Clare Hunter Funnell
International Development MSc
Why did you choose to study at The University of Manchester?
I am from Bristol and I completed my undergraduate degree in Politics and International Relations at the University of Cambridge. I chose to study at Manchester because I liked GDI’s breadth of expertise and in particular, the work which is done within the Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre.
I wanted a master’s degree which would provide a broad grounding in the theory and practise of development and would also allow me to specialise in my area of expertise- political economy and natural resource governance in the context of Somalia. I continued to work for Transparency Solutions, a Somali development consultancy, throughout my degree and this allowed me to both enhance my professional work and bring primary data and local knowledge into my thesis.
What have you been up to since graduating?
Following my master’s degree, I joined a charity with offices in London and Washington D.C which promotes community-led change through providing capacity building and funding to grassroots groups. I coordinated a large capacity building programme for the disability sectors in Tanzania and Uganda. I have recently joined the International Development team of the Economic and Social Research Council, where I oversee a portfolio of research grants, scope out new areas of research and work on what we mean by ‘impact’ and how this can be enhanced and measured.
Has your qualification helped you in your career?
The international development space, rightly or wrongly, often requires or strongly preferences candidates with master’s degrees. This has therefore helped me to secure my jobs, but my degree has also helped me to perform better, for example I have often consulted notes on particular theories or areas of development to inform my day to day work.
What is your best memory from your time at Manchester?
I enjoyed the diverse range of modules and being in the city of Manchester. As a rock climber, it’s a great location for the peak district!
Do you have any tips or advice for current or prospective students?
I would advise prospective or current students to gain some practical experience in development as early as possible- this could be volunteering or short term internships around your degree.