It wasn’t long ago that Walid Muslih toiled in the high-rises of London and New York, a successful banker analyzing debt capital markets.
Working in the towers of big-city financial districts—suit and tie’d—his “exciting, always changing” career rode epic waves such as the global debt crisis.
One assumes he had it all, but in the back of this particular banker’s brain, Muslih was dreaming of something far different than sprawling Excel sheets and market analysis. He was dreaming of being a teacher.
Muslih grew up in a suburb of Vancouver. He says that despite being in a global city, his education fostered a small-town mentality that limited the jobs he considered.
He was good at math and made the logical choice to pursue engineering, which propelled him to New York for university. Bored by the engineering texts, Muslih changed directions and transferred into business. His decision landed him an internship with a leading financial institution. The rest is history—almost.
Muslih describes the balancing act of personal life and work in his quickly advancing career, adding that it is impossible to separate work from your personal life. “At the end of the day I knew it just wasn’t really me,” he says. “I knew that if I was to continue down that path, I would really have to be passionate about it—and I wasn’t.”
So Muslih asked himself: If I had all the money in the world, what would I do?
His answer: “I’m 35 years old and I want to be in a classroom.”
The banker in Muslih would not have taken this step haphazardly. He deliberated and evaluated the risk of a career change, and as the years passed he knew what he wanted to pursue.
“Last year I knew it was time to make a move.” And he did, relocating 7,372 km away, from London to the Okanagan. Today he’s completing his studies to become a secondary education teacher in the Faculty of Education’s Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP).
Muslih chose the Faculty of Education at UBC’s Okanagan campus for its calculable benefits: a one-year program that enables him “to see what my classroom will be like.”
Commending the integrative program and the opportunity to examine real-world cases as further confirmation of his decision to switch careers, he says the education at UBCO “makes me want to be in the classroom, to be there and make a difference.”
Described by his friends as a “source of positivity,” Muslih promises to share with students his inspirations: education and lifelong learning.
“Education helps people navigate the changing world,” he says.
Having navigated his way from London to the Okanagan, from banking to education, Muslih says now, at long last, he has it all.