Dr. Amal Moussa is a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs where she leads the Single Stocks Exotic Derivatives Trading desk. Prior to that, Amal held senior level positions in equity derivatives trading at other leading financial institutions such as J.P. Morgan, UBS and Citigroup.
In addition to her work in Markets, Amal is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University where she teaches a graduate course on Modeling and Trading Derivatives in the Mathematics of Finance Master's program.
Amal has a Ph.D. in Statistics, obtained with distinction, from Columbia University. Her thesis “Contagion and Systemic Risk in Financial Networks” shed light on the importance of the network structure in identifying systemic financial institutions and formulating regulatory policies, and has been cited by several scholars and industry professionals including former Federal Reserve president Janet Yellen. She was also awarded the Minghui Yu Teaching Award at Columbia University.
Amal is a board member of Teach for Lebanon, an NGO working to ensure that all children in Lebanon have access to education regardless of socioeconomic background, and she is an active member of the Women in Trading network at Goldman Sachs.
Can you tell us about your journey to Columbia?
I was born and raised in Lebanon where I attended a French Lycée and got the Lebanese and French Baccalaureate degrees. I was privileged to receive a scholarship from the French government to continue my education in France, so I moved at 17 years old to Toulouse to attend a competitive math preparatory program at the Lycée Pierre de Fermat.
I then attended Télécom Paris, a top engineering school in Paris focused on Applied Mathematics and Computer Science.
During my years at Télécom Paris I got introduced to the fields of Probability and Stochastic Calculus, and I became very interested in advancing my knowledge in these fields. This led me to pursue a Masters degree in Mathematical Finance (DEA El Karoui) from the Sorbonne University (formerly Paris VI), and then to apply to Columbia University to pursue a Ph.D. in Statistics.
How was your experience at Columbia?
The Ph.D. program at Columbia allowed me to work with experts in the fields of Statistics and Financial Mathematics through a diverse range of classes and research projects, and most importantly gave me the opportunity to meet and collaborate with amazing classmates and faculty, several of whom are my closest friends today.
Favorite spot on Columbia's campus?
The stairs of the Low Memorial Library. I spent a lot of time with my friends there to chat, laugh, eat, and even slide down the stairs when it snowed.
Did any aspect of your identity have an impact on your career or simply shaped your experiences thus far?
Growing up in a challenging period of Lebanon taught me resilience and dedication to work, and gave me the aspiration to always push myself to do better.
Who was your role model growing up?
My role model growing up was my brother Hadi, who is 6 years older than me and was starting his career as a lawyer in Lebanon while I was still in high school. He has always impressed me by the breadth of his general knowledge, and he often took me to visit his office and meet his colleagues. That was my first introduction to the professional world. My parents were advocates for women's education and their support allowed me to follow the journey that led me to where I am today.
What advice do you have for Columbia graduates starting out their careers in finance?
My advice for people at the beginning of their careers in Finance is to learn the most from every opportunity they have to grow their expertise in the field, which will open more doors for them in the future. I would also advise them to develop a network of close relationships that will help and support them in their journey.
How can CAAA serve our community professionally in the financial industry?
CAAA could serve the community through organizing networking and educational events that help provide further opportunities for people in the community to grow their knowledge and their relationships circle.