Shannon Ding

International Economist
U.S. Department Treasury’s Debt and Development Office
Washington, D.C., USA

I started the MPA/ID Program knowing that I wanted a rigorous training that combined economics, institutions, and policy analysis that would teach me to go beyond symptoms, and understand the root causes of development problems. I studied philosophy and political science in college, and although I had worked in financial consulting after college, I felt that the lack of formal economic training was hindering my ability to truly participate in policy discussions about development challenges.

The MPA/ID Program completely surpassed my expectations, because of the group of fellow students that surrounded me and because of the academic and professional mentoring I received from professors who were dedicated to finding better policy solutions in response to the hardest questions in development. The core economic training emphasized in the first year of the Program, plus a range of second-year electives in applied game theory, program evaluation, growth diagnostics, etc, pushed me intellectually and made me question prevailing assumptions and think differently than I had before the MPA/ID.

One of the highlights during my MPA/ID experience was a summer internship experience in the newly independent South Sudan, where I worked alongside six other classmates in advising the government of South Sudan on investment policy and other economic development issues. This experience inspired me to return to South Sudan to write my Second Year Policy Analysis (SYPA), which addressed the question of how to overcome market failures that were discouraging investment in smallholder agriculture.

The MPA/ID training also helped prepare me for my current job as an economist in the Treasury Department's Office of International Affairs, where I work on a range of development issues, including debt sustainability policies of international financial institutions and multilateral assistance to developing countries in the agriculture sector. Thanks to the MPA/ID training (particularly the SYPA experience), I feel comfortable switching from quantitative economic analysis to public policy analysis, a skill-set which is crucial in my day-to-day work.

Shannon is an international economist with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Debt and Development Office in Washington, DC. She majored in Philosophy and Political Science at Columbia University and worked as a financial consultant before enrolling in MPA/ID.

Shannon Ding, MPA/ID 2012 (USA)

Shannon Ding, MPA/ID 2012 (USA)