New WDI Program Honors Dedicated Students
Monday, July 29, 2019
Since its founding, WDI has played an important role in providing University of Michigan graduate students with international experiences by funding summer internships, sponsoring student MBA teams and organizing travel-study courses abroad.
Over the years, some students have participated in multiple WDI programs and projects. To recognize this commitment by students to WDI’s mission to “equip economic decision makers in emerging countries with the tools of commercial success,” the Institute has established the Davidson Field Scholars program.
The Davidson Field Scholars program recognizes the important role these students play in WDI’s partnerships.
—Paul Clyde, President of WDI
“We wanted a way to acknowledge this commitment by a special group of U-M graduate students who work with WDI in addressing the business challenges faced by our partner companies and organizations operating in low- and middle-income countries,” WDI President Paul Clyde said. “The Davidson Field Scholars program recognizes the important role these students play in WDI’s partnerships.”
The Davidson Field Scholars program is open to all U-M graduate students. Applicants must complete participation in one WDI-sponsored program and commit to completing a second before they are eligible to apply. (Click here for eligibility rules and other information.)
Monika Johnson, who spent a year helping establish the University of Michigan International Investment Fund (IIF), was named one of two inaugural Davidson Field Scholars. Johnson, who received her MBA and MS in 2019, studied international development as an undergraduate student. After graduating from U-M’s Ross School of Business, her goal was to return to emerging markets in some capacity.
“Building the International Investment Fund helped me solidify how I might be able to combine my interest in finance and passion for economic empowerment,” she said. “As I seek to do this professionally down the road, being a Davidson Field Scholar will help me articulate my experience to others more formally.”
The other inaugural Davidson Field Scholar, Caroline Lucas, was Johnson’s partner on the IIF project. She called the work on the investment fund “a transformational learning experience.”
“It was truly collaborative, entrepreneurial, analytical and creative,” she said. “It was very exciting to be essentially given a mission to build an investment fund in India and a blank slate.”
Lucas said she is very passionate about international development and chose U-M for her graduate studies partly because of WDI’s work in the field. While working to create the IIF, Lucas and Johnson worked with Clyde and Ross Professor Gautam Kaul. The students also provided guidance to a WDI-sponsored MAP team in its due diligence of four Indian companies for possible investment from the fund. MAP, or Multidisciplinary Action Program, is an action-based learning course in which MBA students receive guidance from faculty advisors from Ross and WDI. Each project requires analytical rigor, critical thinking and teamwork. (Find out more about WDI’s MAP projects over the years here.)
“We spent hours working together on this project and the Davidson Field Scholar program was a great way to formally recognize all of the work we did together,” said Lucas, who will soon start a job as a senior strategy consultant at Accenture Strategy. “Since I plan to pursue international development long-term, having a formal way to recognize my research with WDI is an invaluable asset to my resume.”
Lucas said she plans to keep in touch with the student leadership at the IIF “as the team works its way towards our first investment.”
Likewise, Johnson, who starts in a finance leadership development program with E&J Gallo winery in August, sees the growing Davidson Field Scholars community as a valuable network for MBA graduates looking to have an impact in low- and middle-income countries.
“I am looking forward to keeping in touch with the incoming International Investment Fund leadership and others involved with WDI,” she said.