Management Team

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Fiona McBride

Managing Director

Years of Experience: 35 years

Fiona’s tenure includes extensive expertise in top-tier organizations at rewarding roles. She began her journey as a graduate in Economics and Politics, and soon after pursued her ACCA. Her experience includes esteemed titles such as a CFO in European Supply Chain, Sales, and Marketing and Country CFO for Ireland, all within Kelloggs, where she worked for 12 years. She has also been the CFO for Pearson Vue and subsequently the CEO within a Pearson Education division that specializes in Vocational Education.

It is within this sector that her commitment towards the value and need for vocational training strengthened. She has dedicated her professional life towards the development of one’s Skills and Knowledge – key elements for a successful career of young people. While she is a seasoned practitioner of finance and the professional education space serves her passion perfectly, her commitment to support and deliver professional skills and training is her vocation.

Currently, Fiona is the Managing Director of Kaplan Professional ME, a role she took up in March 2020 following 4 years in Kaplan Professional UK and Managing Director of their UK Apprenticeship Business.

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Mohamed Qasem

Business Development Director

Years of Experience: 13 years

Mohamed Qasem has over 13 years of expertise managing clients in the KSA for programs related to professional qualifications, leadership, digital as well finance technical programs. Over his tenure, he has also worked closely with clients to analyze organization-wide sales policies, go to market strategies, develop strategic plans, and conduct market research with a focus on partnerships and product development.

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Mira Raley

Product Head - Leadership and Professional Development

Years of Experience: 15 years

Mira heads our leadership and behavioural development division and has over 15 years of expertise designing and delivering behavioural programs related to leadership, diversity and inclusion, graduate development, employee performance, team-building, nationalization and more. She also works closely with clients in analysing, designing and implementing L&D strategies and employee learning journeys.

With a dual nationality, Mira has been delivering courses in both English and Arabic for a range of industries in the region. She is a qualified assessor, executive coaching, and specialises in Kirkpatrick evaluation and measurement.

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Rahul Sonathalia CFA, CMA, AFM

Product Head- Finance & Business Skills Development

Years of Experience: 15 years

Rahul has more than 15 years of experience in the area of investment banking, equity research, macro-economic research and training. He has been teaching financial modelling and investment banking courses in UK, Singapore, and the MENA region 

He specializes in Financial Analysis, Equity valuation, Financial Modeling and exam prep trainings. His experience as a practitioner allows him to deliver practical and industry relevant courses. He has delivered advanced financial modelling related programs for Sovereign wealth funds and banks in the GCC and for large asset management companies in the UK and Singapore.  He was a guest speaker on “Best Practices in Financial Modeling” at Modeloff Global World Financial Modeling championship in London.

Rahul is an Economics graduate, a CFA Charterholder and a CMA. He also holds the AFM certification from the Financial Modeling Institute (FMI), CISI certificates for International Introduction to Securities & Investment and International Certificate in Wealth & Investment Management and Risk in Financial Services.

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Waleed Minhas, MSc, CPA, MCSI, FCCA

Product Head - Professional Qualifications

Years of Experience: 10 years

Waleed has over 10 years of training experience in the region, focusing on Financial Management and Management Accounting. 

He was the lead trainer at PricewaterhouseCoopers where he also managed professional qualifications, degree programs and Train the Trainer courses.

He brings 8+ years of industry experience in the UK and UAE where he has been involved in setting up and controlling finance functions of diverse businesses.

It was late 2015 when he switched to full time training and has since enjoyed exceptional pass rates. He has also trained many national, regional and global prizewinners.

Waleed’s training approach is built around adding value on courses and incorporating memory and exam techniques to help students ace their exams.

Trainers

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Shanin Thomas, CFA

Head of CFA Abu Dhabi

Years of Experience: 10 years

Shanin has over 10 years of work experience in equity research, portfolio management, investment banking and financial modeling.

He was a partner at Esta Capital, a boutique investment research and advisory firm. Previously he worked in JPMorgan’s Investment Banking Division in Mumbai and New York offices covering North American banks and asset management companies.

He has over 6 years of experience in CFA training and corporate training on programs such as Financial modelling, finance for non-finance, business valuation, equity research, value investing, and derivatives.

