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Global Development Institute

Bala Yusuf Yunusa

MSc in Development Finance (2006), PhD Development Policy and Management (2017)

Originally working in finance, Bala Yusuf Yunusa came to The University of Manchester in 2005 as a Chevening Scholar to study an MSc in Development Finance. He has recently been appointed Technical Advisor to the Office of the Nigerian President on SDGs. Bala says this study enabled him to become Team Leader of the United Nations’ Millennium Villages Project in Nigeria (2007-2014), however Bala had wider ambitions:

“To adequately prepare myself for strategic leadership roles in international development, I felt the need to undertake a Doctorate Degree and Manchester easily came to mind. As an alumnus, I know the quality of the academics at The University of Manchester and their ground-breaking research in international development. So, I just contacted the potential supervisors working in the field/area I wanted to investigate. “

Bala said that the combination of studying and research as well as practical experience in the field have helped him develop his career extensively.

“My cognate experience and my PhD have combined to advance my career in development policy and practice. Once I passed my Viva, I was offered a Regional Position as the Head of Livelihoods Programme and Country Advisor for Nigeria with Millennium Promise (an International Non-Governmental Organization committed to operationalizing the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa). This September 2018, I was appointed by the United Nations Development Programme to serve as Technical Advisor to the Office of the President on Sustainable Development Goals. These appointments wouldn’t have been possible without the two qualifications I have from GDI.”

After many years studying and researching in Manchester Bala has great affection for the city. He says there were many things he enjoyed about studying in Manchester.

“I appreciated the conducive teaching and learning environment. Everyone, I mean everyone is willing to help – from the senior academics down to the Library receptionists. The atmosphere is just inspiring! Did I mention about the vibrant nature of the city? I just love the city of Manchester…it is about creativity and innovation.”

Bala feels that the University is well placed to support PhD researchers. “For the prospective PhD researchers, The University of Manchester, and GDI in particular is a place to embark and successfully complete their doctoral training. The atmosphere is that of conviviality and cordiality. The academics are renowned for their ground-breaking research in development policy and practice.”     

Bala knows first hand how important it is to focus on the long journey of doing doctoral research. “For the current PhD researchers, I want to assure you that there is light at the end of the ‘long’ tunnel. You should just remain focused, eye on the ball and you will overcome. The key to success in a PhD is the management of supervisor-researcher relationship. Do everything humanly possible to nurture this relationship and you will not regret embarking on this adventure.”

The University’s alumni network is also important to someone with Bala’s role and profile. “I am in close contact with my colleagues at Manchester and we are communicating regularly via various mediums. As a Manchester alumnus, I am treated with respect within the policy circle. I also know I can draw from the global Manchester Alumni network and I am exploring that as and when the need arises.”