Safwaan Mir

Safwaan Mir, MM '20

Finding His Role in FinTech

Safwaan Mir had a tough decision on his hands. 

Throughout undergrad, his goal was to pursue a degree in biomedical physics and go on to do research. But in his senior year during his capstone project on wealth-gaps, he realized that there were issues that couldn’t be solved simply through research alone. “The more I learned, the more I wanted to work on the problem,” said Safwaan. “However, I didn’t see a path to a career that would allow me to have the type of impact I wanted.” 

“I applied to three schools that offered post-grad, one-year masters: Michigan, Virginia, and Duke,” he said. “I was blessed to be accepted to all three and faced the tough decision of choosing between three amazing programs.” For Safwaan, the Ross Master of Management program made the most sense for his career path. The 10-month program gives non-business majors gain business insights, practical skills, and leadership training, and helps students find a career that best fits their goals. Students can also take elective classes with students from other disciplines across the University of Michigan, which Safwaan felt could give him a different perspective.

When he first arrived at Ross, Safwaan was consumed by the atmosphere of his new environment. “Being in the Ross building and around the other students builds a drive and desire to succeed that is difficult to explain without experiencing it,” he said. “Everything from the way classes are structured to events in the building — they all gave me motivation, drive, and energy I would never have had on my own.” At Ross, Safwaan said it felt like professors were looking out for their students in and out of the classroom. He highlighted his time in Professor Pablo Pasquariello’s course on international finance as one of the best experiences he’s had in a class. The class was an essential part of learning more about global financial principles for Safwaan. He recalls how Pasquariello took intensely complicated subjects and simplified them in a way that ‘your grandmother could understand.’ “The time that professor Pasquariello took out of class to help me with my career goals and to explain other topics in finance to me was amazing,” said Safwaan. 

Safwaan’s interest in fintech grew stronger after participating in the Global Fintech Experience in London. The program gives students hands-on experience solving a fintech challenge at a real company. The class got to travel to London for a week and consult directly with the partner company.

The project was amazing and gave me the real-world experience of working for a client, as well as allowing me to make great connections in the field I was interested in.

He was also able to start his own fintech startup alongside engineering students at the university, participate in the Michigan Business Challenge, and build relationships with students and faculty throughout the University of Michigan. After graduating, he will be working with Capital One, analyzing data and helping senior leadership make strategic decisions. 

“I was able to overcome the struggles I had in previous parts of my education and thrive in the program, and it was all thanks to the mentors and support I received while on campus. I would make the choice to do the program a million times over and will always be thankful for the opportunity.” 

For those interested in applying to the Master of Management program, Safwaan had a few tips to share: 

“Make sure Ross is a place that you are inspired to thrive and be your best self, because only then will you be able to best take advantage of the amazing resources here.”