Meet Mahmoud F. Al Masri, CIA – Three Letters to Leadership
Mahmoud F. Al Masri
Head of Internal Audit
1. What prompted you to become certified?
I wanted to have more commitment to my profession in internal audit, improving my career opportunities and advancement. Being a certified professional reflects achievement, displays excellence in the field or industry, and fulfills professional standards and requirements. My CIA designation highlighted my individual competence by confirming proficiency, knowledge, and career commitment.
2. What IIA certification(s) do you hold and why did you choose to pursue it/them? Do you plan to pursue other IIA certifications and if so, which ones and why?
I hold the CIA and I chose it because I started my internal audit career at in Lebanon at BankMED Group where the banking sector is highly regulated and I wanted exposure to international standards. Currently I am pursuing the CRMA because the banking sector faces many risks and boards rely heavily on internal audit as an independent assurer on risk management processes.
3. How does having an IIA certification(s) set you apart from your non-certified peers?
Once I achieved certification, I proved to management that I am committed to my career and I have the right competency and knowledge for more responsibilities. My credential gave me the edge to be considered for a promotion or other career opportunities, allowing me to stand out. That’s exactly what happened when I was promoted to head of internal audit at MEDInvestment Bank only three months after receiving my CIA.
4. How has your IIA certification(s) helped your career?
Earning the CIA put me on the right track for career development. I received recognition from my peers and greater exposure to management where my reporting lines shifted internally toward the board of directors and audit committee and externally with regulators. Certification acknowledged my accomplishments and helped my resume stand out, serving as impartial third-party endorsement of my knowledge and expertise. As a result, I was contacted by Lebanese University to participate as a guest lecturer on internal audit within the banking sector. I was also contacted by Morgan International to become a CIA instructor, offering lectures and training for professionals pursuing their CIA credential.
5. Has earning the IIA certification(s) enhanced your skill level?
My CIA helped me improve my skills in many ways. For example, through CPE, which is a requirement for maintaining my certificate. I have advanced my experience and adapted to changes in work, technology, business practices, and innovation. I enjoy access to The IIA’s Internal Audit Foundation and resources provided to IIA members.
6. What advice do you have for others who are considering obtaining an IIA certification?
Dedicate yourself to becoming certified. Aim for the IIA designation that suits your career, and achieve success.
7. How does career planning and development play a part in your growth?
Planning is key for a successful career. Once you define your goals, start planning and take action. I started my career plan in 2011 and aimed to have my CIA by 2013. My goal was to achieve a position greater than a senior auditor, but I never knew that I would end up as head of internal audit, a guest lecturer, and a CIA program instructor.
8. What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
“Create your own opportunities.” This can be achieved by hard work, self-development, and the right designation. You will see yourself as a certified professional who can control his or her own professional destiny and find a deep sense of personal satisfaction.
Mahmoud Al Masri is the head of internal audit for MEDInvestment Bank, a subsidiary of Bankmed Group and a leading financial services group. He has nearly 10 years of experience in auditing, beginning his career as an external auditor at Grant Thornton. In 2009, Al Masri worked as a compliance and internal control officer for an offshore company. Having a passion for banking, Al Masri started his internal audit career in 2011 as a senior internal auditor at Bankmed Group and was encouraged by management to pursue the CIA designation, completing the exam process and earning his credential in 2013. Al Masri is a CIA program instructor and faculty member at Morgan International, a professional institute that offers programs for other professional designations and serves as a guest lecturer for internal audit-related subjects at Lebanese University. Al Masri is a member of IIA–Lebanon and graduated from Beirut Arab University.