Miss Laurel Aka
IUGB CLASS OF 2012
My journey at IUGB started in September 2008, about three months after I graduated from lycée Sainte Marie de Cocody with a Baccaulauréat Série C. Passionate about applied mathematics, I enrolled in the school of STEM and pursued a degree in actuarial science, completing all of my semesters with honors. However, focusing on academics was not my sole objective. During my time at IUGB, I actively participated in university life, serving as the treasurer of the Student Government Association and the manager of the student food shop.
In August 2010, I transferred as a junior to Georgia State University where I completed both my undergraduate and graduate studies; earning a Bachelor of Business Administration in Actuarial Science in May 2012, a Master of Science in Actuarial Science in May 2015, and a Master of Science in Mathematical Risk Management in May 2016.
My excellent academic achievement coupled with my membership in different associations and honor societies allowed me to earn a graduate research assistant position in the executive MBA department of Georgia State University where I worked for about three years; while completing my graduate degrees. I then worked as a full-time employee at CRIF Lending Solutions Corp. as statistics analyst during my OPT (optional practice training) period; after which I moved back home in September 2017.
In November 2017, I was offered an internship position at ECOBANK Côte d’Ivoire through IUGB and was fully hired in July 2018. Currently, I am working as a corporate finance loans & liquidity credit analyst for the entire WAEMU (West African Economic and Monetary Union) region. I can remember these words from my manager: “I have hired you over more than 30 applicants for two reasons. First, you are bilingual, and the second reason , though you might have not known all the correct answers, your interview showed you are very proactive and that is what I was looking for”.
I would like to give IUGB students a piece of advice and word of encouragement. We can never stress enough the importance of being fluent in at least two languages. It opens so many doors in today’s workplace. I have been a student and I know that students can be very lazy or shy when it comes to interacting with each other in English on campus. However, that comfort zone is a trap. Get out of it! Do not be afraid to make mistakes; rather learn from them and keep trying with determination. With time, practice will make it perfect. Moreover, to students who might think they do not need to be involved in extra-curricular activities: do not neglect those activities. They are designed purposefully to give an apt mix of intellectual and aesthetic development and create a chance for you to build leadership skills, communication skills, team- work and self-confidence outside of the classroom. Believe it or not, these are the things that will make the difference tomorrow in your career.
I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to attend IUGB, a unique school that is paving ways to a completely new type of higher education in Africa, providing students with an excellent academic foundation but also post-academic assistance. The road was full of obstacles but working hard, seeking and listening to advice, and mostly staying focused paid off.
I would like to conclude with another work-related testimony. I was sitting in my office while one of my coworkers walked in, very annoyed because she could not help one of her Anglophone clients who had a huge problem. I followed her back to her office and helped sort things out with the client. As I was walking out, my coworker looked at me and said: “That is it! I will make sure my son attends IUGB!” At this point, I just smiled and replied: “Indeed, you should!”
Many thanks IUGB!