Zine Mazouzi ’96, ’98MBA Helps Shape the Future of Steve Madden as Chief Financial Officer

Alumni Success

Name: Zine Mazouzi
Hometown: Mohammedia, Morocco
High School: Ibn Yassine, Morocco
Major: Finance and International Business
Graduation Year(s): BBA (1996) and MBA (1998)
Company: Steven Madden, Ltd.
Job Title: Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

What is a day in the life like at your company?

Very fast paced and each day may not resemble the previous one. We are a large public company with a big and diverse family business type of culture. We strongly believe that everyone should roll up their sleeves and contribute, including the executive leadership team who prioritizes staying in touch with people they manage and remaining aware of what’s happening on the front lines of the business. My “typical” day involves managing various teams in Finance, Operations and Technology as well as various business meetings to review results, discuss current business matters, and build and review financial models. I also have strategy meetings with the CEO and various brand presidents under the corporate umbrella.

What do you love most about what you’re currently doing?

Finance in the fashion industry is an exciting field. I love all aspects of it and my current role spans past finance and into all facets of the business (finance, accounting, payroll, operations, production/manufacturing, supply chain, information technology and cyber security). I love that my role allows me to run all of these departments and help shape the future of the company in finance, operations and technology.

How did Iona prepare you to get where you are today?

First and foremost, the education quality and curriculum were top notch and would rival any Ivy League university. The staff was experienced and didn’t just follow a textbook. The classes reflected business cases and applied finance. Small classrooms allowed for more interaction and a better learning experience. The Christian values inherent in Iona’s education and diversity on campus are also a big plus (and this is coming from a Muslim kid).

Were you involved in any student groups or activities? If so, how did they shape or support your career path?

I did some tutoring in finance which allowed me to develop good training skills and have come in handy when onboarding new team members and training new staff.

What is the lasting impact Iona has made in your personal and professional life?

I don’t think I would be where I am without Iona and the amazing staff and leadership at the University. I was ready to drop out due to financial resource issues, but Iona helped me find solutions and encouraged me to continue my education through various financial aid programs (graduate assistantship, part-time work on campus, free textbooks, career services and off-campus job opportunities). Iona created opportunities for me that ultimately allowed me to get where I am and literally live the proverbial American Dream.

What advice do you have for a current Iona student who wants to follow a similar path?

Pick a field that you love and enjoy doing, broaden your education beyond just finance, build a network, cultivate strong partnerships, work hard, avoid being entitled or complacent and continue to learn as the business and the world evolve. Finally, it is very important to prioritize career over salary. The rewards will come and most people that follow the money lose on the career. 

What seven words would your family and friends use to describe you? 

Family and friends would describe me as generous, wise, determined (or stubborn), respectful, charismatic, versatile/creative and trustworthy.