Professor Yourougou Sets Sights on Helping His Homeland

When Pierre Yourougou first came to the Whitman School as a professor of finance practice, he knew he wanted to help those in need through advancing scholarship and research in the areas of public debt management, financial and emerging markets and African business intelligence. Now, as managing director of the Africa Business Program and associate director of the Kiebach Center for International Business Studies at the Whitman School, Professor Yourougou continues that quest, helping students and the global business and education community understand developing markets and economies in a way that will hopefully advance those financial systems to eradicate poverty.

“Ever since I was in middle school, I’ve wanted to alleviate poverty,” said Professor Yourougou. “I noticed that some were so poor and some didn’t even have enough paper to write on in my school. So I’ve always worked to support the goal of a world free of poverty.”

Professor Yourougou came to the United States to work for the World Bank in corporate finance; his charge was risk management and financial policy and he advised governments on finance, public debt management and corporate governance. After retiring, he decided to explore academia as a way to continue his life’s work and educate young minds.

Originally from the Ivory Coast, Professor Yourougou was pleased to be able to establish Whitman’s Africa Business Program, now part of the larger Kiebach Center for International Business Studies, to share globally his knowledge about developing markets. The Program co-sponsors a global conference annually, which offers a unique forum for participants to meet and discuss their current work on business and entrepreneurship in Africa with other academic researchers and business professionals from around the world. Through paper presentations, panel discussions and keynote addresses, participants seek to understand the pivotal role of entrepreneurship in Africa’s economic development. Participants from around the world present their findings and offer diverse perspectives on Africa’s budding marketplace.

Professor Yourougou also contributes to the body of knowledge in these financial fields. His research, mostly focused on emerging markets, corporate finance, and financial markets and institutions, has appeared in the Journal of Banking and Finance, Journal of Financial Research, Journal of Futures Markets, Journal of Economics and Business, and Review of Futures Markets.

“Much of my research today has transitioned from academic to practical, which helps policy makers improve economies and financial markets,” he said.

As an expert in international business, Professor Yourougou has taught courses in corporate finance, investment, bank management, new and emerging markets, global financial system architecture, and money and banking.

He received his Ph.D. in finance from the Stern School at New York University. In his spare time, he runs a Mobile Eye Clinic in Ivory Coast to help provide pro-bono general eye care and ophthalmology surgical procedures to those in need.