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David Ngam

About David

  • Field and focus area of study: Global Development, International Economy and International Development
  • Hometown: Cameroon
  • Fun fact: I discovered the world more in one year than the 29 years before
  • View David Ngam's LinkedIn profile

What were you doing prior to the MPS degree program? 

Before coming to Cornell, I worked for the Ministry of Economy and was in charge of managing the portfolio of the rural sector (agriculture, fishing, forestry, environment). My job was to evaluate certain aspects of public investment projects to improve the performance of budget programming. I worked as a research assistant in a demographic research institute, and an associate field director in an NGO providing training, mentoring, coordinating administrative and technical activities. 

What are your short-term and long-term career goals?

In the short term, I’ll find a job as project manager in a non-profit organization, either in the fields of agriculture systems enhancement or human capital development connected to any sector. In the long term, I’ll create an NGO where I’ll address solutions for youth capacity building and their contribution to the agrifood system in Cameroon.

What are the strengths of the CALS MPS degree program?

Access to world-renowned experts and cutting-edge resources; the diversity of teachings and participants, allowing a rich experience; and the dynamic staff that cares about allowing each student to reveal the best of their skills.

What words would you use to describe the CALS MPS degree program? 

Diversity, experience, human interaction.

What were some of the most rewarding moments while in your program?

Volunteering in Cornell EIA in the summer where we built a bridge in the Kingdom of Eswatini. I was proud to walk over that bridge after all of our efforts.

What advice would you give to your younger self embarking on the journey of graduate school?

Know what you want to learn from the program you are attending in order to determine which courses will satisfy your ambitions. Find out about available academic, social, and professional clubs/jobs to ease adaptation. Be ready to discover, wonder and say YES to new experiences!

What are the biggest challenges you want to tackle in the world?

To educate people not only on professional/academic skills, but also in social intelligence to create better human beings. To involve younger generations, finding strategies to encourage them to contribute to development and identifying the most relevant contributions for younger groups. I would also like to contribute in finding a more inclusive way to address socio-economic development for people in their environment and for our countries in a changing world. 

What has been the most memorable or impactful part of being in the Global Development MPS program? 

Being part of a multidisciplinary and multicultural environment.

Describe your education / career path and how that led you to pursue a Cornell Global Development MPS degree program. 

The MPS in Global Development was the perfect continuation of my career. I started by doing mathematics and I turned to applied mathematics but I was not satisfied because it was too abstract. I specialized in demography and I had a great appreciation of the process of identifying development/socio-economic issues and proposing possible solutions. Over time, my consultancies and my volunteer experiences have allowed me to discover that I also liked being an actor of that development. 

Share about your capstone project. What are you focused on?

Impact evaluation of a youth-based intervention program with PICHNET, analyzing the aspects of intervention of the NGO, who contributed to any success of the participants. I’ll perform statistical analysis with a data set collected in that NGO in 2018 (beginning of internships). I’ll analyze the perceptions of youth over the cohorts with focus groups. In the end, I’d like my capstone to be a document of practice to help the other NGOs or researchers to see what aspects of interventions are most relevant and effective.