Monday, January 30, 2023

Olivier Munyeshyaka, born and raised in Rwanda, obtained a master’s degree in accountancy at the University of Iowa (UI) in 2019. After Iowa, he worked briefly for a private equity firm in California as an investment analyst, then decided to go back to Rwanda working with the Development Bank of Rwanda. Later, he joined the Rwanda Innovation Fund, a government-funded investment firm which invests in technology startups across Africa. He currently leads the fund’s Rwandan team. Learn more about Munyeshyaka through the Q&A piece below: 

What prompted you to pursue your graduate studies at the University of Iowa?  

One of my good friends and a mentor of mine from college in Atlanta went to the UI for his graduate studies. He always told me about how much he was challenged at the UI and how much he was learning there. He told me that professors were extremely helpful and that some of them became personal friends of his. I witnessed this myself when I expressed interest in the UI; Dr. Carroll from the Tippie Department of Accounting was supportive, and I knew I would enjoy learning from people like him. 

How was your experience as an international student on campus?  

My time at the UI was smooth - everything worked well, information was available, and above all, people were helpful. This was especially important for international students like myself who were in a new environment. Being able to know where things were helped reduce the stress and confusion that came with new environments. Iowa is a big school, but going to International Student and Scholar Services, I never had to wait long or feel like people were not trying to help.  

What are your future career plans and goals? How has the UI prepared you for achieving these?  

My career plans are to become an African investor and encourage innovation and investments in Africa. The UI not only gave me hard facts about international accounting, but opened my eyes to how policies, rules, and procedures are set, particularly in business. In Dr. Carroll’s class, we always read research papers about accounting rules, discussed what incentives different parties have, and how those incentives might influence their actions. Similarly, in Dr. Markle’s tax class, we discussed how international tax works, what incentives are put in place for different countries to be competitive, etc. 

What advice would you give to other international students on campus and prospective international students considering the UI?  

Make the best use of your time at the UI; talk to professors – pick their brains, don’t be shy to get their thoughts on situations in your own countries and your future projects; make friends with other students; explore neighboring towns; get into football and go watch games! You will have a good time. 


International Programs (IP) at the University of Iowa (UI) is committed to enriching the global experience of UI students, faculty, staff, and the general public by leading efforts to promote internationally oriented teaching, research, creative work, and community engagement.  IP provides support for international students and scholars, administers scholarships and assistance for students who study, intern, or do research abroad, and provides funding opportunities and grant-writing assistance for faculty engaged in international research. IP shares their stories through various media, and by hosting multiple public engagement activities each year.