Meet the Majors

Audrey Massimbi Muhirwa ’22

Economics and Government, Global Financial Institutions concentration

About Audrey

Class of 2022

Hometown: Kigali, Rwanda

Economics and Government, Global Financial Institutions concentration

House: Lamont

Describe your majors/concentration for someone who has never heard of your field before.
Economics and government are the two majors that give you a pair of new eyes and ears when observing the world around you, discussing world news, and trying to make sense of global changes that affect you both directly and indirectly. The Global Financial Institution concentration zooms in on economics and helps decipher money and investment management in short.

What’s your all-time favorite Smith memory?
One defining memory is definitely the first time my mother and I set foot on campus when she was dropping me off at the start of my first year. We were both realizing the adventure I was in for as we were taking in Smith that had been until recently a website and brochures. Since then, my favorite memories at Smith have been mosaics of all the wonderful humans I’ve been blessed with having in my life and the many firsts I experienced like learning how to cross-country ski, jumping off a 42-foot tree at a high ropes course, mountain biking and so many more.

Did you ever have trouble deciding on your majors? What, ultimately, helped you decide?
My choice in my majors was inspired by my close relationship with my father and my admiration of his tenured career in financial advising services. Economics is one of the topics I fell in love with earlier on in high school mainly because of my conversations with my father. It was relevant beyond academics and was a natural aspect of my daily conversations with my dad; He’d naturally translate a news headline and break it down for me to understand how it affected individuals directly. I quickly noticed how inseparable economics is with political science. Out of sheer curiosity and enjoyment, I chose government as my second major because it was one of the majors that covered the topic interests of mine mainly developing countries from Sub-Saharan Africa to all emerging markets.

Could you explain a concentration? Why did you choose Global Financial Institutions for yours?
A concentration is a specialization within the broader umbrella that’s called a major. My first internship was for the Rwandan Development Board, a government investments institution with a focus on fast-tracking economic development. As part of the accelerator team, I worked alongside sector lead analysts in manufacturing and agriculture to pinpoint commercial investment opportunities identified in export value chains. I worked with analysts on developing a pipeline of potential investors, and finally understanding what it would take to bring investors to Rwanda, and shaping potential investments. This sparked an interest to really understand how more complex financial systems operate, to which GFI was a perfect introduction.

I wanted to really understand how more complex financial systems operate, to which GFI was a perfect introduction.

If someone was considering your concentration, what would you tell them?
It’s the perfect start to gaining financial literacy and gaining exposure to career advice and even meeting alumnae in the financial sector. The concentration is also highly customizable to your curiosities.

Is there a way in which you’ve noticed your majors and concentration either intersecting or informing each other?
Yes, GFI was definitely a more applied approach to the theoretical background I received from my economics degree. And of course, political science is an overt and latent market mover that’s ubiquitous in both economics and global financial institutions.



In your nomination, your nominator said you had very interesting work experience. Could you talk a little about what that entailed?
Following my first internship with the Rwanda Development Board, I went on to have first-hand experience in private wealth management at Goldman Sachs in NY in the consumer and wealth management division. These experiences enhanced my analytical skills through daily tasks I provided for my team including market updates, observing stock rating changes for the team’s non-discretionary accounts, running portfolio reviews, servicing and addressing incoming client inquiries, and constantly immersing myself in the investment knowledge bank by leveraging our lead investment team’s research and joining global calls with industry experts.

Describe a moment from a class (from your major or outside of it) that particularly sticks with you.
I studied abroad at the University of Oxford in the fall, and one moment that’s stuck with me was when my professor called me an intellectual. As a senior, that was a full circle and affirming moment. It was a point in my journey that I felt seen as a mature academic, and encouraged that I’d done something right. It’s very easy to not celebrate small wins, and sometimes even harder to truly see your growth objectively, but to have a professor that hadn’t known me for a long period of time praise my work and address me as an intellectual was the moment I felt like a senior.

What’s your “big dream” for your future?
Taking over the world. I should be revisiting this interview in a couple of years laughing at the accuracy of 21-year-old me’s statement. I want to fulfill my potential as a woman and tap into all the power that’s been vested in me. Fill this shape of a woman I’ve been created to be. My dream isn’t tied down to a profession or project, but rather a fulfillment of an innate sense of greatness. I want to know that I’ve given God the glory in accomplishing the purpose He’s laid out for me.

My dream isn’t tied down to a profession or project, but rather a fulfillment of an innate sense of greatness.

What spot on campus will you miss the most? Where was your favorite place for meeting friends?
I’ll miss the familiarity that Smith has surrounded me with. There’s always a foreign and simultaneously novel feeling of “coming home” every time I set foot on campus and roll my luggage into my dorm assignment for the year. I’ll miss the cocoon and nest it’s been away from the world—an incubator of growth.

Was there anything special about your house that you'll particularly remember?
Convenience, it’s like finding the perfect apartment—the commute to classes is short, laundry is in-unit, food is downstairs, and it’s CLEAN!! Lamont has held it down for me to the extent that I’ve never lived in a different house my entire college career.

If you could tell an incoming first-year anything about Smith, what would it be?
Hi little sibs, you’ve made it so far in your journey and I’m proud of you. This next phase you’re stepping into is a rebirth. Just like a natural birth, you’re being immersed into immense change in such a little amount of time. Please, give yourself time and patience to discover your surroundings, re-learn yourself, how you learn, what your interests are…You’re about to enter into an extensive study about who you are. Some lessons will be tough, some pleasant, and others unexpected. But you’ll be all the better, stronger and powerful for it all. Your closest friends and family are who are going to matter throughout your tenure, so keep them close. Take care of your mind, body, and soul—because you want to cross the finish line whole.

What do you think has been the most “Smithie” thing you’ve done in life so far?
Using the words cis-gendered man as a descriptor on a regular basis.

What do you wish older alums knew about the class of 2022?
We are a resilient class. We’ve withstood rains, winds, pandemics and persevered. It is an honor to be graduating next to the women that I started out my undergraduate career with. As young teens and adults starting out in 2018, we didn’t know all we would face in these four years. I remember clearly our onboarding speech we received from our class dean as we sat in Sage Hall—persevere. She made it clear that finishing these years of college was not just going to take intelligence, but perseverance, being to able to weather every storm through to the finish line. I don’t take it for granted that we are here today, it is a huge blessing. And I wish my cohort the sincerest of my congratulations, love and wish nothing but blessings on each of your next steps.