News and Media
Francis Touola Meda, ASE Alumnus, accepted to New York University
Francis Touola Meda will be pursuing a PhD in politics at New York University starting in the fall of 2017. Francis explains that his acceptance demonstrates “the international recognition of ASE’s effectiveness in producing top-tier students in the social sciences”. He adds: “I was a mathematician before joining ASE. This school gave me a strong quantitative analysis background, and now I am doing political Economy”.
Francis cited the prestige of the university and the quality of its professors in political economy as his motivations for selecting NYU. In addition, ASE President Leonard Wantchekon has a strong connection to NYU, where he worked as a professor in the Politics department from 2001 to 2011. For his thesis work, Francis was advised by Prof. Wantchekon, and extended his previous work on elections in situations where there is the threat of violence.
Francis came to ASE from Cameroon, and graduated from ASE in December 2016. In ASE’s pre-doctoral fellows program for top ASE graduates, he prepared for the GRE and TOEFL exams and wrote his applications to PhD programs in the US and Canada. He has also been involved with IERPE’s research projects on girls’ education and supplementary mathematics courses for girls in secondary schools. After completing his graduate studies, he hopes to use his training to be at the forefront of innovative leadership in Africa.
ASE Alumnus accepted to Princeton University
Gaetan Tchakounte Nandong, a former ASE student (Class of 2016), has been accepted to one of the world’s top-ranked universities to pursue a PhD in politics. At Princeton, he will join ASE President and Princeton professor Leonard Wantchekon, who serves on the faculty of the politics and economics departments at the university. According to Professor Wantchekon, “Gaetan’s admission to Princeton is a clear signal of the growing international reputation of the African School of Economics and talent of our students. There is much more to come”.
Gaetan came to ASE from Yaoundé, Cameroon, and graduated from ASE in December. He acquired extensive experience conducting research during his time at ASE and recently presented his master’s thesis on healthcare delivery in Cameroon at the Working Group in African Political Economy’s 2017 conference in Abu Dhabi. Gaetan was already one of the most high-achieving students in his class, ranking near the very top in GPA. In ASE’s pre-doctoral fellows program for top ASE graduates, he prepared for the GRE and TOEFL exams and wrote his applications to PhD programs in the US and Canada.
For his doctoral dissertation, Gaetan is interested in continuing his research project on ethnicity and entrepreneurial attitudes, noting that there are some ethnic groups throughout Africa that are more likely to be entrepreneurs, such as the Chaga in Tanzania, Mossi in Burkina Faso or Igbo in Nigeria. Once he has completed his PhD, he hopes to work as a professor at a major research university.
Interview about the Certificate in Impact Evaluation in Public Policy
Damase Sossou, an Impact Evaluation specialist, talks about the Impact Evaluation in Public Policy program offered by the African School of Economics.
Communications Team: How do you contribute to a successful Certificate in Impact Evaluation in Public Policy (CEIPP) program?
Damase SOSSOU: Well, I can say we contributed to designing the program. It came as a result of discussions I personally had with Professor Wantchékon; I actually work in the department in charge of public policy evaluation and government action analysis at the presidency of the Republic. The need was obvious. The ASE started the program and it is my duty to support the initiative so that executives who take part in it receive effective training. I also teach two class modules. One is Introduction to Impact Evaluation, and the other is Experimental Methods.
Communications Team: Why is the CEIPP program important for professionals in general?
Damase SOSSOU: This program is important in that it directly touches upon how people implement public policy programs globally. The existing monitoring system unfortunately does not make it possible to see the value added. This certificate will make it possible for participants to acquire adequate technical skills so they can determine the added value of a program being implemented in their sector – especially with regards to peoples' living conditions – using a rigorous statistical method.
Communications Team: What distinguishes ASE from other institutions offering the same course?
Damase SOSSOU: ASE's program is a certification, not a degree program. The certificate here is characterized by having a larger focus on quantitative methods.
Communications Team: What are the entry requirements for the CEIPP?
