FSI: Why did you decide to enroll in the MIP program?
MP: My undergraduate graduating class consisted of 13 people, and when I was thinking about grad school, I wanted something similar. That's one reason why the MIP program was so appealing for me — it's a small cohort, which I think enriches the experience. You can get really close to your classmates and also learn from them. I really value that a lot.
Also, I think that being here at Stanford, close to the tech bubble that's within Silicon Valley, we have the opportunity to learn a lot about technology and how it can improve our lives. I now have a quantitative and tech background, as well as a qualitative background. It’s a very holistic approach, which I love.
How would you describe your career goals and how might they have changed since you started your studies at Stanford?
One of my main goals in life has always been to have impact — to do something that improves peoples’ living conditions. One topic I’m interested in is education, and ensuring that everyone can have access to an education. When I first entered the MIP program, I thought I wanted to get a job at UNICEF after graduation and work on improving children’s education. But now that I've been here for almost a year, I’ve realized that there are many different ways that you can make a difference. I think I’d like to focus on financial inclusion and technology as well as on education to see how they all can come together to make an impact. I want to make the world a place where all people can access services that are only for the privileged sector of the population right now.
I consider myself privileged. Many people don't have the same privilege as I do, so I feel an obligation to give back. I hope to able to make access for universal services, like health and education, widely available for everyone. That's my main goal.
How different is your actual experience in the MIP program from what you expected it to be before arriving on campus?
It's different. For example, when I was in college as an undergrad, I wasn’t allowed to choose my classes. My academic schedule was sent to me one week before starting classes. I expected that I was going to be able to create my own schedule at Stanford, and I thought that that wasn't going to be a problem until I realized that there are tons of classes here, and I wanted to take them all! I always thought that having options would be great because I never had them. But now I'm like, "I don't know what to do!”
If you could describe the MIP program in a few words, what would they be?
I think that I can describe it as challenging and rewarding — but I think more rewarding than challenging. My classmates are the best people I've ever met, I love them all. They are intelligent and interesting and they want to make the world a better place. All of my classmates are always there, willing to help me, and I think that I'm always there, willing to help them. That’s what I love most about this program.
"There is this sense of possibility - this sense of 'if this is your idea, just do it."
Our graduate student, Lisa Einstein, approaches her work and studies by this motto. Find out why she chose MIP as the graduate program for her on our FSI blog. #MIPFeatureFriday