Madeleine Cretney

MSc International Development: Development Management

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

Madeleine Cretney

 I am from the Isle of Man, a small island in the middle of the Irish Sea just 200km from Manchester. Aside from its close proximity to home, I chose to study at The University of Manchester because of its position at the forefront of global development studies. I was attracted by the GDI’s famously influential research across the globe and by the opportunity to experience a research-informed approach to learning about international development under the influence of its renowned multi-disciplined body of academic staff. I was also drawn to Manchester by its reputation as an exciting, affordable city with a rich cultural heritage and by its position as a great base from which to explore the rest of the UK and Europe.

Why did you choose your particular course? 

I specifically chose to study International Development: Development Management because it presented an opportunity to learn about the methods and techniques used in both the policy-making and operational aspects of the development process. The course offered an extensive range of interesting modules to choose from, focusing on different areas of development and disciplinary perspectives, and offering training in specialist expertise. I was attracted by the combination of theory and practise, in particular the opportunity to take an overseas field visit to Uganda - designed to develop our practical qualitative research skills.

My thesis, which was supervised by Dr, Erla Thrandardottir, offers a human rights approach to exploring the national conceptualisation of the right to education in Tanzania, within the modern era of sustainable development. Guiding the analysis is a decided focus on the contextual factors - as well as interactions beyond the nation state - informing the government’s approach to inclusive education. 

Has your qualification helped you in your career? 

My GDI qualification has given me the knowledge and basic skills to help me in my current position, which primarily focuses on building evidence for inclusive social protection programming. For example, ‘Planning and Managing Development’ provided me with the skills required for adapting planning concepts to social development situations and communicating possible interventions to a variety of audiences. As such, in my job I am able to undertake feasibility studies for the implementation of large-scale cash transfer programmes and contribute to the analysis of options for the design of large-scale cash transfers in close partnership with government ministries and other development partners. Furthermore, ‘Politics and Governance of Development’ provided me with the practical skills to undertake political economy and policy analysis, which I use frequently in order to ultimately provide policy advocacy tools. Importantly, the Fieldwork module of the course developed my qualitative field research skills, preparing me for conducting interviews and focus group discussions as part of various consultative research projects in both institutional and field-based settings. 

Where then any specific modules or lecturers who particularly inspired you?

I was particularly inspired by Admos Chimhowu - my personal tutor and course organiser/lecturer for ‘Planning and Managing Development’. He provided unfaltering support to me and the entire DM pathway all year and would always be available for (and excited about!) providing academic guidance when needed. He is a fountain of knowledge and a great teacher.

What is your best memory from your time at Manchester? 

My best memories of my time studying at Manchester were with my DM classmates on our field visit to Uganda (April 2019). It was a collective experience in which we were all pushed far out of our comfort zone, helping each other learn and ultimately having fun. 

Do you have any tips or advice for current or prospective students? 

For graduating students searching for jobs – pay attention to the opportunities around you and make use of the assistance (and connections) that the GDI has to offer. (I came across the advertisement for my current job as it was circulated by a professor to me and my classmates via email). It’s daunting – looking for a job all by yourself – so ask for advice/help/suggestions on where to look or about what steps to take.