Graduates talk

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Fred Junior Ebongue Makolle / Yaoundé, Cameroon
Benjamin Franklin College: Economics Statistics and Data Science

What are your academic interests?
I’ve taken mostly economics and statistics classes, particularly development economics. I’m a big numbers guy; having that quantitative background helps bring some plus to whatever area you’re studying. It allows for a more evidence-based approach to understanding economic theories. Surprisingly, I’ve found out that numbers like GDP and HDI [Human Development Index] don’t really tell the story well. They’re not always accurate or ethically correct.

What has been important to you during these four years?
A hallmark of my time at Yale has been working with people, trying to help people. I think the most interesting experience has been as an academic strategies mentor at the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning. We help students maximize their academic potential. Advising someone you just met five minutes ago is daunting and challenging. There’s anxiety, there’s confusion. I’ll say, “Let’s identify things you’re good at and things you’re not so good at.” Framing it as a work in progress.

I tell the student, you may become more productive, but if you don’t enjoy the productivity, it could be you need to change what you’re studying, or how you approach studying. [When you’re dreading a problem set], you might tell yourself, “I will do this p-set because it’s applicable to this other thing I really like.” Making the student feel better is a big part of the mission.

Do you have post-graduation plans?
I’ll be working for McMaster-Carr, a New Jersey company that sells nuts and bolts, to put it plainly. It’s managerial—a people position