The Cooperative Masters run at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences is an 18-month program with a mandatory and intentionally-placed 6-month internship opportunity in selected industries for its students. This approach exposes learners to the corporate world before they are officially and gainfully employed. The internship period aids in sharpening skills and brings to light the theories studied in the classroom. Today, we profile one of our Coop alumni from AIMS Rwanda. Having graduated from AIMS Rwanda in 2019, Jean de Dieu Murera Gisa, the Mastercard Foundation alumnus, is currently a Senior Data Scientist at the National Bank of Rwanda.
Jean received a government scholarship after high school to study for an undergraduate certificate in Physics Education from the University of Rwanda. He completed this in August 2012 and proceeded to teach Physics in several secondary schools in Rwanda until 2017, when he applied and got admitted into the Coop Program at AIMS Rwanda.
After his one-year period at the Centre, he was placed at the Bank of Africa, Rwanda, where he served as a Business Intelligence and Data Analyst Intern. During his internship, Jean built up his networking and teamwork skills and attention to detail. His professional communication and time management skills were also positively influenced, and he learnt how best to adapt to challenging environments. On the technical front, Jean had the opportunity to build skills in Financial Data Analytics and Interpretations, Interactive Data Visualization, Data Management in SQL and Oracle and Business Intelligence (Data Ethics and Security).
“Apart from being a conducive learning environment, AIMS challenged us to be the best and shaped us to change our thinking process to solve our problems and that of society. I had great mentors who groomed and inspired me to be the best. Prof. Sam Yala, Prof. Blaise Tchapda and Prof. Fokoue Ernest made me believe I can shine in the darkness.”
The experiences gathered at the Bank of Africa, Rwanda, became a critical addition to his competence and opened up more significant opportunities for him. Currently, Jean serves as a Senior Data Scientist at the National Bank of Rwanda, where he uses both the hard and soft skills gathered at AIMS to advance the Central Bank’s operations better. Jean is also taking a second master’s program in Economics at the University of Kigali, and we are hopeful this will go a long way to help his vision.
At AIMS, Jean struggled to adapt to the environment in the first few weeks, like every other student. However, he overcame this challenge by breaking the boundaries he had set and interacting with more students who added to his academic and social knowledge. The programming languages he was exposed to at AIMS have become the essential and most significant tools that distinguish him from others.
To African youth who aspire to be in the capacity of Jean in the future, he shares the following advice:
“Have a clear vision and work efficiently to achieve them. While at it, surround yourself with positive thinkers who will motivate and see the best in your goals. Finally, remember that the peak of one mountain is the starting point of another, so keep climbing high.”