Michael Assoue 18

Learning doesn’t stop in the classroom, and Collat graduates are constantly learning new skills to be a step ahead in their growing careers. A willingness to learn and improve is vital for success – in every aspect of life.

Recent Collat finance graduate Michael Assoué considers himself a student of life.

An international student from the Ivory Coast in West Africa, Michael arrived at UAB through a merit-based exchange visitor program sponsored by the Ivorian government. He quickly fell in love with UAB and his studies.

Before UAB, Michael attended an elite high school that allowed him to major in a subject to prepare for college. He chose accounting. At UAB, Michael switched to finance because he liked the growing career opportunities and the dynamic subject matter.

After graduating last semester, Michael launched his finance career as an assistant relationship manager in the commercial banking department of ServisFirst Bank.

“ServisFirst is a great company,” he says. “I love their story and how they came to be. I am excited for everything I will learn there and to see how my talent can be an addition to their great team.”

Michael plans to return to school soon to earn an MBA or CFA, depending on his career trajectory.

Hands-on experience played an important role in Michael’s education at UAB and allowed him to put his classroom learning into practice. He served one year as an analyst for the alternative investments sector for the UAB Green and Gold Fund, a $560,000 student-managed investment portfolio in the Collat School of Business. He then served as the fund’s chief economist until he graduated.

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Finance professor Ryan Davis introduced Michael to the fund. Davis taught Michael’s equity portfolio course, which nurtured Michael’s interest in and understanding of the stock market. Michael excelled in the class and was later recruited by Davis to serve as an officer for the Green and Gold Fund.

Michael says Davis encouraged him in class and in his independent research for the business honors program. “He mentored me to give my best instead of letting me settle for what’s expected,” he says.

Because he’s an international student, Michael says he had difficulty persuading potential employers to hire him. His experience with the Green and Gold Fund, however, enabled him to showcase his work ethic and finance knowledge.

“The fund was really important because it always gave me a competitive advantage during interviews,” he says. When I would talk about what I do, it always caught interviewers’ attention.”

As a recent graduate, Michael has advice for current and future students.

He advises students to ask questions if they’re unsure of their next step. “The worst you get out of asking questions is finding out who can or can’t help you.”

He also recommends students try out different clubs and organizations. “If you know early enough what you want to do, that’s great. If you don’t, that’s alright, too. At a university like UAB you can join several organizations and clubs where they host professional speakers that speak about their careers and help students discover if they want to join that field.”

Lastly, he says, never stop learning.