Talk with a Professional: Fatima Iqbal
In late October 2021, Pleasant View School students were invited to listen to the monthly “Talk with a Professional” program sponsored by the Islamic Association of Greater Memphis. The host of this program, Dr. Hassan Almoazen, interviews professionals in different career fields every month. The interviews allow students and parents to learn and gain more knowledge about various career paths.
The guest speaker in October was Sr. Fatima Iqbal, an investment advisor and senior financial planner with Azzad Asset Management. She graduated from Cornell University with a degree in applied economics and management and earned a masters degree in finance from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Sr. Fatima is a published writer, a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars in the United States and abroad, and has been interviewed by media outlets such as the Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal. She has extensive training in halal investing, Islamic inheritance, and estate planning. She also specializes in planned charitable giving that incorporates traditional Islamic concepts in modern America.
At the beginning of the interview, Sr. Fatima Iqbal described her journey in discovering her interest as she reached her final year of high school. She was unclear on whether she wanted to pursue a profession in the medical field; she thought she would become a physician just like her parents. However, since she was interested in leadership and doing social work, she pursued a career in business. This is a reminder for high school students to keep an open mind when it comes down to decision-making about future careers. Explore different career options until you find the one that suits you and you’re truly passionate about. However, be sure to extensively research the career options you are most interested in before you make a long term commitment.
Sr. Fatima went on to talk about how she earned both science education and business education through a program at Cornell University. Students should explore programs that different universities offer to find their fit. She then went on to explain her experience as she transitioned from high school to college and how difficult it was for her to move so far away from her hometown in Kentucky. She was faced with many challenges as she was at a very highly competitive university and managing school with social life was a struggle. Despite these challenges she faced, she met students that supported her, joined the MSA, and organizations that were at her university. It is important to surround yourself with the right people when you go to college and have the proper group that can aid you whenever you are in need.
Throughout the rest of the interview, she discussed her experience studying business . She participated in many internships to deepen her interest in business. After earning her masters degree, she started looking for jobs and currently works as a financial planner and advisor for AZZAD Asset Management. Her work holds great value in the community, as she works with small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and local mosques to aid them with their financial needs. Additionally, she helps students with financial aid for college. She emphasizes how important it is to start early when it comes to planning for college funds especially since college is very expensive. The earlier you start preparing for your college funds (i.e halal investing) and understanding how the financial process works, the better prepared you will be prior to reaching your senior year. She elaborates on this preparation in the interview. Therefore, if you are interested in business, I strongly suggest watching it and doing your own additional research as well. To watch the full interview, students can find it on Masjid Arrahman’s Youtube channel or at this link:Talk with a Professional w/ Sr. Fatima Iqbal, CFP