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I first heard of MPA/ID from a friend who was pursuing an MBA at Harvard Business School and attended some classes at Kennedy School. This was five years ago; I still can remember her email saying: “this program looks just like you.” By that time I was working as economist and market strategist for a large European bank, but since college I was interested in what I consider the hardest question in applied economics: why some nations are rich and other are poor? Coming from Brazil, a country blessed with abundant natural resources and cursed with bad politics and unfulfilled promises, only makes the question look more intriguing.
A career move made me postpone my application by five years. I was accepted in the 2015 class. MPA/ID has been better than my already high expectations: I feel all my colleagues are at least as bright as me, classes go by fast, the workload is intense but rewarding, and there is a great effort to contextualize and integrate the more abstract subjects in a practical framework. In your first applied development courses, professors will challenge and deconstruct all your previous beliefs about the field. This can be as harsh as it sounds, but it is a necessary step to replace anecdotes and common sense with the soundest theories available and respect for facts. Do you think improving education will make your country grow faster? Look at data and think again, and again.
Luciano was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil. He majored in Economics at Universidade de São Paulo and worked in the financial markets for 12 years, first as analyst, economist and fixed income strategist at Santander and as portfolio manager in Fram Capital, an independent investment management firm he joined from startup.