Student Spotlight – Fatoumata Camara
My educational journey began as a roller coaster with no hopes for what the future would hold, but I never stopped doing these three things: being brave, being fearless, and believing in myself. I knew what I wanted from life which led to my quest of becoming a trailblazer in my family.
After completing my high school in Accra, Ghana, I started applying to different colleges both in the U.S. and the U.K. I thought I was going to become an economist but then life happened and now I am an accountant.
One of the best decisions I ever made was applying to Monroe College. The application process was very smooth, communication was quick, and one of the international admission staff members was actually from West Africa. This made me more comfortable as he understood my credentials and ensured me that I would have all the support I would need.
Monroe College gave me the opportunity to obtain my Bachelor’s degree in less than three years through their Monroe Advantage Program (MAP) which allowed me to take three semesters every year while at the same time enabling me to gain experience outside the classroom. My favorite experience was being an accounting tutor on campus. I was able to build long-lasting relationships with my fellow students, professors, and even with the Dean of my program.
I began interning early while I was a sophomore in college, and received two internship offers from two of the “Big 4” accounting firms — PricewaterhouseCoopers, as an External Auditor, and Deloitte as a Risk and Financial Advisory Intern. Prior to that, I had done two accounting internships at ABC and Aeropostale.
I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Accounting in August 2019 and was awarded the Dean’s Award for the School of Business and Accounting. Thanks to the Monroe Foundation for funding my graduate studies with up to $20,000 in scholarship, I will be graduating from Pace University with a Master’s in Accounting Data Analytics and Technology in May 2021.
The strong international students’ presence at Monroe College gave me the motivation to start my own foundation called F-1 Student Connect where we aim to enrich the educational experiences of international students through valuable networking and professional growth. My goal is to establish a support system and create an awareness of what it means to be an international student in the United States.
After attending the “Forbes Under 30” Summit as a 2019 Forbes Scholar, I became more interested in entrepreneurship and started my own hair company called Manis Hair Boutique, an e-commerce website focused on selling high-quality hair extensions, wigs, and other hair products to people of all skin tones. The mission of Manis is to empower the Black community and support our associates by re-distributing the amount of money spent on hair. Hair is not only a necessity in the Black community, it is a part of Black identity. Our first physical store will be coming soon in Houston, Texas.
The journey has only begun and I am thankful to Monroe College and the Monroe Foundation for helping me realize my dreams by providing me with a high-quality education and the tools necessary to succeed in the “real” world. I aspire to become a great businesswoman, and my future plans include getting another Master’s Degree in Energy Economics from Rice University. I have loved economics since high school and I still do.
My favorite quote is “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” as it reflects my values based on hard work and consistency. I intend to put in even more work as I start my career with Deloitte in their Houston Office as a Risk and Financial Advisory Analyst while studying for my CPA exams.