The world is your oyster.

Evgenia Sokolova '01

Evgenia Sokolova '01, Co-Founder and President of Aktivera Grupp

Major: Economics and French, Five College Certificate in International Relations

Advanced Degrees: MPA in Development Practice, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

Companies: JP Morgan, Embark Energy, Aktivera Grupp

After nine years at JP Morgan, I completed a Masters Degree in Development and then became the Director of Finance Network at Embark energy, where my role was to help train social entrepreneurs in Africa to develop their Business Plans and Investment Memos and then connect them to Financiers globally.

Then I created my own company, Aktivera Grupp which focuses on implementing renewable energy projects in the developing economies. My passion lies in figuring out the linkages at the water-renewable energy-food nexus, enabling small business opportunities and economic growth. A few examples include solar food drying, refrigeration or solar water pumping.

Having said that, we are implementing a host of projects ranging from education to health care.

The economics classes I took at MHC were essential in understanding the broader economic backdrop (economic policies, growth, interest and exchange rate setting mechanisms) of countries in which we operate. They also facilitate making forecasts, which helps with proactive project management decisions.

My advice? Follow your gut, concentrate on what you wanna do but leave space for spontaneity and exploration. Some of the classes I look back on fondly were in Art History, and nothing to do with Economics. I now find that appreciation of art helps in creativity, which is essential in my work.

Evgenia Sokolova, originally from Russia, became Vice President at JP Morgan. In 2010, she left JP Morgan to attend grad school at Columbia's SIPA (Masters in Development Practice) and joined a start-up Embark Energy, a social enterprise that aims to empower people in Africa to get access to energy. Embark Energy has hosted several MHC students as interns. She then went on to launch her own company, Aktivera that focuses on enabling solutions along the clean energy-agriculture-water nexus.