Current position and employer: Social Sector Economist, Asian Development Bank
Hometown: Islamabad, Pakistan
Current City: Manila, Philippines
Why did you choose McCourt? My decision to study at McCourt was motivated by a desire to acquire rigorous, quantitative and analytical skills that I could apply in international development. The McCourt School maintained a clear comparative advantage in this regard, offering policy-relevant coursework in applied microeconomics, statistics, econometrics and evaluation methods. In addition, the McCourt School was uniquely positioned to offer unparalleled access to a range of academic and professional networks and opportunities on campus and the wider DC area, from teaching and research assistant opportunities with renowned faculty members to internships and post-graduation opportunities with organizations that have consistently held the McCourt School and Georgetown in high regard.
What was the best part of your experience? I would say three things made my experience at McCourt particularly unique and invaluable. The first was the academic rigor of the program that helped me build the necessary technical and analytical skills in economics and international development over the course of the program. The second was the combination of practical research and internship opportunities, engaging seminars, and policy-oriented discussions with leading researchers and practitioners that allowed me to graduate with a much better sense of specific issues in development that I wanted to focus on. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the students, faculty, and staff at the McCourt school made me feel part of an exciting community dedicated to improving lives through smart and evidence-based public policies.
What internships did you have during your time at McCourt? I interned with the Georgetown University Initiative on Innovation, Development and Evaluation (gui2de) during my time at McCourt, supporting research and development initiatives in East Africa. This included analyzing survey results from 'High Hopes' in Kenya, a project which aimed to promote savings for secondary school education using a mobile money platform; facilitating the scale-up of an effective road safety intervention, Zusha, which encouraged passengers in minibuses (matatus) to speak up against bad driving; and coordinating data collection for the endline survey of a water, sanitation and hygiene project (SWASH+) that used community incentives to improve WASH services in Kenyan primary schools. In addition, I worked as Research Fellow with gui2de/UNICEF over the summer of 2015, undertaking research on early childhood development and designing initiatives to enhance the utilization of antenatal and postnatal care services among expectant mothers in Uganda.
Student organization involvement while at McCourt: I was the founder and president of the South Asia Policy and Research Initiative (SAPRI) at the McCourt School, a student-led initiative dedicated to promoting evidence-based policies to address South Asia's unique development challenges.
Undergraduate university, degree, and major: Australian National University (ANU), Bachelor of Economics/Bachelor of Commerce (Double Degree), International Economics and Finance (Double Major)
Hobbies/ Interests: Playing my guitar and djembe, hiking and exploring remote islands, reading fiction, and tracking down the best coffee in town.