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To Gain New Work Experiences and International Perspectives

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Carmen Avila-Yiptong

1.What encouraged you to apply to Johns Hopkins SAIS? What program are you in and what do you hope to gain from it?
Following several years of working in the Canadian central bank and federal government, I was motivated to pursue a graduate degree to bolster my quantitative skills and technical abilities. I was encouraged to apply to Johns Hopkins SAIS specifically for the Master of International Economics and Finance (MIEF). I was attracted to the program’s rigorous econometrics curriculum as well as its emphasis on technical skills and professional development. In addition, the opportunity to undertake a STEM-designated graduate degree within an international studies institution was of great interest to me. I foresaw that this multidisciplinary environment and global perspective would help further my critical-thinking skills while also exposing me to a wide variety of subjects and research.

2.What were you doing before attending the school?
Prior to enrolling at SAIS, I gained exciting professional experience in Canada’s public sector. I served as a Research Assistant within the Debt Management Office of the Bank of Canada where I provided policy and financial research support related to the Government of Canada’ domestic debt portfolio and cash management activities. Following this role, I acted as a Research and Policy Analyst at the Privy Council Office, the federal department that supports the Prime Minister of Canada and Cabinet. In this position, I was responsible for advancing Canada’s Federal Foreign Direct Investment Attraction Strategy. These stimulating work experiences cultivated my interest in pursuing advanced studies in economics and finance.

3.What has been one of your favorite experiences or classes at the school so far? 
The MIEF is a cohort-based degree, and I have greatly enjoyed and learned from the interactive and collaborative spirit of the program. Our courses require significant teamwork and group projects are the norm. Not only have I made long-lasting friendships through the MIEF program, but I have also learned from my classmates’ previous work experiences, research work, international perspectives, and past quantitative training.

4.What do you hope to do with your degree after you graduate?
Once I graduate, I plan to work in a role in which I can perform macroeconomic or financial research that is used and applied in a tangible way to make better informed public policy or investment decisions. I hope to apply my technical skills and previous work experiences for capacity building and sustainable economic growth.

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