Shahryar Mahmoodzadeh

MSc Development Finance

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

Shahryar Mahmoodzadeh

Before coming to Manchester, I used to work for the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labour, and Social Welfare as the chief advisor to the deputy minister, where I was in charge of Monitoring and Evaluating (M&E) the public pension system in Iran. To deepen my knowledge regarding the role of the financial sector in developing countries and to improve my quantitative research skills, in 2018, I decided to study the MSc of Development Finance at the University of Manchester, one of the highest-ranking centres located in an exciting place to live and study.
Studying at this University, the home of the Nobel Prize winner, Sir Arthur Lewis, and becoming a member of the Global Development Institute (GDI) among the top 10 units for development studies in the QS subject ranking was more than enough for me to choose the University of Manchester to study development finance.

What have you been up to since graduating?  

After returning to Iran from the UK in 2019 I started working as a Chief Advisor in Strategic Planning to the CEO in the Social Insurance Fund for Farmers, Rural Residents, and Nomads (SIFRN). The SIFRN was established in 2005 to provide micro pension scheme in Iran for people working in the informal sector especially in the rural areas. Since its establishment, the SIFRN has been successful in developing its contribution-based coverage ratio for about 1.3 million families and has had a considerable role in poverty alleviation in Iran’s rural areas.
Despite the above performance, the SIFRN wasn’t able to achieve its goal in providing its social insurance services to the poorest of the poor, because of various barriers, such as low per capita income and financial illiteracy. During the time of my attendance in SIFRN, we have been able to provide the social insurance for about 400 thousands of low-income families in rural areas which has obviously had a significant impact in poverty alleviation and achieving inclusive social protection.

Has your qualification helped you in your career? 

Having a Master degree in Development Finance from The University of Manchester and the GDI has been a career booster. Earning a certificate issued by The University of Manchester has helped me to promote my personal branding. Besides, critical thinking, theoretical knowledge, and practical skills achieved at GDI have made me a potentially good investment for employers in the field of development.

Were there any specific modules or lecturers who particularly inspired you?

Being in touch with professional academicians with high reputations is among the main advantages of studying at the University of Manchester for anyone having the opportunity. It would certainly be impossible to name only one of these prominent professors since any one of these elites has had a crucial role in deepening my knowledge regarding various aspects of development finance. Under their valuable guidance, I became familiar with Microfinance Institute and its role in poverty alleviation provided by Dr Yin-Fang Zhang, Learned Contemporary issues in development finance presented by Dr Lawrence Ado-Kofie, Clearly understood the international finance, and its impact on the economic development provided by Dr Ralitza Dimova, Acquired quantitative research skills for economic development taught by Dr Antonio Savoia, and developed my insight concerning the political background of development policies explained by Dr Pritish Behuria.

What is your best memory from your time at Manchester? 

Providing access to a vast source of academic references and suitable facilities is of considerable influence for students especially for the newcomers. Besides, being strongly student-oriented provides a supportive feeling to international students.
I felt well received when I was picked up at the airport, and supported throughout my period of studies as a result of the outstanding organization to provide a hand for the new students.

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

The short span of time provided to foreign students to study at the University of Manchester is extremely valuable. In addition to the main consideration which is obviously the curricular program designed by the university, foreign students ought to take advantage of all the chances provided to them. Especially the opportunity to meet the key players who are invited over for lectures and seminars. Since they can provide information other than what is assigned by the academic board. The opportunity to meet these people in person cannot be obtained unless one studies at this university. Besides, students of the same nationality should not confine their relations to their own country. Relating to students from different part of the world is very often fruitful.