Ahmed is a Junior Economist at IDinsight, a global advisory, data analytics, and research organization.
Headshot of Kashif Ahmed
Kashif Ahmed

Kashif Ahmed, MPP’22, credits his career path to a roommate at McGill University. “As an undergrad, I was originally interested in political science and campaigns. But when I met my first-year roommate from Kenya, I heard him and his friends discussing their views about the future of their nation.” Those conversations inspired Ahmed to take a course on international development, and shortly after, he changed his major. Ahmed completed his bachelor’s in 2018 with a major in international development studies and a minor in economics.

 While an undergraduate, Ahmed also completed an internship in the rural district of Bududa in eastern Uganda for the Bududa Learning Center, an NGO dedicated to supporting orphaned and vulnerable children. “I completed fieldwork and data entry assignments with local Ugandan professionals, and that experience affirmed my decision to study international development.”

After graduation, Ahmed volunteered for the United States Peace Corps. “I wanted to continue spending time in the countries I studied in class, and the Peace Corps seemed like a great pathway.” Ahmed went to Cajamarca, Peru for an eight-month assignment, working with local authorities to create a summer school academy for more than 150 students ages 8–17.

Then, in 2019, Ahmed served as a Research Associate for Wageningen University in Freetown, Sierra Leone. “I worked on a randomized control trial for the University’s One Health Project and lived right in the communities the project was supporting. There, I learned firsthand about the value of evidence-based policy.”

Sierra Leone was also where Ahmed first learned about Harris. “I was applying to graduate schools, and a coworker suggested Harris." Ahmed said The Pearson Institute—along with faculty members such as James Robinson, the Reverend Dr. Richard L. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies and Institute Director for The Pearson Institute—made an impact on him. "Harris had a lot of impressive scholars in international development. Compared to other schools I was looking at, Harris turned out to be the perfect place for me to study economics in international contexts.”

Ahmed said the Master of Public Policy program exceeded his expectations. “The Core curriculum prepared me for a course on program evaluation, which gave me frameworks to think about the effectiveness of policies. Plus, when I applied for jobs, many required me to complete data assessments—and the Harris curriculum prepared me well for those.”

While at Harris, Ahmed also supported the research of professors Oeindrila Dube, Fiona Burlig, and Raul Sanchez de la Sierra, in projects spanning Pakistan, India, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which complemented the curriculum’s preparation for his job search.

Ahmed joined IDinsight, a global advisory, data analytics, and research organization, after graduation. He began his tenure with the company at a position in India before transferring to Zambia. “The breadth of opportunities I’ve had at IDinsight has been incredible. Most recently, I have been working on an impact evaluation for a nonprofit headquartered in Chicago that distributes bicycles across Africa and an NGO creating animal health centers in rural Zambia. I use econometrics, coding, R, and the skills I gained in Program Evaluation on a daily basis to help clients seeking to make an impact—it's incredibly rewarding."