise by working with 30 Saudi Arabian universities on a comprehensive financial training effort, centered on the Terminal, and targeting 262,000 students across the Kingdom. This will include dedicated trainings for each university, support for faculty staff and professors to integrate capital markets content into their curricula, Terminals at each university and networks to establish a bridge between universities and the professional world.

SG: Recently a group of 30 Saudi students were trained in your Dubai outlet- were any actually hired? How was the overall newsroom experience?

JLS: The participants learned about Bloomberg’s brand of data-driven journalism firsthand in our largest bureau in the Middle East, and the centerpiece of the program was The Bloomberg Way, our guide to newsgathering that has been the key to the success of Bloomberg News. They heard from more than 20 Bloomberg journalists and analysts from a number of our bureaus in the region, including Matthew Winkler, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Bloomberg News. Topics were wide-ranging and included interviewing skills, social media for news, journalism ethics and principles, women in journalism in the Middle East, and covering Middle East economies. It was an intensive, dynamic five days that inspired interesting debate and we have encouraged a number of the participants to apply for our Dubai journalism internship program. Two participants were particularly interested in how we use data across our business, so I am pleased that they’ll be joining our data internship program in London this summer.

SG: Can you also guide us through the present and future initiatives you are undertaking with Misk in Saudi? When and where do you start?

JLS: Our team is working with Misk to roll out the financial training program as early as September 2018 to some of the largest universities in the Kingdom. We are taking a phased approach to the roll-out.

With regards to other pillars of our collaboration, we started our internship program last summer, and look forward to hosting more interns this year. We have been working closely with Misk’s venture capital team to help them develop an investment strategy, and meet interesting early stage companies and founders. We are also finalizing dates for the second edition of the financial journalism course.

SG: Will every Saudi student interested in pursuing this have access to the financial and technology training facilities?

JLS: Students enrolled in relevant courses at each of our partner universities will have access to this. Typically, these include Finance, Business Administration, Economics, Banking, Management and Accounting students.

SG: How does this tie up with the Vision 2030 and where do you think Saudi youth is headed?

JLS: We are obviously a very small piece of much larger effort throughout the Kingdom, but we believe that enhancing financial and market capabilities in the Kingdom will advance its efforts to attract foreign capital and help Saudi companies compete internationally; key components of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to establish a thriving economy. Saudi Arabia is the first country in the world to create a top-down, country-wide financial training program that fully leverages Bloomberg’s resources. Misk deserves enormous credit for its focus on developing Saudi youth, empowering the region, and advancing Saudi Arabia’s global competitiveness. This kind of investment by Misk bodes well for the youth of Saudi Arabia, and we look forward to continuing to help.