How did Tech and INTA help you get where you are?
When I applied to graduate school, I knew what I cared about, but I did not know how to do something about it. INTA helped me turn my passion for fair trade and sustainable investment in global markets into a career. I now have seven years of experience in international trade. During this time I have supported trade missions, conducted industry and market analysis, advised businesses on export/import controls, and developed international networks allowing me to tap into interagency and private sector resources, which has resulted in successful private sector matchmaking in frontier markets. I may not be saving the world, but I am making a meaningful contribution, thanks to the Sam Nunn School.
What advice you would give current students at Tech as well as the Sam Nunn School specifically?
Internships, internships, internships. There is no better way to augment your education than through relevant professional experience. All the more important for INTA students who often struggle to translate their education into a career path. Plus, employers don’t want to hire “students”, they want to hire professionals. Internships will help you stand out when you apply/interview for that first job after graduation.
What is something that you got from studying INTA at Tech?
Practical problem solving skills. People who know how to break down complex information into manageable pieces, cut through the bull, ask the right questions, and deliver doable solutions are the folks who add real value at the end of the day. No one likes fancy talking naval gazers. Knowing theory gets you nowhere, applying it effectively does.
Also, a brief description of what you are currently working on would be greatly appreciated.
- I currently lead the Strategic Investments Team at the US Department of Defense Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO) in Afghanistan. TFBSO seeks to help rebuild Afghanistan's private sector to improve economic stability and security. My team is tasked with sourcing and facilitating private sector capital into small to large-scale opportunities to spur sustainable economic development and job creation. I oversee projects including the development of a $110M greenfield steel manufacturing project, tendering three public private partnership hospitals, facilitating a master franchise agreement, and matchmaking an US communications equipment manufacturer with local partner. In short, I promote and facilitate foreign direct investment into Afghanistan to support the Afghan economy’s transition from a donor dependent state to a thriving market economy.