Hamouda Chekir

Director, Government Advisory Group
Lazard Frères
Paris, France

I came to the Kennedy School few months after the Arab Spring and after long weeks of hesitation between going back to Tunisia to contribute directly to the first phase of the transition or accepting the MPA/ID offer. Retrospectively, I truly think that the decision to come to the MPA-ID was definitely the right one.

The MPA/ID not only enabled me to acquire the adequate technical and adaptive skills to better contribute to the future of my country after graduation but also provided me with unique opportunities to work directly on the region while studying. Ever since the first year, I worked with Professor Diwan on projects related to the political economy of transition in the Arab World and this gave me a unique opportunity to take part in panels, conferences and negotiations about the future of the region. Thanks to the network of relationships of the MPA/ID program and to the support of Prof. Diwan, I was also offered an exceptional summer project with the World Bank with an exposure to the most urgent and sensitive topics in the MENA region and in Tunisia in particular. And finally, with the support and guidance of Professors Rodrik and Diwan, I was able to dedicate my SYPA to a very important policy issue in Tunisia: the redesign of SME promotion policies.

There are plenty of good graduate programs at Harvard and there are several other good public administration programs in the US and elsewhere but no program is as challenging, comprehensive and enriching as the MPA/ID. The level of academic rigor; the proximity and privileged dialogue with the outstanding faculty of Harvard and of the Center for International Development in particular; and the quality and diversity of the student body make this program the number one option in the world for any person interested in economic development and public administration.

The MPA/ID job market placement is also outstanding. Most of my friends from the program were offered very interesting and challenging opportunities in international organizations, in their governments, in the private sector or in the social sector. The offers ranged from the overseeing of monetary policy in a major Central Bank to the management of a company owned by a Brazilian private equity firm or the lead of the entire market strategy of a major pension fund. I was personally offered a position in the very selective Young Professional Program of the World Bank but I did not accept it for personal and family reasons.

At Lazard, I will be advising governments on financial related issues, including restructuring of sovereign debts for countries with unsustainable public debt levels, negotiation of debt relief for highly indebted poor countries, and the restructuring of systemic public entities such as public banks or major state owned enterprises.

After graduation, Hamouda returned to Lazard Frères, where he had held progressively responsible positions between 2006 and 2011. He holds a BS in Applied Mathematics and MS and MPhil degrees in Economics.

Hamouda Chekir, MPA/ID 2013 (Tunisia)

Hamouda Chekir, MPA/ID 2013 (Tunisia)


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