CME Scholar Scholastique Iradukunda Blends Finance and Philosophy
Scholastique Iradukunda (BBA and BA ’20) is not your average finance student. She was born in Rwanda, lived in Uganda, and speaks four languages.
Now the double major in finance and philosophy has her sights on changing the way we consider the field.
Her accomplishments and promise were recognized in 2019 by the CME Group Foundation, which awarded her a prestigious scholarship. The scholars program is open to underrepresented students with a variety of majors in finance and technology. More about this program→
Below, Iradukunda considers the intersections between finance and philosophy.
Why did you pick Quinlan?
I came to Chicago because I wanted a change of pace after earning my associate’s degree in Texas. I wanted a big city, so here I am. The culture in Chicago is so vibrant. I've seen most of my favorite writers and artists here.
How is your background an advantage in the finance world?
When I think about finance, I don't just think Wall Street. I think finance on the international scale, about how what happens anywhere in the world ripples through markets far and wide. My ability to navigate multiple cultures makes it easier to connect the dots between different contexts, ideas, and fields that can inform finance. It also makes it easy to adapt and connect with people.
When I was a child, I was a control freak. I didn't take any risks because I wanted everything to be right, predictable, free of chaos. That's gone now, but that impulse explains my interest in analyzing risk and reward.
You're working with the details in finance but you know where you're going in the long-run. You know the big picture. It’s fulfilling to figure out how the details match and how they fit into the big picture; to navigate multiple objectives, stakeholders, dimensions; and to figure out a way to adequately balance those multiple goals.
How does finance allow social justice?
Finance originated from the basics of creating a thriving community. The basic ideas of finance like leverage and diversification are part of everything we do in our everyday lives and are at the foundation of society.
Finance gets a bad reputation because of the ways in which individuals have divorced the field of finance from stewardship and responsibility. However, with this Quinlan education, I see how I can practice finance in a responsible way and serve others. Addressing our social issues like climate change requires financial resources. Finance can be a tool and instrument in addressing pressing social concerns.
Why major in philosophy?
I have a love for the humanities. I love stories, reading, and writing. I didn't want to give that up for a degree in business and finance. Additionally, I'm interested in the ways philosophy can inform finance, and I love making connections between things that aren't usually thought together.
What does this scholarship enable you to do?
I was considering transferring from Loyola because I couldn't afford this education by myself. With the scholarship, I have more time to study and opportunities to study abroad. I'm hoping to go to Madrid, and this scholarship gives me the opportunity to do that.
Tell me about your goals.
Ultimately, I want to work in a position or environment where I'm mentally stimulated, using both my majors, thinking about my professional development, and constantly learning. I want to find a common place for everything I've been exposed to. Right now, I have my sights on consulting and graduate school.
What sets Quinlan apart?
The location means we get to have hands-on experiences with Chicago organizations and have the opportunity to network with people through Quinlan's events.
Advice for students?
Expose yourself to disciplines and ideas that business students are not always inclined to be interested in. Go to the different talks on campus. Take a class outside of this field.
Everything you expose yourself to will make you a better business person. All the ideas at the end of the day are only going to give you a fuller career and fuller life. You'll have the chance to think creatively, non-traditionally, and make yourself a better candidate.
Describe Quinlan in 10 words.
A place to discover yourself and your passions in life.