Seven questions with Masamba Senghore
8 March 2019
This week, we meet Economics student, Masamba Senghore. Masamba tells more about his involvement with the UCL Entrepreneurs Venture Capital Fund committee, his interest in policy development in developing countries, and his favourite London spots.
What are you studying, why are you interested in this subject and what do you plan to do in the future?
I am studying Economics here at UCL. This subject appealed to me because I felt that a strong understanding of how the economy works and how that affects the incentives of different agents would allow me to get a greater understanding of the world around me in general.
There are particular areas of Economics that interest me. Development Economics and the workings of trade are a favourite of mine. During my A level studies, I wrote a dissertation on the “resource curse” of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Despite being one of the most minerally rich countries on the planet, the DRC population find themselves to be some of the poorest people in the world. How could this be? As I dug into the way in which countries like this have been exploited and the economic impacts, I wondered how such misfortune could be reversed. And this is one thing that I would like to use my degree for in the distant future – policy development in developing countries.
But I am one of many that have been enticed by the financial services. So, I am currently exploring asset management. Put simply, this involves investing the money of others into different asset classes to earn them a return. I love the thought of making money work for you via investing, creating another stream of income for yourself. It’s one way I’d like to get myself out of the rat race.
What is the most interesting thing you’ve done, seen or got involved with while at UCL?
There have been a number of things that I have gotten involved with that have been interesting. But I have to say, my role on the UCL Entrepreneurs Venture Capital Fund committee takes the top spot.
In short, we provide students running their own startups with some funding to provide an extra boost. I have found this interesting because of the immense quality of student-run businesses that I have come across. I was constantly impressed with the unique ideas and companies being built by our very own. One student that applied this year had a business that was turning air into drinking water, with a working prototype ready. Another was building a forest fire detection system for governments and timber companies. In this role, I am seeing some of the most innovative individuals showcase their entrepreneurship.
This is second to the study abroad programme that I got involved with last year. I attended a summer school programme which was hosted by one of our partner universities, Zhejiang University. This course, dubbed Entrepreneurship in China, took place in the city of Hangzhou. And I was one of four representatives of UCL, as we developed a business plan to pitch to professors from their school of management. Not only was the content taught to us and the experience useful, but the chance to experience a completely different culture was enriching. In our spare time, we got to visit companies like Alibaba and explore Hangzhou, as well as surrounding cities like Shanghai.
Have you discovered any hidden gems during your time at UCL?
One of the best study spaces on campus has to be our UCL Hub in Senate House. The place looks great, very modern with rooms that you can sit in with friends to collaborate. It seems emptier than other spaces so there’s always a seat to be found there.
Give us your top three things to do/see/go to in London.
One thing that my friends and I love to do is go on late night/early morning bike rides around central London. In our first year whenever we felt like it, we would stay up to around 4am and then hop on the Boris (Santander) Bikes and roll around central London like a little biker gang. The streets would be pretty empty, so we’d head from campus down to waterloo. From there, we’d cross the bridge and then ride down the Thames and cross to the other side on Millennium bridge. Then from St. Pauls, we’d head back to campus.
This is probably cliché, and I can imagine that every student has done this, but you have to go and see the sunset against the skyline from a high point. I recommend free places like Sky Garden or Primrose Hill.
Another thing that’s high up that I recommend is going to the balcony of the Monument to the great fire of London. After battling 311 steps, you’ll be rewarded with a great view of the City.
If you were Provost for the day what one thing would you do?
I would be more overt in censuring the legacy of eugenics at UCL and would ensure that there was no link to things like the London Conference on Intelligence (LCI) in the first place. There’s still a lot to do to #DecoloniseUCL (you can find out more about this in this Students’ Union article).
Who inspires you and why?
It has to be my mother. She is the most hard-working person I know, juggling a million things at once all to make sure that my two younger brothers and I are living well. Everything I do is in the hopes of one day paying her back. I can never fully repay her for everything she has sacrificed and done for me, but I’ll try.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
I used to play the saxophone, and can name every country on the planet in one go.
Masamba went to Zhejiang University International Summer School. The deadline for this year’s applications is 15 March. Find out more about about Summer School opportunities on the UCL Study Abroad page.