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Pape Niokhor Faye, Atlantic College UK 2002-2004

Born and raised in Dakar, I attended Lycee Seydou Nourou Tall for middle school. In 2002, Dei gratia, I was selected by the Senegalese National Committee to join the United World College of the Atlantic, in Wales. This 2-year high school program was both academically challenging and intellectually stimulating. I majored in Math, Physics and Economics, and minored in Chemistry, English and French. At first, it was a heavy saddle not speaking much English, having virtually no computer skills, and feeling homesick most of the time. Similarly upsetting was the sudden realization that I did not figure among the top students of the program. It took a long and painful journey before accepting that some classmates were simply more intelligent. Through that struggle, I slowly but surely learned to set personal goals in life as opposed to competing aggressively with peers. More importantly however, the UWC curriculum and its various extra-curricular activities provide an environment where young students can hone valuable interpersonal and leadership skills. From the retiring student of Seydou Nourou Tall that I used to be, I became quite involved in student life, and even presided over Atlantic College's social center committee in my second year. There is no doubt in my mind - the UWC experience was a blessing!

After 2 years in Wales, I was awarded a full Shelby Davis scholarship to attend Middlebury College, a Liberal Arts College in Vermont (USA). The transition was smooth thanks to my UWC experience. With concentrations in both economics and political science, I also found time to get involved in school activities such as playing in the Varsity soccer team and running the International Students Organization, but also worked part-time as executive manager of the Middlebury dining services intended for language students. During the 06-07 academic year, I enrolled the Sciences-Po Paris International Program as an exchange student, studying politics and international business in French.

I graduated from Middlebury in May 2008, and immediately took a job on Wall Street, in Citigroup's global capital markets business. Today, as a second year analyst, I help underwrite asset-backed securities for various large companies, and also structure and manage credit facilities collateralized by all kind of cash flows. It's an exciting business and I learn tremendously by the day. However, I plan to enroll an MBA program in the next year or so, and Insha'Allah, either launch an Islamic Investment Fund in New York or look for a job in Dakar.