From Egypt to Ithaca: Getting an MPA to Develop Economic Strategies
Posted by Mohamed El Messidy on 1/2/20 4:34 PM
Mohamed El Messidy is a second-year CIPA student from Egypt. A graduate of the American University in Cairo, he earned his undergraduate degree in Economics. He spent the past four years working at a government relations strategy and lobbying firm. Before that, he served in the Egyptian Ministry of International Cooperation.
Mohamed is passionate about data-driven analysis in public policy and looks forward to getting his MPA in order to address social and economic challenges in his home country.
Over the summer, I interned in the Technical Office of Egypt’s Deputy Minister of Planning, Monitoring and Administrative Reform. I really enjoyed and benefited from the internship; it offered me the opportunity to apply the knowledge I had learned at CIPA and to gain a sense of the realistic challenges facing policymakers. The Ministry of Planning is chiefly mandated with setting Egypt’s short, medium, and long-term development strategies, and monitoring their respective implementation.
My work included multiple interesting projects, most notable of which involved contributing to an internal working paper on the determinants of inflation in the Egyptian economy. The paper was requested by the Prime Minister and was meant to guide the government’s policy in the long-term management of inflation. I took part in the literature review, data collection, and model-building for the paper. Moreover, I took part in the preparation of the two-year work plan for a multi-entity committee mandated with reviewing, updating, and streamlining the process of GDP calculation. During that process, I learned how the GDP is calculated at the moment, meeting a number of officials across multiple entities who all take part in that complex process.
Even though work at the government can be a bit overwhelming and unstructured, and involves extra-long hours (– if, for example, the Minister decides at 5 p.m. that she needs a presentation first thing in the morning…), I found the overall experience to be a real eye-opener. I witnessed the production processes behind some of the most important statistics, strategies and policies that I had applied or read about in my career.
Additionally, I believe the experience will be useful for me over the long-term since I plan to return in the future to work there full-time. I made solid connections and developed familiarity with the work, which will enable me to hit the ground running and make positive contributions when the opportunity arises.
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