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Sandra Kamikazi

MSc in International Business, CIT

I believe this fellowship will present me with opportunities for leadership.


I have been working as an Advisor to the Deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB). The RDB is a government agency mandated to further economic growth and development, by enabling the private sector in Rwanda.  My advisory role involves coordinating the office and the departments that report directly to the Deputy CEO and offering advice in relation to the accomplishment of the institution’s targets. I also follow-up on the implications of various decisions concerning the institution. The role requires regular interaction with key external stakeholders and partners.  

I enrolled in the MSc in International Business because I loved the way the programme is designed. The modules are practical for both the public and private sector. I am fortunate to be part of a small class of 13, with students from different nations, with various academic backgrounds. CIT is very student-centred and offers a space for free communication with lecturers and other students. At first, the work schedule and assignments were challenging. I have always eluded speaking in public, but now I'm steadily improving my presentation and communication skills. I have developed expertise in time management, writing and analytical thinking. My thesis research is based on a consultancy project. I will conduct applied research on a live case study, working with a real company, dealing with real issues. I will be required to develop, implement and critically assess a detailed methodology to address a real business problem, within a defined time-frame. I am particularly interested in areas to do with SME development. 

I believe this fellowship will present me with opportunities for leadership. Rwanda is currently ranked as the second easiest place in Africa to do business. I hope that Rwanda will grow to be a self-sustaining hub for innovation, entrepreneurs and SMEs. Underpinned by the history of strong growth, Rwanda aspires to achieve upper-middle-income status by 2035 and high-income status by 2050.  The RDB has a private sector-centric approach, both in implementing reforms and policies. Having completed the course, I shall be able to provide better advice on topics such as global marketing, internationalisation, innovation and attracting and maintaining investment. I will use Ireland’s best practices as a benchmark in FDI, business supports and knowledge transfer. At my workplace, we work in teams composed of members from different departments, meaning that other teams will be exposed to the skills and insight I have gained.  

Adjusting to life in Ireland has been a smooth process because ICOS have helped us settle in. Cork City is a calm and beautiful place to live and study. The people are very helpful if one is in need of any help or direction. Meeting new people and forming new networks is truly rewarding. I will definitely miss my classmates, the exciting trips around Ireland, and shopping (who doesn’t love the student discounts!). I strongly encourage my fellow Rwandans to participate in Ireland’s Fellowship Programme, as it is a great opportunity to sharpen academic and leadership skills in a new and vibrant environment. Immersing yourself in a foreign culture and being exposed to a different education system is certainly rewarding. As Ireland is one of the fastest growing economies in Europe, being a participant in the Fellowship Training Programme has introduced me to the wider international context, especially in the business world. This will benefit every student, irrespective of their discipline.