Damase SOSSOU: Any professional who holds at least a Master's degree can take part in the certificate program we are offering. This program does not exclude candidates based on their profile, however, it would be easier for someone with a background in areas such as economy, planning, and project management to take this course. What we are offering does not necessarily lead people to become experts in impact evaluation but they do understand the impact evaluation process, and a manager who understands this process has more skills and can better implement programs. This program is therefore not only for experts; it is also for managers.
Communications Team: I understand the need for workers to have the certificate, but what is the need for students who have not started working yet?
Damase SOSSOU: This certificate is necessary for students in that it goes a little beyond the academic setting because case studies are presented to participants. They are introduced to concepts that cannot be presented in an academic course. The teaching method is pragmatic, i.e. the teachers are not university lecturers, but practitioners; this offers a much more interesting prospect than an ordinary academic course. So for students who are about to complete their studies, this is a certificate that enables them have more opportunities with regards to employment than just an academic or professional degree. The CEIPP is also professional but is much more centered on real-life practice and on program management.
Communications Team: We are almost at the end of our interview; do you have anything else to add?
Damase SOSSOU: I would like to encourage all the people who want to improve their performance in their professional positions, and managers to register for this certification. This is an investment I encourage them to make because this will enable them improve their performance in the tasks assigned to them. There are currently many flagship projects being carried out by the government, and it is important for a manager to have these skills in order to better carry out their duties.
A conversation with Yu Wen, visiting instructor from the Toulouse School of Economics
Over the past two weeks, students at the African School of Economics (ASE) had the privilege of taking an intensive microeconomics course with visiting instructor, Yu Wen, a 3rd Year PhD candidate at the Toulouse School of Economics. Yu Wen has helped students master a number of topics including consumer theory, demand theory and game theory. Even though he has been at ASE for only two weeks, the students have really appreciated Yu’s dedication to teaching them these concepts. By inviting professors from abroad, like Yu Wen, the ASE demonstrates once again its commitment to providing its students with training on par with international standards.
Students working in the Communications Department sat down with Professor Yu and asked him to share his experiences teaching at ASE for the past two weeks.
COMMUNICATIONS TEAM: How do you feel after two weeks teaching an intensive microeconomics course?
YU WEN: After two week’s class, I feel somewhat exhausted, very excited and a strong sense of fulfillment.
COMMUNICATIONS TEAM: Do you think that universities like the ASE should continue to invite professors from other schools to teach advanced Economics courses in Africa?
YU WEN: I must confess that my knowledge of Africa was poor before I came, but still I think the idea is great. Over the past two weeks, I have witnessed the passion and diligence of the students, as well as the demand for balanced economic growth and economic education (advanced or introductory) in Africa. Inviting professors from abroad may serve well as a communicative bridge between students and scholars from Africa and other places around the world. It would even work better than conferences, because the length of stay and interaction with local students and professors potentially helps build long-term productive relationships.
Additionally, ASE would have a competitive advantage if it can invite professors in a consistent and high-profile manner. It would enable ASE to be the center of research and communication in Africa.
COMMUNICATIONS TEAM: Do you see yourself visiting ASE again?
YU WEN: Sure.
COMMUNICATIONS TEAM: What is your impression of the students and how do they compare to other Economics students who have encountered?
YU WEN: In terms of knowledge, the students are really diversified. However, I dare say that the first year Masters students in Toulouse are not much better. For the passion, hard-work and patience, they are among the top.
COMMUNICATIONS TEAM: Any last remarks?
YU WEN: Thank you very much for the invitation and I honestly enjoyed my visit.
Spotlight on Work-study at ASE
The African School of Economics distinguishes itself from other universities not only by the quality of training offered through its programs, but also by the effort they put into developing their students' professional skills. The Work-study Program, which was implemented when the school officially opened in 2014, gives students the opportunity to acquire many skills in addition to their academic training. In a meeting with students in the Communications work-study group on Tuesday, December 17th, the Communications Manager, Wilfried Gnanvi, explained the mission, the objectives and expectations of the communications team at ASE. He also explained how the Department is run and the specific role of the work-study program. In addition to Communications, students have been placed in other departments such as Planning, Research and Academic Affairs. Through its innovative curriculum and emphasis on professional development, the work-study program allows the ASE to truly live up to its goal to be a "path to innovative leadership".