Brandeis International Business School

The world is her classroom

For Sion-Grâce Mendy, MSBA/MA’24, a donor-funded internship in Israel has her envisioning ways to make a positive impact back home in Senegal

Sion-Grâce Mendy, MSBA/MA’24

“I’m incredibly grateful to the generous Brandeis community,” says Sion-Grâce Mendy, MSBA/MA’24.

Sion-Grâce Mendy, MSBA/MA’24 was working at a startup in Tel Aviv, Israel, when inspiration struck.

“There’s a term my coworkers taught us,” said Mendy. “They call it chutzpah. It’s that audacity or boldness. There’s no filters — you think it, you speak it, you act it. It was a culture shock, but in a positive way.”

Thanks to generous donor support, Mendy is taking her own bold approach to graduate education at Brandeis International Business School.

She’s challenging herself in the classroom, earning a dual degree in Business Analytics and International Economics and Finance. And she recently expanded her worldview and global business knowledge through immersion trips to Israel, including the Hassenfeld Immersion Program and the Israel Internship Program.

“Everyone — from the donors to the professors to the staff and the students — is very diverse, is very loving, is very accepting,” said Mendy. “Here at Brandeis, I can say I have a great team supporting me.”

‘Doing it all’ at Brandeis

Mendy is originally from the West African country of Senegal. After working in the United States and Nigeria, she began researching graduate programs in the Boston area.

She always had an interest in economics but also knew that data analytics would be key to accelerating her career.

The International Business School’s MSBA/MA dual degree proved to be the perfect fit.

“I'm the type of person who likes a challenge,” said Mendy, who was awarded a Dean’s Scholarship. “I knew economics was hard as it is. But since going back to school is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I decided I might as well challenge myself and do it all.”

Mendy is making the most of her time at Brandeis — building strong relationships with her Career Coach and professors, participating in the Global Gala cultural showcase and attending Industry Treks in New York City and San Francisco. But the Hassenfeld trip to Israel remains the highlight of her experience.

“The immersion trips are amazing,” said Mendy. “You visit a lot of companies — sometimes all day long we were out visiting companies. If I had to do it again, I would do it in a heartbeat. Why? Because there is no better way to learn than being right there.”

Harnessing data for good

Mendy stayed in Tel Aviv at the conclusion of the Hassenfeld trip to Israel in order to participate in the Israel Internship Program. The program, which was founded in 2017 by Gary Jacobs ’66 and Robin Jacobs ’66, is funded by donors and is part of the International Business School’s Israel Initiative.

Mendy worked as an intern with Agritask, an agricultural technology startup whose software helps companies build more sustainable and resilient food supply chains. Working with the company’s data team, she performed market research on mobile apps used by farmers and other agricultural producers.

In addition to her newfound appreciation for chutzpah, Mendy took the company’s mission to heart. Upon graduating from Brandeis, she now hopes to use her new knowledge, skills and experiences to make a difference back home.

“Going to Israel, it was uncharted territory,” said Mendy. “It built me up in ways that I did not think possible. And I have developed a clearer picture as to what I want to do with my career in the field of agricultural finance.

“At this point in my life I am yearning to go back to Senegal. I am acquiring skills that I know I can put to work when I return. That’s why my academic focus on economics and data analytics is so important to me.”

Mendy’s advice to prospective students mirrors her own journey: be sure to put in the effort, and take advantage of every opportunity the International Business School offers.

“I feel better prepared now to take the next step,” said Mendy. “I’m incredibly grateful to the generous Brandeis community for making this possible.”

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