As part of our Pathways & Perspectives series, we spoke with Esi Monney and Hauwa Danmadami — two scholars who recently completed a four-month WorldQuant internship as part of the IFC-Milken Institute Capital Markets Program.
Over the past five years, WorldQuant has hosted more than 10 scholars from the IFC-Milken Capital Markets Program, which was set up by the International Finance Corp. and Milken Institute to provide an opportunity for mid-career professionals from developing economy governments to study capital markets and work at a financial firm in the U.S. Our most recent scholars, Esi Monney and Hauwa Danmadami, share their professional experiences, best advice for people early in their careers and their favorite parts of interning at WorldQuant.
Where did you attend college and graduate school, and what did you study?
Esi: I attended Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana and studied banking and finance. I then went to the University of Birmingham in the UK for my master’s degree in investments.
Hauwa: I studied economics at Bayero University in Kano, Nigeria. For graduate school, I attended the University of Adelaide in South Australia, where I studied finance and business economics.
Tell us about your professional journey and work experiences.
Esi: I have been working with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Ghana for the past eight years with the Fund Management Department — where I focus on ensuring compliance of the law by asset managers, custodians, collective investment schemes and trustees.
Hauwa: I started my career at the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission and have been there ever since. My job entails licensing of capital market operators (for example, stock brokers, accountants and financial advisers). We perform checks on firms and individuals interested in carrying out capital market activities. The checks include analysis of firms’ financial health, as well as individuals’ educational backgrounds and work experience. I was transferred to the Office of the Chief Economist after my graduate studies, and there I was actively involved in coming up with recommendations to aid management policymaking, managing the Commission’s data bank and publishing a statistical bulletin and policy briefs — analyzing the latest economic development and its impact on the capital market.
How has working in your country been similar or different than working in the U.S.?
Esi: I’ve observed that in both countries, my employers took deadlines seriously. However, addressing people by their first names is not common in my country. Most people, especially those in a higher rank, are addressed formally, while colleagues may be addressed informally.
Hauwa: The similarity of working in the U.S. and in my country is that these days, it is almost all virtual — at least during this time. The difference I have noticed is that here in the U.S., individuality is encouraged. Employees are allowed to express themselves freely, which is not always the case back home. Like Esi, I noticed that the relationship between employees is somewhat informal; you can address your superiors by their first names.
Can you describe the IFC-Milken Institute Capital Markets Program?
Esi: The IFC-Milken Institute Capital Markets Program is a four-month curriculum at the George Washington University, where scholars are taken through a rigorous program in Capital Markets, Instruments and Institutions; Corporate Finance and Risk Management; Capital Markets, Financial Crises and the Global Economy; and Quantitative Thinking for Policymakers. Upon successful completion of coursework, scholars undertake an additional four months at an internship to put into practice what has been learned during their coursework.