CGHE Seminar 17

Tracer study of African alumni of international universities: career choices, return and social contributions

  • Robin Marsh, University of California, Berkeley

This seminar will present the background, methods and findings of the two-year multi-university study: ‘Career and life trajectories of African alumni of international universities’, led by the University of California, Berkeley.

The study is in part motivated by the intention to derive findings that will improve the future programming of the ongoing MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme that provides comprehensive scholarships to high-achieving Sub-Saharan African youth from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to attend selected North American and African universities.

Using mixed survey and narrative methods, the study contributes to a better understanding of the context, conditions, and individual variables that shape the career and life decisions of African alumni, and how these decisions impact their contributions to the social and economic well-being of their region/country of origin over time and space.

Findings from the survey analysis and narrative interviews shed new light on this topic of ‘brain drain’ versus ‘brain circulation’, with important implications for international scholarship design and capacity-building for African development more generally. The research question on ‘value of an international education’ addresses the comparative values of higher education experiences in North American versus African institutions in the context of personal growth and societal change.

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Robin Marsh

Robin Marsh

Dr Robin Marsh a socio-economist with over 25 years of experience in international agriculture and rural development. She received her PhD from the Food Research Institute, Stanford University. Robin joined UC Berkeley in 2000 as Director of the Center for Sustainable Resource Development and the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Programme. She lectures in the College of Natural Resources in the field of Population, Environment & Development. Robin joined the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues (ISSI) as a Senior Research Specialist in July 2014. Robin is a founding leader of the The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme (MCFSP) at UC Berkeley, and lead researcher on the multi-university study, ‘Career and life trajectories of African alumni of international universities’.

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