Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dobre Makes An International Impact

Ferris graduate puts Finance degree to work in Middle East

BIG RAPIDS – Striking a balance between Islamic culture and modern banking practices presented Mircea Dobre and his team of fellow graduate students from the University of Chicago with quite a challenge: to help Barclay’s Bank (based in the United Kingdom) operate efficiently, find ways to profit, while adhering to Muslim beliefs that prohibit charging and collecting interest.

That challenge was issued and eagerly accepted in 2008. Dobre, a 2001 Ferris State University graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Finance, traveled with his diverse seven-member team on a 10-week mission to the Middle East, with stops in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Cairo. The group also journeyed to London, England, during a period from April through June. To accommodate the trip, Dobre was granted a sabbatical by R.W. Baird, a Grand Rapids-based consulting firm, where he is a senior investment consultant.

“We went there as advisers and our function was to assist Barclay’s with a plan that would allow them to function effectively as a bank and accomplish two major things,” said Dobre, who is pursuing his MBA in economics with concentrations in accounting and finance from the University of Chicago. “Number one, we needed to help them to function while not being able to charge interest because there is a prohibition against charging interest. Number two, banking has to be a partnership with risk-sharing between the bank and the customer.”

For the complete story of Dobre's trip to the Middle East, visit:

For a profile of Dobre, visit:

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