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PhD Program Alumni Profile and Spotlight: Esteban Ferro

From soccer captain to the World Bank

An image of Esteban Ferro, PhD '10

Esteban Ferro, PhD '10
Quito, Ecuador

Esteban Ferro, PhD '10 shares how his work at the World Bank will help his native country, Ecuador.

You could say Esteban Ferro is world-smart. The Ecuadorian native studied in London, taking on an internship in Parliament’s House of Commons, where he witnessed heated sessions about the invasion of Iraq. “That was interesting,” said Ferro in an understatement.

There’s no surprise the 30-year-old dual citizen (he recently received Italian citizenship under his father’s parents) ended up in the World Bank. Here he is working on a project to examine how the trade between developing countries (e.g. Kenya) exporting agricultural commodities, such as fruit, to upper middle-income countries—Brazil, China, India—effects the developing countries as their buyers’ income rises and they become more sophisticated.

“You’re learning all the time,” said Ferro, who’s also examined how foreign aid can be more effective. “It never gets boring.”

Ferro credits his professors at Brandeis International Business School (IBS) for preparing him well for the position.

His easy adaption of the U.S. came early – and involuntarily – when his family lived in Florida for the year Ferro was in fifth grade. “I definitely wasn’t happy when my dad told me about it,” he said. But the young Ferro fit in quickly and from there gained confidence in himself. 

As busy as the World Bank keeps him, Ferro always finds time for soccer. It’s not only his recreation but it’s always been a way to expand his social network. “Playing sports is the easiest way to make friends,” explains Ferro. “It’s definitely a connection to the outside world.” At Brandeis IBS he was president of the soccer team for five years.

While Ferro successfully straddles the academic and professional worlds working and traveling in the U.S., he hasn’t forgotten his country.

“Part of the reason I studied economics is to eventually go back to Ecuador and try to help my country,” he said. “Growing up in a poor country, you see poor people all the time and the struggles they face.”

Ferro admits his family was lucky to have a middle-high income household; his sister and he attended the best high schools. His entire family still lives there, and he returns as least once or twice a year to visit.

Ferro’s original intention in studying economics was to eventually segue into a career in politics, of which he had enjoyed a taste in London.

Said an unassuming Ferro: “We’ll see if that ever happens now.”