Whether it’s on the soccer field or in the boardroom, Ebrahem Wahba is the guy you want on your team.
After all, he knows a thing or two about strategy, planning, and playing to a team’s strengths—and he’s learning more every day.
Originally from Matrouh, Egypt—roughly 6,000 miles from Madison—the onetime semi-professional footballer came to the Wisconsin School of Business in 2021 to pursue an MBA. He was attracted to WSB’s program that combined corporate finance and investment banking, and locked down a Fulbright scholarship to help get here.
But his path into business begins much earlier in life. It started with him sketching a logo for a business in sixth grade and later evolved into him opening up his own furniture store at the age of 18 (which his dad and brother still run today). Being a self-described “numbers guy,” Ebrahem gravitated towards finance in college and later worked in investment banking and management consulting before feeling that something was missing.
“I needed to learn more; I needed to grow,” he says. “That’s why I pursued my MBA. I knew I’d learn a lot from this. I’m gaining so much experience, and so far, I’m happy with that.”
He found quickly that the lessons learned on the soccer pitch are also applicable in the business world, which gave him an immediate leg up and helped him stand out. In 2022, he landed a competitive investment banking internship at Baird, where he’s already secured a full-time job after graduation.
Ebrahem’s long-term goal is to return to Egypt and put the sophisticated investment strategies he’s learned to work in his country. Specifically, he wants to target community development projects in towns and cities other than Cairo, projects with the potential to create positive and lasting change.
“We need someone with a good background and great experience to come in, someone who knows how to actually get a return on the investment,” he says. “I’m not talking about the money, but actual social return.”
Ebrahem has always been curious about the world. Driven by a love of travel and novel experiences, the Egyptian-born MBA student recently got a taste of winter at Yosemite National Park.
Until then, he’s soaking in the experience of being in Wisconsin. In addition to his coursework, Ebrahem serves as the athletic chair for the Graduate Business Association Board and the president of the Graduate Finance Organization. He enjoys hanging out with fellow MBA students and spending time outside, though for someone who grew up on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, he says acclimating to Wisconsin’s winter weather was a bit of an adjustment.
Through it all, Ebrahem says it’s his family that gives him motivation. But it’s also his belief in better days ahead for his country that keeps him fueled and engaged.
“When you see other people’s lives changing, this is the return I’m looking for,” he says. “I believe with the experience I get from my Wisconsin MBA, I can do that.”
What is your favorite place on campus?
Grainger Hall. We have these breakout rooms where you can study, watch movies, or just enjoy sitting there.
What are you listening to?
In the morning, I listen to the Wall Street Journal podcasts to keep up with the news.
Beach or mountains?
Beach! I've lived almost my entire life on a beach. My hometown was on the beach, and I want to go back there one day.