Prof. Nafis Alam: Empowering Individuals through Social Investment | Self-improvement Atlas #33

In this episode, host Marie Stella is joined by Prof. Nafis Alam, a Professor and Head of the School of Business at Monash University Malaysia

Many individuals limit their investment strategies to solely pursuing financial gains, overlooking the potential for investments to generate broader social benefits. Embracing social investment involves directing resources towards activities that yield financial returns and contribute to positive social outcomes, such as community development or environmental sustainability.

Meet Prof. Nafis Alam

Nafis Alam is a Professor and Head of the School of Business at Monash University Malaysia. Apart from his current role at Monash, he has worked at Henley Business School Malaysia, the University of Reading Malaysia, and Nottingham University Business School at the University of Nottingham Malaysia. 

Prof. Nafis is a well-regarded scholar and commentator on FinTech, Banking, and financial regulation. As a frequent traveler, he has given lectures on FinTech and finance worldwide, including at Harvard Law School and the University of Cambridge. He has held visiting positions at universities in the UK and Indonesia. 

He has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles in leading journals, including The World Economy, Emerging Markets Review, Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, and Journal of Banking Regulation. Prof. Nafis has co-authored nine books and numerous book chapters on Fintech and Islamic Finance and contributed to several global reports. 

About the episode

As Prof. Nafis explained, social investment transcends the traditional boundaries of investing for a financial return. It involves directing resources—time, money, or effort—towards activities that yield social benefits and potential financial gains. This broader perspective of investment encourages a focus on personal or immediate family gains and the positive impacts that investments can have in the broader community.

According to Prof. Nafis, personal development is a deeply individual journey influenced by one’s circumstances, aspirations, and daily learning. Integrating social investment into one’s life enriches this journey, providing a sense of fulfillment from contributing positively to society and fostering trust, ethics, and good citizenship within oneself.

Prof. Nafis shares his practices and recommends identifying local needs and contributing time or resources to educational or community services. This approach not only aids those in need but also instills valuable qualities in oneself, emphasizing the importance of giving back and the joy derived from helping others. Social investment activities can also enhance professional life, illustrating qualities like team spirit, ethical judgment, and trustworthiness to potential employers or collaborators.

Challenges will arise, primarily balancing the desire for financial returns with pursuing social good. Yet, the intrinsic rewards of contributing to societal well-being often outweigh financial considerations, offering more profound satisfaction and personal fulfillment.

In conclusion

Social investment presents an opportunity to blend personal development with social responsibility. Individuals aid those in need by investing time, resources, and efforts into causes that matter and enrich their lives with purpose and fulfillment. Embracing social investment can lead to profound personal growth and a more compassionate, interconnected world.

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