Master’s and music

Hope Reveche

Jan 18, 2024

Sebastian Dakey (MSIT '24) applied to Carnegie Mellon University Africa to strengthen his technical skills and deepen his roots within the African continent. After graduating from Ashesi University in Ghana, he knew that he wanted to use his technical skills to contribute to Africa’s transformation. Following a six-month stint at Google Ghana, he decided to further his education through CMU-Africa’s master of science in information technology program.

After coming to CMU-Africa, Dakey quickly realized the value of his education and how much the program had to offer. Although applying to internships on top of the heavy course load was challenging, he credits CMU for preparing him for the technical interviews. "The questions they asked were exactly what I had learned about in my Fundamentals of Software Development course. Additionally, I used one of my projects from another class, Python for Data Analytics, for the interview, and the class assignments were good enough that I was able to present one of them and make a case for it," Dakey says. He was successful in securing a position with Bank of America as a software engineer and completed a 10-week internship last summer.

During his internship, Dakey went above and beyond, impressing his employers by finishing his 10-week project in only seven. With the remaining two-and-a-half weeks, he completed a second project. "When I reflect on that experience, I realize just how much we do at CMU," he says. "At any point in time, you're juggling four or five courses, and there's so much to do such as completing assignments and studying to get good grades." Dakey's exemplary time management skills and work ethic paid off as Bank of America extended a full-time offer to him to join the company after he graduates in May 2024.

"I’m required to be in London for the job, but I also want to try to stay really connected with what’s happening on the continent, especially my home country, Ghana," Dakey says. He is currently involved with many initiatives and activities contributing to Rwandan development, both within and outside the program's curriculum.

His final practicum project, titled "AI Document Navigator and Insight Extractor," is focused on building an artificial intelligence chatbot for the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Rwanda that will allow users to learn about the country’s legal and policy framework across several industries in more accessible terms. He also recently completed another internship as a product manager with Irembo, a Rwandan company that handles the government’s digitization efforts.

Finally, music has been one of Dakey's passions, even at Ashesi during his undergraduate years. He founded the Ashesi University Choir and is currently the principal keyboardist for the Tema Youth Choir, a community youth choir in Tema, Ghana since he was only 18 years old. He has several piano arrangements of popular Ghanaian songs and hymns to his credit. Currently, he is working on writing a training manual for kids who want to learn how to play the piano. Playing the keyboard brings him and the community great joy, and he is lucky enough to be able to continue pursuing music with Chorale de Kigali, the number one choir in Rwanda.

"I joined them two years ago and have since played in their 2022 and 2023 annual Christmas concert. Wherever I find myself, I try to make use of my musical skills to make an impact. This is my way of contributing to the advancement of choral music," Dakey says.