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Global Development Institute

Sophie Song

MSc Development Economics & Policy

Why did you choose to study at The University of Manchester?

I wanted to study my MSc at a university that is internationally recognised and world-renowned for international development. I wanted to be equipped with a comprehensive understanding of the development theories, as well as the practical skills to analyse and evaluate development effectiveness – so wanted to study a combination of theories and policies, as well as heavyweight economics. Manchester fulfils all of this, and had the best all-around performance amongst my shortlisted universities.

What attracted you to the MSc in Development Economics and Policy?

I knew that I wanted to work in international development, but I wanted something more concrete as I felt the sector needed more evidence-based programmes that are tested and proven to work. To me the answer lies in development economics. Manchester’s Development Economics and Policy (DEP) course had the economics AND the theoretical components. The programme also had an Applied Development Economics Project, where we could gain hands-on experience working with real data on an end-to-end project.

Now that you are here, what is your favourite thing about studying your course at The University of Manchester?

What I like the most about my course is the flexibility it offers – you could mould your curriculum to a perfect reflection of what you want to get out of the course. I wanted the development economics basics, but I also wanted a good introduction into international development and some exposure to policy. I was able to do this by selecting courses from other pathways as my optional course units.

Though I aspire to be a hard-core economist, I do enjoy my theory classes like Contemporary Finance and Policy Analysis, where we can debate and discuss ideologies and what’s happening around the developing countries.

Would you recommend your course and the University as a good place to study?

Wholeheartedly. The DEP staff are particularly helpful. I love that I can just knock on a door and tap into the most brilliant minds in development studies, anytime (seriously – they seem to answer their emails around the clock). They will work with you to find a way to help you achieve what you want. And the University – it’s just MIND-BOGGLINGLY FULL of resources. I don’t know if I’d ever want to go back to work after this!

What would you like to do once you have finished your master’s, and how will your study help with this?

Prior to coming to Manchester I worked as a market researcher. I’m hoping to combine my past research experience working for commercial organisations with my new development economics skills, to jumpstart a career in international development. I believe my MSc is a signal to potential employers of my commitment and relevance to development, and will equip me with new skills to contribute to the sector.   

We spend over a third of our lives working – nothing would please me more then to spend it working towards improving the quality of human lives.