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MSU Profiles

Sharing the heart and soul of economics

From his home country of Kenya, to Malawi, to Minot, Daniel Ngugi has made a commitment to studying, teaching and researching the subject of economics.

Ngugi, associate professor of economics, earned college degrees in three different countries, finally completing his doctorate at the University of Georgia. While at the University of Georgia, Ngugi was a student-teacher and developed a love for teaching in addition to his passion for economics.

“Teaching is my heart and soul,” said Ngugi, “especially the interaction with students, and passing along knowledge to them.”

After leaving Georgia, Ngugi took a job as a research analyst for the department of human services in Bismarck. Ngugi was tasked with analyzing the state of North Dakota’s social welfare programs, ensuring that funds were allocated as stipulated by government policy. While Ngugi enjoyed all of the research he was doing, he missed teaching.

“I’ve taught in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Athens (GA),” said Ngugi, “Teaching is something I’ve done for almost all of my adult life.”

A year later, Ngugi was hired as an assistant professor of economics at Minot State University.

“When I took the job at MSU, my colleagues in Bismarck joked that I needed a climate that was even colder than where I was,” joked Ngugi.

MSU proved to be just the fit Ngugi was looking for.

“My position at Minot State allows me to blend teaching and research,” said Ngugi.

 Currently, Ngugi is working on a research model related to the usage of mobile banking in Kenya. Ngugi, who travels frequently to Kenya, conducted research at a number of small and medium sized businesses and brought the research back to MSU. With the assistance of a graduate management student, Ngugi developed a model. The model was then applied to a small sample of businesses in Kenya.

“I want to apply that model to all of Kenya,” said Ngugi. “I’m going to use stratified random sampling to choose cities in Kenya and then choose businesses within those cities.”

In talking about his research in Kenya, Ngugi seamlessly shifts back to his admiration for Minot State University and his students.

 “It’s a very supportive community and the faculty, staff, and students all contribute to it,” said Ngugi. “One of the most impactful experiences for me is watching students get excited about what they’re learning, and helping them think like economists.”