Lecturer and Kent alum Moatazbellah Farid reflects on his journey from undergrad student to teaching and academia.
Moatazbellah Farid started his academic life studying BSc Accounting and Finance at Kent Business School before moving on to a Master’s in Finance, a PhD and a full time position as lecturer in econometrics for the University.
‘I recently got feedback on the module I am teaching. Honestly – I was completely overwhelmed.
Since I started as a lecturer here at Kent, I’ve only ever wanted to emulate those who inspired me when I was an undergrad – like Ashley Casson or Angela Ransley. The reviews from students were really humbling and have made me realise that this really is the path for me.
Growing up I was intrigued by numbers. I lived in Cairo, Egypt and my father owned businesses, so he introduced me to finance. I think this helped me understand the application of maths at school.
By Year 12, I was reading all there was to read about stocks, shares and money. It was the era of The Wolf of Wallstreet and as a young man, it was quite intoxicating to think of all the opportunities big city jobs could offer.
Heading to somewhere like the UK was a natural progression. I spoke good English and wanted to apply it and maybe work in London one day. The Accounting and Finance course at Kent seemed highly regarded and contained modules that interested me. Being close to the capital was appealing, too.
I moved over with my brother who studied at another English university and we shared a house in Canterbury. I immersed myself in the study of the course but also enjoyed the social side and all Kent had to offer. I joined Enactus Kent, a student-led organisation a bit like today’s ASPIRE and was a Course Representative during my second year. I enjoyed hanging out in places like Dolce Vita for some food, K-bar and the Venue for the nightlife.
It became increasingly clear that the financial modules on the degree were the ones I enjoyed the most. I streamlined these by the final year and did incredibly well – I believe a lot of my success in my studies started with the excellent staff at KBS.
By final year, I was encouraged to take postgraduate study by my tutors and received a scholarship to do so. I took MSc Finance which was more intense and involved.
I started to really understand complicated concepts in the field, developing critical thinking and analysis I could have only dreamed of before. My dissertation was on the stock markets in the US which was the beginnings of my PhD. Lecturers like Dr Nikolaos Voukelatos really boosted me during this year.
During this time, I began to collate ideas for a thesis during my postgraduate study. Nikos mentored me and gave me a great deal of self-belief and lots of tools to take on such a task.
My PhD thesis looks at the application of Data Science for economics and stock market forecasting.
The PhD was aligned more to economics, so it was moved to that department. During the midst of the project, I was given the opportunity to also become an assistant teacher on the economics course.
It was by no means easy juggling in-depth study with seminar leading and student teaching, but I got there in the end. It was a fantastic learning curve and one that made me realise that I enjoy working with people, not just numbers!
I was offered the role as Lecturer of Econometrics in the summer of 2022 to teach final year students in BSc Economics and BSc Economics with Econometrics and now my PhD is finally submitted recently, I have been able to throw myself into the job.
It’s an age-old cliché but there really is something incredibly rewarding about teaching in whatever form. While research can be satisfying, there’s nothing quite like presenting an idea to a room full of students and watching as their understanding suddenly clicks in.
I see myself as a member of the family at Kent, I’ve been here for eight years and there has never been a dull moment. I even met my wife on campus!
Those early days studying Accounting and Finance ignited something in me that I now want to share with students.