#IncomingElliott: Christophe de Montille

#IE De Montille

Christophe de Montille is a second-year master’s candidate in the Global MBA program and will be a first-year master’s candidate in International Economic Policy at the Elliott School. He received his bachelor’s degree for a triple major in Economics, Political Science, and at Vanderbilt University in 2008. Christophe is most interested in impact investing, financial inclusion, and sustainable investing in sub-Saharan Africa. After spending 10 years as a Management Consultant, he is currently pivoting his career and will be interning this summer with the Small Enterprise Assistance Fund (SEAF) focusing on their agriventure investments in Tanzania. Over his career, Christophe has worked for politicians, private consulting firms, non-profits, and venture capital firms. He has experience in project management, portfolio management, financial management and budgeting, enterprise architecture, strategic planning, fundraising, data analytics, and modeling. Outside of academic and professional pursuits, Christophe enjoys going to concerts, experiencing food from many cultures, exploring the outdoors, and traveling the world (24 countries and counting!).

What has been your most rewarding academic experience so far?

My most rewarding academic experience was being able to participate in a short-term study abroad program focusing on Impacting Investing with Small and Medium Size Enterprises in Rwanda. This program was offered through the GW School of Business and set me on the path to a potentially exciting new career. The program included a semester-long course learning about the political, social and economic environment of Rwanda, and focused on how to invest in the communities and individuals that were affected by the 1994 Genocide. In addition, the program culminated in a 10-day in-country experience where I met with government officials, national business leaders, and community business owners to analyze the investment opportunities in Rwanda. My specific project focused on conducting investment due diligence of a coffee cooperative that consists of over 550 individual farmers in the Eastern Province of Rwanda. In conducting the due diligence, I analyzed multi-year financial statements, developed revenue growth forecasts, researched the regional and global competitive coffee landscape, and interviewed cooperative leaders. My final report was presented to a panel of potential impact investors to determine whether future investment would be made in the coffee cooperative.

What made you interested in your MA program of choice?

Having just completed my first year of the GW MBA program, I wanted to enrich my understanding of the global economic environment and enhance my understanding of how policy can affect economic change for individuals across the globe. The unique academic program offered at the Elliott School will allow me to focus on a professional specialization in International Trade and Investment Policy or Economic Development. In addition, the program aligns well with my long-term goal of pivoting from an early career in Federal management consulting to a future career focused on international development, impact investing, and economic policy. The MIEP program will provide me with the necessary policy understanding to affect change across the globe and help solve issues like improving financial inclusion and reducing global wealth inequality. Coupled with my Global MBA degree, the MIEP program will allow me to make my long-term career goal a reality by providing me with a unique springboard to learn more about the international context in which businesses and governments operate.

 What would be your dream job after completing your program?

After graduating from GW, my dream job would be to work for an impact investing firm or to work for an international financial institution (like the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund). By working for an impact investing firm, I would be able to affect positive social change at the micro-level. I would gain exposure to small and medium-size businesses across the world and find ways to connect global capital to improve their chance of success and growth. By working for an international financial institution, I would be able to affect positive social change at the macro-level. I would have access to large amounts of capital that could be uniquely disbursed to tackle large-scale issues within a specific country or a region. In either role, I would be able to affect the change that I could not achieve in my prior career.

What 3 items would you take to a desert island, other than food or water?

As someone who hikes and camps frequently, I have often thought about what I would bring if I was deserted on an island. I have also read numerous books about primitive survival that influenced my response.

  1. Machete – This would be the most important item I would bring. I consider myself to be quite handy around the home and adventurous with do-it-yourself projects. I would bring a machete because it would allow me to harness the natural resources of the island to craft almost anything given enough time, energy, and imagination. I would be able to craft housing to stay comfortable, games (like dominos or solitaire) to keep myself entertained, or community-style facilities to enhance my lifestyle.
  2. Mosquito Net – This would be vital for a prolonged stay on the desert island. Having spent nights camping in the Appalachians, Southeast US swamps, or the African bush, the biggest impediment to a good night’s sleep is bugs. Especially flying bugs. A mosquito net would ensure that I could sleep in peace, and it could double as a finishing net or a bag if needed!
  3. Sunscreen – While there are alternative options for sun protection (like mud or natural poultices made from plants), there is nothing that ruins a beach vacation faster than a bad sunburn. I would make sure to wisely use sunscreen until my skin had acclimated so I could enjoy the island until my eventual rescue (hopefully!)

The #IncomingElliott series highlights incoming Elliott School graduate students and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective and current students. The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs. Find out more about this program by creating a CustomViewbook!

For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail esiagrad@gwu.edu.