As a student at Penn State University, Queen Nworisara-Quinn dreamed of someday working for a global organization where she could travel and work with people on a worldwide level. Today she is completing an associate training program at Citigroup’s investment bank in New York City, where she is gaining product and sales experience with many of the company’s global products. The company’s global reach and experience in emerging markets is what Nworisara-Quinn found so attractive.
Every day she uses the research and analysis skills she learned during the summer of 2000 when she attended The Fund’s Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems.
“As an intern with Black America’s Political Action Committee (BAMPAC), I had to synthesize complex and disparate information and compile it into an accessible yet comprehensive report,” she remarked. “Developing this skill early in my career has been enormously beneficial.”
For Nworisara-Quinn, The Fund also provided an eye-opening academic experience. She recalls how the coursework made her realize the superiority of liberal democracy and the free-market system over other political and economic systems.
“That summer was my initial exposure to Schumpeter, Friedman, and de Soto,” she recalled. “I became more convinced of the value and necessity of property rights in a country’s pursuit of economic growth and development.”
While she recognizes that there are no simple answers for endemic poverty in the world, she does not see government as the only viable solution. She says, “It is imperative to explore market-based solutions to pressing economic and social problems. I think many people realize that the problems we face today do not have a ‘one size fits all solution;’ it really takes a great deal of creativity and innovation to address these issues. Such creativity and innovation has historically come from the private sector—I think this has gained greater recognition around the world.”
Nworisara-Quinn’s experience with The Fund did not end at the conclusion of the Institute. She returned as a program assistant during the summer of 2001.
“I had such a great experience while I was at the Institute, I couldn’t wait to come back and ensure that other students could have an equally enriching experience,” she said.
After graduation, she came to work for The Fund, first in alumni affairs and later in international programs. Her position overseeing the TFAS Institute in Greece is one that she calls, “one of the most incredibly fulfilling things I have ever done.” Noting that students from disparate backgrounds from the Middle East, North Africa and the Balkans all came to the program to learn about freedom, she commented, “The courage I saw in many of those IIPES students had an immense impact on me and gave me a renewed sense of optimism for peace not only in the Middle East, but also in various parts of the world embroiled in intractable conflict.”
As an immigrant to the United States from Nigeria, Nworisara-Quinn shared a similar background to students from countries lacking political and economic freedom. She says she is “overtly conscious about the tenuous nature of freedom—it can so easily be limited or taken away.”
Building on her experiences as a student and employee of The Fund, Nworisara Quinn returned to school fulltime, earning a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. There the curriculum focuses on “tri-sector competence,” which refers to addressing problems that arise within the public, private and nonprofit sectors.
Now in her new career in banking, she hopes to have a positive impact in addressing the economic hurdles facing developing countries. With a presence in more than 100 countries, including 16 in Africa, Citigroup offers the ideal platform to begin taking on those challenges.