Read an interview with 2020 MSFS African Student Scholar Anita Abbey as she discusses how her previous experience working at a leading bank in Ghana prepared her for MSFS and how she hopes to use the knowledge she has gained to pursue a career as a development finance expert.
What made you want to pursue a MSFS degree with your background in economics and after getting an MBA? What made you choose Georgetown?
I wanted to obtain an education in international development to complement my existing educational background in economics and finance to better equip me for my chosen career path as a development finance expert. Georgetown MSFS, being the number one International Relations program globally with its renowned faculty as well as its location in Washington DC, was the perfect fit for me.
How did your work experience at EcoBank in Ghana on business and investment shape your interest in international affairs?
As Macro-Economic and Industry Research lead at a leading bank in Ghana, I engaged with various multilateral organizations to address a number of developmental issues through various projects in Ghana. With these experiences and my lifelong career goal of helping SMEs play their role in the private sector as the catalyst for economic growth, I realized the need to acquire additional knowledge and training in international development to enable me to work effectively with developmental organizations, governments and key players in the financial sector of emerging economies. I want to formulate policies and strategies that will help SMEs realize their potential as the largest employment and poverty reducing sector in most of the world’s economies.
What made you choose your MSFS concentration? What is the focus of your study at MSFS?
Given my strong background in finance and research, I was looking to acquire additional knowledge in international development practice to complement my existing knowledge and skill set. Therefore, the IDEV concentration was a right fit to enable me to broaden my knowledge on the major issues that are impacting development and how to effectively resolve them.
What has been the best part of your time at MSFS so far? Do you have a favorite class you have taken?
Although my experience at Georgetown has been limited to mainly online interactions due to the COVID pandemic, it has been very good. I have come to experience the quality of faculty and colleagues that the Walsh School of Foreign Service is known for. The best part has been my interaction with faculty. They are very helpful and a great resource and support especially during this difficult past year. It has also been great to work together with my fellow classmates and to share our experiences and frustrations. I am looking forward to a more exciting year ahead as we return to in person classes.
My favorite class was Investment in Emerging Markets with Professor Samy Muaddi because it helped me hone in my analytical skills and also gain understanding of the investment decisions of emerging markets and its implications for macroeconomic growth and development
How was your experience as a student organizer for the Africa Business Conference? What made you want to get involved with the conference?
Given my passion to see Africa emerge from the levels of poverty that currently plague a large proportion of its population, co-chairing the 2021 Africa Business Conference afforded me the opportunity to work with a team to bring together business and policy leaders from the private and public sector, startup founders, and students to have conversations that highlight Africa’s growth recovery and economic prosperity potential post-COVID-19. The conference provided an opportunity to identify unique characteristics and opportunities which the continent can leverage to drive growth in this decade. This was for me very fulfilling and an important step in my goal to be part of the solution to Africa’s challenges.
What does being an Africa Scholarship recipient mean to you?
First of all, the Africa Scholarship gave me this unique opportunity to pursue my education in International Relations at Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign service, the number one IR school, with its stellar faculty and classmates with such a high level of intelligence and professional caliber.
What are your career goals beyond MSFS?
I look forward to building skills in international relations via employment with a multilateral organization such as the World Bank, IFC or the IMF where I will endeavor to bring my years of private sector experience in a developing economy as well as the MSFS training to help shape their policies and encourage collaboration with actors in emerging markets to cause economic change.
About the MSFS African Student Scholarship
As of Fall 2014, MSFS began offering a full-tuition scholarship for a talented graduate student from sub-Saharan Africa. Special consideration will be given to applicants from Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa. To be considered for the scholarship, applicants must submit all required application materials (online application, personal statement, official transcripts and test scores, letters of recommendation). The scholarship will be awarded based on the strength of the student’s application in the admissions process.
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