Two MPhil Development Studies alum from Cambridge talk about their experience working at Genesis Analytics consultancy, giving an insight into their roles and some advice for students
About the Alumni
Emma Green is South African. She graduated with an MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University after doing a Bachelor of Commerce in economics and a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Cape Town. She is now an economics consultant in the Shared Value and Impact practice at Genesis Analytics.
Majdoulene Kerish is a Jerusalemite. She graduated with an MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University after an engineering degree at Loughborough University (BEng) with a focus on sustainable engineering and project financing. She was top of the cohort for several years and won the best engineering management dissertation for 2017/2018. She is now in development consulting at Genesis Analytics, working on social sector financing as part of the human development practice, with a MENA region focus.
Why did you decide to join Genesis Analytics?
Emma Green: I joined Genesis Analytics (GA) because I wanted to do work that was meaningful and interesting. As a consultancy, working at GA means working on many different projects for a range of clients at once – no work day is the same. This would mean that I could constantly be learning about new development topics and getting exposure to different types of clients (private sector, public sector and donors). I also really liked the focus of GA on unlocking value in Africa particularly. Finally, a number of current employees spoke about how they enjoyed the culture and focus on personal development at the firm, which really appealed to me.
Majdoulene Kerish: After graduating from Cambridge University, I was based in Jerusalem and found myself joining a few other MPhil coursemates at GA. This was an exciting opportunity to work at an international firm with colleagues I’ve known before and shared a master’s degree with.
What excited me about joining GA was the fact that it’s growing rapidly in the MENA region. I actually joined through a friend working at GA, he told me: “Genesis Analytics is looking for someone to work on a project in Oman”. That was an opportunity to expand my professional experience beyond Jerusalem at times when everything was virtual and hand sanitiser-soaked fingers were the norm. Consequently, I joined the Human Development practice at Genesis Analytics and have been working with the Government of Oman and the Tawazun program set by his Majesty the Sultan. GA works across different sectors, clients and countries, which gives you a wide range of options to grow professionally.
What do you enjoy most about the role?
Emma Green: Working in the Shared Value and Impact practice at Genesis Analytics has stretched me to think about creative ways in which the private sector, government and non-profits can work together to deliver development outcomes. I have loved working with such a range of clients on many corporate impact, public policy and regulatory challenges that feel genuinely meaningful and interesting. I also appreciate the Genesis culture of personal development, cross-practice projects and social activities. It’s been a great place to work straight out of my MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge University and I could not recommend it highly enough.
Majdoulene Kerish: Genesis is growing and expanding, and the human development practice team grew from just under ten members when I first joined a year ago to nearly 29 members as of November 2022, spread across different countries.
After a year+ at Genesis, being the first Middle East-based person, I worked on projects in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Jordan, Iraq and Morocco. I have worked for a short period of time at three offices so far (South Africa, Kenya, and the UK).
I have enjoyed the range of projects at the practice across countries, sectors and clients. In addition to the teamwork spirit, working remotely yet closely with seniors, along with the flexible working environment.
What advice do I have for students who are weighing up their career options?
Emma Green: For me, there are two key priorities to consider when weighing up your career: purpose/fulfilment and culture. First, when choosing what type of work to pursue, never compromise on doing something that you generally enjoy and that fulfils you – you spend too much time at your job not to enjoy it. Second, when choosing where to work, prioritise culture. Culture affects your workplace wellbeing, career progression and personal performance.
Majdoulene Kerish: When weighing up your career options, consider your goals when you applied for your degree. Speak to your tutor, graduates and career services and join as many events at Cambridge and get to know people in your community. These opportunities direct you to different market openings and connections and help you sharpen your ideas.