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University of Balamand > Administration > Administrative Offices > North America > Alumni > Yassin Sibai - BS in Computer Science - Class of 1998


Yassin Sibai
Yassin Sibai, Bachelor of Science, Computer Science - Class of 1998



Current Title: Vice President of Business Development, Nexa Technologies, Austin, Texas, USA.

Yassin Sibai has more than 18 years of experience in information technology, product life cycle management and financial markets. Currently and since 2012, he serves as Vice President of Business Development at Nexa Technologies. Previously, he worked for Penson Worldwide (PNSN) as part of the proprietary trading team engaged in high frequency FX and Equity quant development and trading. In 2008, he spearheaded and delivered from inception to production the first release of DublinATS. In 2010, he became Vice President, Head of Product Development and Strategy at Penson leading the effort to deliver a Penson Global Trading Platform. 

Previous to Penson, Yassin was a founding member of Rubicon Global Value Fund. He also worked with Revere Data, LLC, a financial research firm. He holds CIO (Chief Information Officer) Executive Management and CIO Business Strategist MBA Certifications from Boston University, School of Management and received a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from Balamand University.

Yassin is also the founder and owner of Afia Foods, a food manufacturer in Austin, Texas, employing a number of Syrian Refugees granted asylum in USA. He is a member of SARA (Syrian American Refugees Aid) organization and a contributor to WataUSA.org, two non-profit organizations helping Syrian refugees in the US and in Syria.


Thank you for joining us for Take 10! Can you start by giving us a brief background about yourself?
I had an interestingly multi-cultural upbringing where I lived in Algeria, Nigeria, England, Lebanon, Syria, and U.A.E for 4-5 years each before settling in USA. These travels exposed me to many peoples and cultures from different walks of life. Although I was born in Syria and currently hold an American citizenship, I identify myself as a citizen of this world and do empathize with the most unfortunate.

What do you miss most about home?
I miss my childhood memories in all the countries I lived but I feel deep sadness toward Syria; and how the world allowed one mad dictator to burn a beautiful country like Syria to the ground.

Tell us a little more about what you do at Nexa Technologies. 
My usual day at Nexa Technologies starts with a morning cup of coffee and long list of emails from customers and internal employees to address. I end up in meetings or on the phone for most of my day. I do a lot of traveling between New York, Dallas, California and Toronto/Montreal Canada.
I’m responsible for business Profit&Loss, direction and strategy. Also, I’m responsible for pricing, negotiations, strategic partnerships and providing the backbone for sales and marketing activities. On a more tactical level, I manage products roadmaps and development prioritization.

What do you enjoy best about your work?
I mostly enjoy closing deals with customers after months of negotiations. I get a sense of accomplishment when we are making products advancements that give us a competitive edge in the market.

Did you have a relatively straightforward or alternative educational path, and what have you learned along the way about yourself, your interests, and/or the world?
I don’t recall much of my elementary education, but my middle school was mostly in Nigeria, home schooled, and my High school was in England. Returning home with an English educational background, I appreciated the University of Balamand for offering me quality education in English, comparable to western universities’ educational standards and degrees.

What are you most proud of in terms of your accomplishments or achievements on either the professional or personal levels?
Getting a stable job in the USA with a higher degree qualification is one thing, but it is very hard to climb the corporate ladder and achieve executive level positions in the USA. I consider this one of my accomplishments, having started as a software engineer at the bottom of the ladder with zero connections. 

On the personal side, I’m proud of my beautiful 4 daughters and my supporting wife and partner in life, and partner in our Afia foods business.

Can you share with us the best career advice you have received in the past?
There are two types of people in the business world, the talkers and the doers. You need to decide who you want to be. 

Looking back, how do you feel your time at UoB has helped you in getting to where you are today, and in being great at what you do?
Engineering or any other specialty courses always evolve over time, and UoB offered an expected level of knowledge in those subjects. Honestly, the day you graduate you will realize that the information is already outdated and you need to continue to educate yourself on those specialty subjects. But what I value most from UoB is the critical thinking courses and the social civic courses, which helped me grow my personality and my intellectual understanding, as well as logical reasoning about things around me.  

What would you say have been the highlights of your time at Balamand? Any specific memories you’d like to share? Any specific individuals who have made a difference in your life?
My table tennis days were probably the most memorable and my network/computer lab long nights probably rank as a close second.
I thank my table tennis coach Jimmy Karam. 
I also appreciate very much my closest peers whom I still love dearly as brothers: Bassam El Abid, Tarek Mourad, Toufic Saifi and Waleed Sha3ban 


What advice would you give to current UoB students, and to our future young graduates in STEM disciplines in specific?
Enjoy your days at UoB, have fun and make sure you earn a degree because without it you might still accomplish things and be successful in life, but a university degree truly grows your mind, your personality and your perspective on life.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience and perspective with us. We wish you the best of success in all your future endeavors! ​
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Lebanon

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