MGA ’23 Sara Duodu
Master of Global Affairs, Munk School

Celebrating Our Graduates: Sara Duodu

Like many of her fellow Master of Global Affairs (MGA) students at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, Sara Duodu entered the program looking to make an impact, both during her studies and beyond those two years.

The only question was, how?

What led her to the career path she’s decided to pursue, she says, was immersing herself with an open mind into the broad variety of professional fields that the Munk School fosters, from innovation, to development, international security and global capital markets.

That sense of variety and professional opportunity was a major draw for Duodu when enrolling in the MGA. Having already completed a research-based master’s degree in history, she was looking to find a graduate program that would combine a unique academic challenge with more practical work experience and professional networks. She credits a combination of her coursework, capstone project, and leadership in student-led initiatives as culminating in a desire to pursue a career in sustainability and innovation after she graduates from the Munk School this June.

 “Now that I'm at the end of the program, I'm actually looking to the sustainability and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) sphere in terms of career paths. I think there's a lot of room for working in the sustainability space and actually trying to have an impact there," she says.

Part of what inspired this career focus was her role as the co-editor-in-chief of Global Conversations, a student-run publication and podcast that delves into major thematic issues. The recent “Resilience” issue, for instance, included news and analyses about the war in Ukraine, feminist counter-revolution in Iran, and resistance and adaptation to climate change.

Her involvement with the Munk School Black Students Association, as director of activities and as a panel coordinator for the Munk School’s career exploration series, also allowed her to explore career possibilities by liaising with alumni.

Duodu also credits her favourite course, taught by Professor Dan Herman, which discussed the ecosystems of innovation, as inspiring her to look at professional opportunities in sustainability. “Each week” she says, “we were talking about a different region, and particularly regions that we don't often talk about in terms of innovation. We looked at places like Senegal, Nigeria, and Singapore, and some cities in Latin America too, like Bogota and Santiago. We got to really explore what innovation looks like around the world, and how it goes beyond kind of that typical Silicon Valley idea of innovation.”

After that first year of classwork and extracurricular involvement, Duodu was inspired enough by what she had learned to take an even bigger step: zeroing in on different aspects of innovation and sustainability as career options through her summer internship, which is a mandatory element of the MGA curriculum. As an intern on the Bank of Montreal’s digital innovation team, she focused on how to make the bank’s operations more sustainable, noting “we zeroed in on how to make the client-facing process more digital, because they still do a lot of paper stuff right now, which is really inefficient, actually. So, we were digitizing that process.”

Working on her capstone project, which students complete in their final semester, sealed Duodu’s desire to make ESG a key component of the impact-oriented career path she wishes to enter post-graduation. Along with a couple other students, her capstone involved coming up with and presenting recommendations to Sustainable Development Technology Canada, which is a government foundation for clean technology funding, creating a strategy to make their program more inclusive and reach out to more people across Canada.

After two years packed with student leadership and dynamic work experiences, Duodu is looking forward to a family trip to Ghana family and a relaxing summer before starting her hunt for the perfect post-graduation role in sustainability. After she crosses the stage on June 14, she’s looking forward to leaning into connections she made with alumni and professors, noting, "in my experience, everyone at the Munk School has been very willing to help. From the outside the program might seem competitive. But on the inside, it's really just everyone wanting to help each other out.”