He is a CFA charter holder and has also cleared the FRM exam.

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Waleed Minhas, MSc, CPA, MCSI, FCCA

Product Head - Professional Qualifications

Years of Experience: 10 years

Waleed has over 10 years of training experience in the region, focusing on Financial Management and Management Accounting. 

He was the lead trainer at PricewaterhouseCoopers where he also managed professional qualifications, degree programs and Train the Trainer courses.

He brings 8+ years of industry experience in the UK and UAE where he has been involved in setting up and controlling finance functions of diverse businesses.

It was late 2015 when he switched to full time training and has since enjoyed exceptional pass rates. He has also trained many national, regional and global prizewinners.

Waleed’s training approach is built around adding value on courses and incorporating memory and exam techniques to help students ace their exams.

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Bilal Ahmed CFA, CMA, ACCA

Head of the CFA Program - Dubai

Years of Experience: 10 years

Bilal has more than 10 years of corporate and training experience. He has worked as Head of Equity Research at Backers & Partners, a well reputed Financial Institution which deals in Stock Brokerage and Investment Management services. His area of responsibility included equity valuation and identification of suitable investments for various retail and institutional clients. 

He has more than 10 years of teaching experience. He has delivered training for the CIA, CMA, CFA and ACCA qualifications to corporates clients and in open programs. He is known for simplifying complex concepts and highly interactive style of training delivery.

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Yasir Ali CFA, CMA, ACCA, FRM, ACMA

Senior Trainer

Years of Experience: 18 years

Yasir has more than 18 years of teaching and training experience. His corporate experience is in the field of internal auditing and risk management in the banking sector. He has led internal audit engagements in a large bank with more than 1,000 branches. 

He has delivered trainings for cost & management accounting, financial management, taxation and business strategy papers of the ACCA, CMA and the CIMA qualifications.

He has taught at all three levels of the CFA Program for more than 10 years. He is an expert at simplifying complex topics and uses real world examples in delivering highly effective lectures.

He is an active member of various professional bodies and delivers CPD seminars for their members.

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Shiv Mehta, CFA

Financial Trainer

Years of Experience: 11 years

Shiv has over 11 years of work experience in equity research, private equity, investment banking, credit research and financial modeling.

He has worked in Equity Research at Deutsche Bank, covering the European TMT sector. Previously, he worked as an Investment Banking and Private Equity Associate at TresVista Financial Services. At TresVista, he also worked as Training Head, where he trained more than 500 Analysts, Associates and AVPs. 

He has over 9 years of experience in CFA and CMA training and corporate training on programs such as Financial modelling, finance for non-finance, business valuation. Previously he has taught CFA at corporates such as ADIA and ADNOC. 

He is a CFA charter holder and has also cleared the FRM exam.

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Natalie Al Samarrai BSc (Econ), MSc, FCCA

Head of ACCA

Years of Experience: 16 years

Over 16 years of experience in practice, corporate training and lecturing experience both in the UK and UAE.

Fellow of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (FCCA) with a BSc (Econ) in Accountancy and Management and MSc in Professional Accountancy, graduating with distinction, various teaching qualifications.

Started teaching ACCA, ICAEW, CIMA and AAT for Kaplan Financial in the UK in 2008 and then various locations in the UAE from 2012.

ACCA exam tips have been published by Think Ahead in the Middle East.

Regional and world prize winning students for high scores in their ACCA and ICAEW exams.

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Sana Tariq, ACCA

Finance Trainer

Years of Experience: 3 years

Sana has over 3 years’ experience in teaching ACCA and CIMA with her expertise being in Cost and Financial Management. She has received professional tutor trainings held by the ACCA body.

She has worked as a financial analyst for leading banks at a corporate level. She tends to find several solutions to a problem, in order to satisfy every candidate as per their thinking process.

Sana has done her BSc honors in Applied Accounting through research and analysis project. and has even mentored other candidates for their thesis. She is a global high achiever in ACCA too.

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Murtaza k Shabazkar, CFA

Finance Trainer

Years of Experience: 15 years

Mr. Murtaza is a CFA Charter holder with 15 years of experience spread across commercial banking, corporate finance advisory, equity research, stock brokerage and information technology sectors.

