2020 Best & Brightest: Marwan Elbattouty, University of Virginia (McIntire)

Marwan Elbattouty

University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce

“Egyptian poet and traveler with a love for cats, music festivals, and fried chicken.”

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve lived in five countries across three continents in the past four years – Egypt, Kenya, U.S., Spain, and Canada.

Hometown: Alexandria, Egypt

High School: American International School of Egypt (Cairo, Egypt)

Major: Finance

Minor: N/A (Major coursework in poetry writing, no poetry minor at UVA)

Favorite Business Course: Advanced Corporate Finance (Professor Carlos Tapia; took when studying abroad at IE University, Madrid)

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work, and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Alternative Investment Fund – Analyst
  • McIntire Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – Intern, event organizer, researcher
  • Raven Society (oldest and most prestigious honorary society at UVA) – Member
  • REM Orphanage & Elementary – Volunteer and teacher while in Nairobi, Kenya (Summer 2018)
  • Virginia Consulting Group – Project leader, analyst
  • Arab Student Organization – Secretary, general member
  • Formal recognition by The Order of Claw & Dagger, McIntire Society
  • Echols Scholar (~10% of undergraduate class) and Adviser

Where have you interned during your college career? Goldman Sachs, New York – Securities Summer Analyst (Summer 2019)

Where will you be working after graduation? Goldman Sachs – Principal Funding & Investments Analyst, Securities Division

What company do you admire the most? 57357 Hospital (Cairo, Egypt): 57357 Hospital was founded in 2007 while I was growing up in Egypt; the hospital’s mission is to provide free cancer treatment for kids in Egypt regardless of race, creed, or ability to pay. 57357 also aims to increase the childhood cancer survival rate from 40% to 75-80%. The organization has thrived through very generous contributions from many people, businesses, and philanthropists in Egypt – and really across all of the Arab world. Seeing this massive project come to life was inspiring to me and the Egyptian community. As of today, 57357 Hospital provides high-quality comprehensive cancer treatment for thousands of patients and is the largest free-standing pediatric cancer hospital in the world.  

Who is your favorite professor? Gary Ballinger. Professor Ballinger was my third-year Organizational Behavior professor and is also a member of the Raven Society. During my time at McIntire, I’ve gotten to know Professor Ballinger well through class and our conversations. What makes him stand out is not merely his strong knowledge and expertise within business, but how compassionate and helpful he is with his students. Professor Ballinger has never failed to offer me valuable professional and personal advice. I sincerely hope more students get the chance to interact and learn from him.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? My spring study-abroad program in Madrid at IE University. This was my second time studying abroad at UVA (McGill in Montreal was the first), and it was such an unforgettable experience. I’ve always cherished traveling as well as experiencing new cultures (visited over 20 countries), and being able to do so while studying business internationally was very fulfilling. I’m grateful I was able to explore tons of new cities around Europe and make timeless friendships. McIntire strongly values global perspectives and this semester abroad definitely enriched my overall experience here at the school.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Talk to older students, be open-minded, and explore your options. I would advise any student who’s interested in business majors to reach out to older students and simply speak with them about their experiences and ask questions. Business classes are great, but my older friends and mentors were critical to many decisions I made at UVA, finance recruiting, and everything in between. The earlier you start, the better. Finally, stay open-minded and don’t be afraid to change paths – you don’t realize the wide range of opportunities there are within business, so find something that excites you.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? How much emphasis there is on holistic thinking. At McIntire, I’ve learned to approach a decision or problem from various perspectives and be mindful of the way it may impact different parties. We’re always taught to think of all stakeholders. I was also surprised by the stress placed on thinking globally when it comes to all business, economic, and geopolitical issues. This is all opposed to the common misconceptions that there are no gray areas in business or finance and decisions are objective.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of, and why? The achievement I am perhaps most proud of is receiving a full-time offer from Goldman Sachs at the end of my summer internship. Ever since I was 14, I would tell my parents, “I want to go abroad for university, work hard, get a good job, and make you proud.” Seven years later, this moment I worked tirelessly towards actually came to fruition, and I was so happy to be able to make my parents proud. Ultimately, it is less so the specific role or company and more so the culmination of hard work paying off – I’m especially proud of this because it was a major goal I came to the U.S. to achieve.

Which classmate do you most admire? Seena Honarvar (McIntire Class ’19): I met Seena early second year at UVA when he interviewed me for the Alternative Investment Fund, right before I joined. Sharing our passions for poetry, finance, hiking, and traveling, Seena and I quickly became close friends. I admire him because he is very thoughtful, devoted, and caring in his work and personal relationships – mentorship was at the core of Seena’s experiences at UVA. He’s encouraged me to handle adversity with calmness and optimism, and his positive energy is almost contagious to those around him. Seena stays genuine to his interests and values no matter what, a true friend who’s always there to share both the hardships and successes of my life.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? As cliché as it sounds, I would most thank my mother. My mom and I have such a dear relationship, and she is the closest person in the world to me, really. Leaving my family and friends in Egypt to pursue my education at McIntire was very challenging, and I often doubted my decision in times of intense culture shock or homesickness. No matter how down or hopeless I felt, my mom could always encourage me and comfort me, even halfway across the world over the phone. She is somehow able to carry the entire family’s weight and do it with care so beautifully. My family, in general, is often the only reason I can keep a positive mindset and stay calm in difficult times or during high stress.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Founding an investment management company in Egypt
  2. DJing with David Solomon (Goldman CEO)

What are your hobbies?

  1. Very passionate about writing poetry – Started writing when I was eight and could not imagine my life without it.
  2. I love listening to electronic music (EDM, house, techno) and attending raves.
  3. Intentionally getting lost while traveling and meeting strangers from all over the world with interesting stories.
  4. Watching and playing soccer (favorite team: Liverpool).

What made Marwan such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Marwan was an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020 because he was an integral part of so many social networks around the school; his peers found him to be a great person to talk to outside of class in helping students critically assess and engage with the program. In the midst of what is a pretty stressful program, he was a helpful resource on academic and non-academic topics to so many of his classmates. Obviously, his academic work and contribution in the classroom impress me, my colleagues, and his classmates. Importantly, as a member of the community, he adds so much more than that behind the scenes, just by being a great, humble, and patient friend to so many, as well as a key part of so many social networks around here.”

Gary Ballinger
Associate Professor of Commerce



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