Economics Alumni Discuss the Post-Pandemic World

Students and faculty gathered for the 14th annual Economics Alumni Forum to hear about the financial and medical state of the world as a result of the pandemic.

On November 10, students and faculty of the economics department gathered in Sharpless Auditorium for the 14th Annual Economics Alumni Forum. The yearly event invites experienced alumni to return to campus to speak about the economic issues pertinent to the time. This year’s theme was “Technology, Governance, and Development in a Post-Pandemic World.”

“To invite speakers, the faculty in the department have discussions about what topics would be timely,” said Kim Minor, administrative assistant for the Economics Department. “Then they think back on their students and what they’re doing now, sending invites to alums who work in a field related to the topic.”

This year, the forum was moderated by Samantha Wetzel ’18 and Unique Tuberville ’20. Wetzel works as an investment analyst for the Portfolio Review Department at Vanguard, a position she earned through an internship experience as an undergraduate student. Tuberville is a financial institution specialist at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Both majored in economics at Haverford.

The first speaker was Nehad Chowdhury ’98, a managing director and global head of country risk management at Citigroup. Chowdhury spoke about credit convergence as a result of the pandemic. He additionally showed, using metrics such as output percentage and debt affordability, how the pandemic has exacerbated the wealth divide between developed economies and emerging markets.

Next, Tuberville introduced Rebecca Saxton-Fox ’06, team lead for development informatics at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Saxton-Fox discussed the role technology played in responding to previous global health crises, such as the West African Ebola Outbreak in 2014–2016, and how that has changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Technology is never neutral,” Saxton-Fox said about the role it can play in either improving or worsening a public health situation.

The event concluded with an audience Q&A hosted by the moderators.

When asked about how Haverford helped shape his growth as an economist, Chowdhury espoused nothing but praise and gratitude for the school’s impact.

“I actually received my very first position at Goldman Sachs due to a connection I had with someone from my Customs Group all the way back from first-year,” he explained. “They were looking for a risk manager, and I happened to fit the position. More than that, though, Haverford instilled so many important values within me; culture, character, intellectual curiosity, a never-ending quest for social justice, all things I don’t know if I ever would’ve gotten without attending Haverford.”

Saxton-Fox echoed Chowdhury’s sentiments. Though she said that she was immediately unsure of what to do directly out of college, the opportunities and skills Haverford had given her allowed her to pursue her interests in economics and public health directly.

Following the Q&A’s conclusion, the speakers were available for one-on-one conversations at a wine-cheese reception in the KINSC Rotunda, concluding another successful Annual Economics Forum.