André hopes to use his passion for economic development—and the skills he gains from his Harris master’s degree—to bring investment capital to developing countries.
Headshot of Wrojensky André
Wrojensky André

Wrojensky André, AM Class of 2021, grew up daydreaming: potential businesses he would create, economic development he would spur, becoming the president of Haiti.

André says his formative experiences both shaped these aspirations and helped him find pathways to reach them. “My family valued education very highly. Even when it was life-threatening, my parents still made sure we went to school by commuting through unused roads,” he said, recalling the violent uprisings that occurred throughout his childhood. “At times it was dangerous for children to go to school, or adults to go to work.”

And while he didn’t personally experience poverty, he knew his country lacked the economic development seen in countries like the United States. “Although my family in Haiti is upper-middle class—my father is a lawyer and my mother inherited my grandmother’s business—I saw firsthand the poverty my fellow Haitians experienced.”

These experiences encouraged André to study economics: a bachelor’s at Florida State University and then a master’s at Pennsylvania State University. As an undergrad, André said he initially wanted to do something in business, “but I was unsure of the direction I would take.” After conversations with professors and exploring recommended readings his professors supplied, André narrowed his focus to economic development and policy.

After completing his undergraduate experience, André secured a National Science Foundation fellowship and began his economics master’s program at Pennsylvania State University. There, he continued his research in economic development, aided by much stronger quantitative data analysis.

As André’s master’s program came to a close, he began looking at PhD programs in economics. “One of my professors at Penn State told me about the PhD program at Harris,” he remembers. As he was applying, Nathan Robbins, Assistant Director of Student Recruitment, reached out to him directly. “He recommended that with my previous master’s degree, the one-year MA would also be a good fit.”

In preparation for his second master’s degree, André participated in the Data and Policy Summer Scholars (DPSS) program offered at Harris before his first quarter. “Transitioning from undergrad to master’s level was challenging when I made the jump a few years ago, and I didn’t want the same thing to happen at Harris. After completing DPSS, I felt much better prepared than when I’d enrolled at Penn State.”

Once André graduates from Harris, he hopes to use his passion for economic development to bring investment capital to developing countries. Through Harris’ Mentorship Program, André was connected with a mentor who is helping him break into the investment banking world through an internship. “With a career in investment banking, I hope to gain experience in raising capital to foster development in underdeveloped countries,” André says.

As for his goal of serving as the president of Haiti, André says, “When I’m significantly older, that’s when I’ll want to get involved in Haitian political life. I love my country and want to make meaningful change. I want to become a truly transformative president for my country.”