Making the Most of a Johns Hopkins SAIS Education

Ridwan Sorunke
African Studies, MA ’19
Recipient of the Andreas Baum Fellowship, Collin Powell Fellowship, W. Arthur Lewis Fellowship, and Johns Hopkins SAIS General Fellowship

Ridwan applied to Johns Hopkins SAIS because of its reputation as a top graduate program in international relations and its rigorous coursework in political economy, economics, and quantitative methods. The school’s location in Washington, DC has provided Ridwan the unique experience of directly leveraging the knowledge acquired from the classroom in the field. It also offers the benefit of networking with key stakeholders operating at the nexus of US and Africa business and foreign affairs.

Ridwan appreciates the rich diversity of the school community. He has formed great relationships with inspiring colleagues from all over the world and has learned more about their home countries while sharing about his as well.

Events hosted on campus have been an exciting part of learning outside the classroom. In his work for the Office of the Dean, Ridwan has engaged with business and government leaders including philanthropist and tech giant Bill Gates, CNN journalist Wolf Blitzer, Danish Minister Brian Mikelsen, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. As the Co-President of the SAIS Africa Association, he has hosted African business executives and presidential candidates such as Martin Fayulu, Kingsley Moghalu, and Oby Ezekwesili to roundtable discussions on development in Africa.

Over the Summer, Ridwan worked as a Summer Associate at Albright Stonebridge Group supporting the firm’s clients as they navigate complex business challenges in Africa. He also worked in Africa with Dalberg Advisors as a Graduate Consultant on international development. In the fall semester, Ridwan co-organized the Africa Fintech Summit, a premier summit on fintech policies and innovations in Africa.

After graduating, Ridwan hopes to work at the nexus of business, development, and public policy where he can support business and nonprofits to solve complex market issues.