In addition to 15 years of industry experience, Mr. Murtaza has also been serving as Finance Faculty in a number of academic institutions and is currently performing his duties as a Finance Trainer with Kaplan Professional Middle East.

Mr. Murtaza completed his bachelors with honours from the University of Nottingham in the UK in E-commerce and Digital Business and his MBA from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) in Karachi, Pakistan.

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Hattem Alhajery, MBA, CMA, CDIF

Associate Trainers

Years of Experience: 13 years

Hattem AlHajery is a finance and accounting professional and trainer, with over 13 years of corporate experience, mostly in multinational organizations. Over his tenure, Hattem has delivered virtual as well as in-person training programs and helped organizations optimise their finance department by integrating them into business operations. 

Some of the courses Hattem specialises in are:

  • Financial Accounting
  • Financial Statements Analysis
  • Cost Accounting
  • Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting
  • Variance Analysis
  • CVP Analysis
  • Corporate Finance
  • Capital Budgeting
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Mehrunisa Wazir Ali, Msc, ACCA

ACCA Trainer

Years of Experience: 2 years

Mehrunisa has extensive practice and lecturing experience, teaching for the ACCA qualification, RQF level qualification, and mentoring for the Oxford Brookes University’s BSc and the University of London’s MSc.

Her core ACCA specialization includes Business and Technology, Corporate and Business Law, and Financial Accounting as part of the ACCA qualification.

In addition to training and program management, she has also worked in the instructional design team as a specialist, working on material design and client learning experience for key priority accounts.

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Rahul Sonathalia CFA, CMA, AFM

Product Head- Finance & Business Skills Development

Years of Experience: 15 years

Rahul has more than 15 years of experience in the area of investment banking, equity research, macro-economic research and training. He has been teaching financial modelling and investment banking courses in UK, Singapore, and the MENA region 

He specializes in Financial Analysis, Equity valuation, Financial Modeling and exam prep trainings. His experience as a practitioner allows him to deliver practical and industry relevant courses. He has delivered advanced financial modelling related programs for Sovereign wealth funds and banks in the GCC and for large asset management companies in the UK and Singapore.  He was a guest speaker on “Best Practices in Financial Modeling” at Modeloff Global World Financial Modeling championship in London.

Rahul is an Economics graduate, a CFA Charterholder and a CMA. He also holds the AFM certification from the Financial Modeling Institute (FMI), CISI certificates for International Introduction to Securities & Investment and International Certificate in Wealth & Investment Management and Risk in Financial Services.

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Mira Raley

Product Head - Leadership and Professional Development

Years of Experience: 15 years

Mira heads our leadership and behavioural development division and has over 15 years of expertise designing and delivering behavioural programs related to leadership, diversity and inclusion, graduate development, employee performance, team-building, nationalization and more. She also works closely with clients in analysing, designing and implementing L&D strategies and employee learning journeys.

With a dual nationality, Mira has been delivering courses in both English and Arabic for a range of industries in the region. She is a qualified assessor, executive coaching, and specialises in Kirkpatrick evaluation and measurement.

Client Relations

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Mohamed Qasem

Business Development Director

Years of Experience: 13 years

Mohamed Qasem has over 13 years of expertise managing clients in the KSA for programs related to professional qualifications, leadership, digital as well finance technical programs. Over his tenure, he has also worked closely with clients to analyze organization-wide sales policies, go to market strategies, develop strategic plans, and conduct market research with a focus on partnerships and product development.

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Benjamin Dawson

Business Development Manager - UAE

Years of Experience: 10 years

Benjamin has over 10 years business development and key account management experience working across IT, Events, HR professional services and corporate training.
He has managed key corporate clients and national contracts for private and public sector customers and established long term partnerships in both the UK and UAE.
He brings over 5 years regional experience where he has managed client relationships throughout the GCC.

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Ala’a Aldwairi

Business Development Manager - UAE

Years of Experience: 9 years

Ala’a has over than 9 years experience in driving business excellence with core competencies in strategic sales and marketing. as well as implementing high-end customer relationships programs. With core competencies in developing, implementing, and mentoring training programs. She was directly involved with launching new projects and opening new channels of opportunities.

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Ghada ElBaky

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