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Magali Duque

Relationship Manager, Prodigy Finance (London)
Class of 2015

Current Job:

I am currently a Relationship Manager within the Business Development Team at Prodigy Finance, an international fintech company b

First Job after Graduation:

Right after graduation, I was awarded the HAAS Fellowship for Public Service to pursue a summer internship in Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) in Mountain View, CA.

How did you end up pursuing your career? Do you have any advice for students contemplating similar career paths? What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were an undergraduate?

After the fellowship, I moved to the UK to pursue a Master’s of Science in Inequalities and Social Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science. My thesis topic was “Black History curricula in the UK and the US.” During this time, I also worked part-time as a Research Assistant on campus at the Center for Analysis on Social Exclusion (CASE) through which I co-wrote several published reports on the causes and implications of inequality and social mobility for Oxfam International and the Joseph Roundtree Foundation. Through my fellowship, graduate programme and role as a researcher, I became very interested in issues surrounding access to pursuing higher education for minority populations. While I had originally intended on staying in the public sector, I came across a few innovative edtech and fintech companies in the private sector that were trying to help reduce those barriers. After graduating, I started working at Prodigy Finance, which allowed me to combine my passion for education and financial access with a role that gave me exposure across diverse teams from business development and marketing to tech and operations. One thing that I wish I knew as an undergrad was that it’s okay to experiment with different sectors and career paths even if you know where you’d like to end up. Most of my friends and I are in a very different role now than we were a year ago and while many of our interests are still the same, they’ve expanded as we gain exposure to different types of work within our fields and plan our next professional development goals. My advice would be twofold. First, try not to compare to your peers who maybe went a different route than you - each person’s options and ultimate path are different. It can be hard not to, especially when half of your friends (regardless of their major) end up working in corporate finance. Secondly, stay authentic in your interests and career choices, but don’t be afraid to do something that may not be 100% what you had envisioned in the short term, as long as you think it will allow you to better achieve your goals in the long run.

Do you have any particularly fond memories of the History Department?

During my sophomore year, Allyson Hobbs’ seminar on Black History in the 20th century was the first pivotal moment of my undergraduate career. Her class led me to switch my major from International Relations to History. I cannot thank her enough for asking the right questions and fostering an inclusive space for us all to explore how to interpret history through different lenses. The sense of curiosity, academic rigor, and intellectual growth she instilled in the classroom was truly inspiring. In that space, though only a short quarter, I dived deeper into my interest in studying black history, marginalized populations, and systematic inequality. Robert Crews was the second history Professor I ever took a History class from at Stanford, and was one of my favorite Professors at Stanford. I’m pretty sure he was the Professor I think I took the most classes from before graduating! His approach towards teaching history was one of critical reflection and promoting contextual cultural understanding, that both challenged the classroom and our own personal perspectives. From a course on Modern Middle Eastern History, to Global Drug Wars, that approach was something that also shaped my standards for discussions beyond the classroom and still do today.