|Current Job:||Head of Iraq Advisory at CrossBoundary|
Kate Wharton came to Georgia Tech from Cincinnati, Ohio. Within a year and a half, she had left the engineering school and joined the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, drawn to what she saw as the most urgent problems facing humanity: poverty, conflict, climate change. She graduated in 2012 with a B.S. in Economics and International Affairs, Research Option designation in economics, and a minor in Spanish.
Without a doubt, Kate’s time at Georgia Tech shaped her career decisions and trajectory over the last decade. She spent her first summer studying abroad with the Mexico LBAT program, and during her junior year worked abroad for a semester in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Throughout the years she was involved in a number of extracurriculars, but the most significant was AIESEC, an international student-led organization founded in the wake of WWII to promote global cooperation and cultural exchange. Over four years, she served in multiple roles including President of the Georgia Tech chapter and was also involved in the organization nationally and internationally including chairing conferences as an alumna. Finally, thanks to the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), she had the chance to conduct econometrics research for several semesters with Dr. Ruth Uwaifo, co-authoring a paper on the effects of conflict on education outcomes in Colombia.
After graduating, Kate moved to Washington, DC for a role in Deloitte’s Federal Consulting practice, where she focused on emerging markets energy and sustainability projects for USAID and the World Bank and also co-founded and led the firm’s flagship international social impact program, D2international, which supports social entrepreneurs around the world and has the broader mission of catalyzing socially impactful business practices.
Kate then spent about year and a half in Istanbul, Turkey, ultimately as Chief Operating Officer of Hala Systems, a humanitarian technology company focused on civilian protection in Syria, before getting her MBA at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Kate’s role now is in investment advisory at CrossBoundary, where she works on unlocking private capital for high-impact transactions in frontier and underserved markets.
What is your job title and description?
In my current role as Head of Iraq Advisory at CrossBoundary, I manage a team that works with Iraqi companies to help them raise capital to launch or grow their businesses, and with investors such as private equity and venture capital firms, development finance institutions, and impact investors who are looking for new opportunities in the Middle East. In this role, I get to support phenomenal entrepreneurs who are creating jobs and bringing new resources to their communities, while proving out a model for private sector-led development in a region long affected by conflict.
How did Georgia Tech and/or the Nunn School help you get to where you are in your career?
Beyond the many international experiences that shaped my interests, Georgia Tech taught me the value (and joy!) of interdisciplinary work. Spending time in the engineering school and learning the foundations of computer science not only exposed me to these subjects but also made me a better thinker and a more well-rounded leader in my field. Across my career, I’ve maintained a deep interest in the role of technology in advancing human rights, economic development, and climate solutions. In fact, this interest was a major factor that led me to pursue an MBA at Stanford, in the heart of Silicon Valley.
What advice do you have for prospective or current students interested in pursuing your field of study?
Follow your intellectual curiosity, and then get out of books and into the world. Study abroad, work abroad, learn another language, and take every chance to expand your understanding of the human experience. Pursue international work with humility, and make sure the mistakes of the past are also part of your education.