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Wilfrid Xoual, MSRM '13

Headshot of Wilfrid Xoual

Wilfrid Xoual, the Paris-based Head of Moody’s Analytics business development team, hadn’t even received his degree from the NYU Stern Master’s in Risk Management program when he was able to utilize the Stern network in a professional capacity. “We recently organized a visit in an African country where we sponsored an event on the new Basel regulation,” he recalls. “We needed to contact several banks and consulting firms in the country to understand what angle could be more relevant for participants. I found out that one of my colleagues in the MSRM program was the chief risk officer of one of these banks and was very keen on providing some assistance. Moody’s Analytics is a key player in developing solutions for Basel regulations, and it is obvious that we need the local vision of what is needed for banks on that matter.”

But networking is only one of the benefits of pursuing the MSRM at Stern, says Wilfrid. “I have been very impressed by the quality of the faculty team and the MSRM management team. I was off school benches for a long time, but they made it as easy as possible.”

What’s more, he continues, “Everything we covered in class is part of my daily job, be it to better understand what my teams are willing to do, the products we are selling or to understand better what issues our clients or prospects are facing now and how it could evolve.

“For instance, in class, we did a thorough analysis of Dodd Frank and the extended role of the FDIC in the context of the new regulation. As Europe is tilting toward a banking union, and pushing for a single supervisory mechanism under the ECB, I could immediately associate what was done in the US to what Europe is trying to do, be it in discussions with banks or regulators.”

Wilfrid was equally impressed with his cohort: “The variety of students was great, with an interesting balance of countries, companies, and public servants. It was very gratifying to exchange ideas with such a group.”

As a professional, he adds, the program’s focus was perfectly pitched to his interests. “I think a great value of the program lies in the fact that it sticks to the present context. Practical cases were discussed as they were happening, so it was hot information and not pure academic book stuff.”

Married with four children, Wilfrid is a product of France’s leading schools, with an expertise in computer science and artificial intelligence. He first became attracted to finance while consulting for the Paris Stock Exchange as an associate at Arthur Andersen, eventually transitioning to commercial and investment banking while chief operating officer for EMEA at Fermat, a French software vendor of risk management solutions that was acquired by Moody’s.

Despite the challenges of balancing family life, a job, and school with a travel element, Wilfrid managed to make it all work. “It was also a good example for my children as all of them are in international schools and are willing to study abroad later,” he says.

The MSRM degree will enhance his career in several ways, Wilfrid believes. Firstly, he says it equipped him to better assess risk management advice and help financial institutions and vendors integrate it adequately in their development plans. In addition, he says, “the MSRM is helping me raise my credibility internally and externally. Combining my past experience in managing entities and developing businesses with a newly acquired solid foundation in financial risk management could help me access a more senior management level in my current organization.”

Update: Please note that Wilfrid is now the Senior Vice President at Moody's Investors Service.