Jadwa Investment, Saudi Arabia
This summer I traveled to the Middle East to work at Jadwa, an investment management firm headquartered in Saudi Arabia. I spent a month working in Riyadh at the company office, exploring the work of its departments ranging from research to private equity. I primarily spent my time learning about the firm’s regional investment strategy, in addition to participating in a training program within the private equity department.
Jadwa’s portfolio represents a mix of domestic and international companies. During my time in Riyadh, the firm acquired a majority stake in a Kuwaiti company called Dabdoob. It was Jadwa’s first venture capital investment. I was able to observe as they planned to expand Dabdoob to the rest of the Middle East and North Africa.
Investment in elastic goods such as the toys offered by Dabdoob represents a compelling shift in the Middle East. In a region traditionally driven by one-dimensional, commodity-based economies, such investment is evidence of growth in the region’s consumer class. My internship provided a unique vantage point to observe a fascinating transformation. Every investment seemed connected to the notion of progress.
Saudi Vision 2030 was a topic that seemed to permeate each discussion. The government’s goal for this major endeavor is to make tourism, infrastructure and renewable energy the center of the Saudi economy. From real estate to private equity, Jadwa’s strategy aligns with Vision 2030’s efforts to shift Saudi Arabia’s economy away from the oil and gas sector. As Saudi Arabia looks to allocate funds toward a more dynamic and equitable economy, Jadwa’s participation as an asset manager is more crucial than ever.
On a day-to-day basis, I learned financial analysis skills pertaining to valuation and due diligence. I was particularly interested in learning about how Jadwa works as a Shariah-compliant investment manager. Because Islam prohibits the charging of interest, there are numerous structured financial instruments (such as Sukuk bonds) to accommodate the requirements of the religion. Shariah law alters many aspects of finance in the Middle East, and it was very interesting to learn about them while in an Islamic country.
The greatest value of traveling across the world to work at Jadwa was engaging with other people in the office. Not only did I gain valuable help with my training, my co-workers often helped connect me with other experiences in Riyadh, enabling me to further experience the business culture in Saudi Arabia.
As an Arabic Studies major this internship presented me with an experience of a lifetime. I am truly grateful to the support and guidance from the Williams community, especially Tonio Palmer, Dawn Dellea and Daryle Bost. I would like to thank Tariq Al-Sudairy ’99, who connected me with this opportunity and encouraged me throughout. Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to the Case Family. Thank you all very much for making this summer possible.