October 31, 2023

Center for Global Affairs Alumni Spotlight: Pharohl Charles

M.S. in Global Affairs ‘17

Concentration in Transnational Security

Currently, Pharohl works as a Senior Consultant at Deloitte.

What makes you proud to be an alum?
Being an alum of CGA is a distinction I carry with immense pride. The invaluable education and experiences I garnered have cultivated in me an exceptional level of cultural attunement and global awareness. This profound enrichment from CGA enables me to stand out conspicuously in most settings, manifesting the unique insights and perspectives instilled in me.

What are your main areas of responsibility in your current role?
I help major energy companies solve complex challenges around commodities trading and analyzing risk.

How did your time at the CGA help prepare you for this role?
My time at CGA was transformative and instrumental in shaping my career path in the energy and environmental sector. From engaging Dr. Maier before applying to enriching classes led by Dr. Shank, Dr. Kissane, and Professor Gadomski, CGA left an indelible impression on my academic and career journey.

Courses such as the Geopolitics of Energy, Energy Policy, and Sustainable Development armed me with a comprehensive understanding of the energy sector. I also have a soft spot for the former Soviet Union. Hence, a major highlight of the program was a wild idea to do two rounds of field research in Kazakhstan for my thesis on American Foreign Policy in Central Asia. Not only was Dr. Kissane supportive, but gave me a list of contacts to interview, some of whom have become clients and close friends.

Transitioning to the energy sector was challenging due to an initial lack of direction. I took whatever job came my way. One of my first roles out of CGA was working in compliance at a major exchange and a major lesson why you shouldn't just take any job from a recruiter on LinkedIn. I didn't have a finance background, the culture was bad, and compliance was extremely boring. However, leveraging the CGA network, I managed to navigate these challenges, finding more suitable roles that enabled me to determine what I loved about the sector, which was trading and risk management. I've since been working in this capacity for five years, and I'll never look back.

Reflecting on my journey, I owe much of my growth and success in the energy sector to the CGA. The rigorous courses, continuous guidance from mentors, and the supportive alumni network have been pivotal in navigating my career path, allowing me to contribute significantly to the success of my clients and give back my expertise to up-and-coming leaders.

Any favorite memories at the CGA?
I miss all the trips to the UN General Assembly and the Security Council during live sessions! Always fun times when heads of state or top officials from the U.S. or foreign governments would come to CGA to chat with students! Also had a lot of fun visiting Millstone Nuclear Power Plant in CT with Professor Gadomski for his energy policy class.

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