Koyesha Mukherjee graduated from MSc Development Economics and Policy in 2018 and is now a trade investigator working for the UK government.
On choosing The University of Manchester
I was looking for a very specific course type that was being offered by only some top-notch universities in the UK. University ratings, staff quality and student feedback for UoM are very positive and widely acclaimed which made me feel confident to pursue post graduate study at UoM. I specifically chose this course to propel my passion and interests as a young economist and consequently, help cater to the goals of global development.
Interestingly enough, this was a course being jointly delivered by the Global Development Institute, one of the leading development institutes in the world, and the School of Social Sciences within the University of Manchester. UoM was also my preferred destination as it was a time efficient one-year course and budget friendly option. The experience was definitely worth the investment.
On my career development since graduation
I received my first job offer during the last month of my course. So, my career actually kicked-off even before graduating from UoM in December 2018! It has been a journey of learning and growing since then.
I applied and received a job in the Department for International Trade, Government of United Kingdom (Civil Service) in September 2018. I have been employed here for more than a year now and this has been an exhilarating experience. It was a very competitive selection process and being an international student from India, the hassle of work visa and job applications in the UK was a very tough phase, personally.
My job role revolves around ensuring free and fair trade for the UK with the rest of the world, post its exit from the European Union. This involves analysing and monitoring excess imports of goods into the UK that are causing injury to domestic industries, conducting international visits (for trade investigation) to the countries concerned, calculating the appropriate level of tariffs to set off the injury and also drafting trade polices to execute this process in practice.
My role has been a particularly exciting and challenging work over the last year as this is all being done for the first time in the country’s history with no set precedence to refer to. Hence, my experience as a professional in the UK has been an exciting and wonderful learning opportunity that has helped groom my personal and professional self massively. Learning on-the-job about the governance and bureaucracy of a developed nation has helped me reflect upon the governing structures of other constituencies in the global economic race.
On how my course supports me in my career
Development Economics being a branch of Economics, has a course content that naturally consists of core modules in economics, statistics, econometrics and mathematics. The focus of this course was to explore developmental issues in vogue around the world; poverty, labour migration, climate change, governance, inequality, trade barriers, etc.
It was an insightful learning programme that taught me about endemic economic issues in different countries around the world. Some of the most important skills I engrained from my study are; the importance of data and evidence in analysing those issues from grass root level and, proposing a policy solution based on that evidence. I have been able to implement this theoretical knowledge into practice, in drafting the trade policy for the UK in my capacity as a trade investigator in Department for International Trade.
On the aspects of the course I found most enjoyable and useful
I would credit the entire experience of the course itself. My biggest takeaways from the programme were;
- its global approach to basic developmental challenges,
- research skills,
- the opportunity to interact and engage with brilliant academicians from around the world, professors and researchers who are experts in this field,
- access to top rated, international journals and papers on the university’s online library that helped enrich my knowledge in this subject immensely.
My course at UoM enabled me to comprehend the economic contexts of countries using a practical lens unlike my previous understanding in this field. Prior to this course, I had mostly been steeped into the theoretical side of the subject. However, this course in UoM helped me connect the dots with the practical application of it in the real world. The unique approach of the course to blend theory with case studies and real-world policy development, contributed in broadening my knowledge horizon. I learnt to compare and contrast the economic conditions of an advanced country with that of developing countries at ground level. Overall, I could implement this theoretical knowledge into practice, in drafting the trade policy for the UK in my present job role.
On my experience as an international student experience at Manchester
As a student in the UK (and as first-time outside India), it was quite overwhelming an experience in the initial months. I had to familiarise myself with a new country, its culture, the typical Manchester weather, food etc. while also meeting a whole bunch of new people from different countries around the world. This demanded a lot of my courage and resilience.
I also took this opportunity to engage into extra-curriculars outside academics in order to expand my network and learn more about other international cultures. I did part time jobs at the university, working as an event ambassador, student ambassador and graduation assistant. I also actively engaged with the ‘International Society’ of Manchester to volunteer at local British schools, learn Spanish, partake in the country daytrips and participate in its international cultural nights.
I feel very grateful and humbled, for the opportunity I received to study at UoM. It helped me develop a better understanding of myself and to think and live independently, away from the people and places I adore as home. In the land of unknowns and the new, estranged from the familiar and old, I can now confidently say that I am a better version of myself. Stronger than I had imagined myself to be and more capable than the feeble faith I had initially placed on myself. All it took was just an ounce of courage and faith to believe in myself and my potentials. That one year in Manchester will always be special to me and a wonderful starting point for my career.
On the best thing about living and studying in the city of Manchester
The best thing about living as a student in Manchester is the diversity of its international student community. It made me feel warm and welcome in the UK and I eventually made some friends for life- from countries around the world. The opportunity to mingle with UoM’s international student community, created a comfortable camaraderie for me to tune into its rich culture instantly. Be it academia or networking, I can vouch for the fact that the Manchester experience is worth it!
On my advice to aspiring students
My message to aspiring students would be to delve into the Manchester experience whole-heartedly with an open mind! This journey will be transformational and self-introspective, if you allow it to be. Specially, for those who are unsure about their career goals or academic choices, this is a good opportunity to discover the wealth of opportunities UoM has to offer. Most importantly, as with any life decision, I hope you choose what makes you happy and gives you a sense of fulfilment. UoM is the place to make memories that you will always look back upon fondly.