Why did you choose to study at LSE and how did you choose which programme to study?
It was not a very difficult decision when it came to choosing the university where I wanted to pursue my postgraduate program. Being a student of Economics, I was well aware of the global reputation that LSE enjoys, specifically with regard to the university’s ranking in the field of social science. Another reason for choosing LSE was the diverse range of programmes that it offers. I wanted to pursue a postgraduate program in population and development, and no other university in UK offers it.
How did you find the student experience at LSE?
It may sound clichéd, but studying at LSE was a life changing experience both in terms of academic learning as well as personal life. It was for the first time that I was living away from home and experiencing dorm life. Thanks to the multicultural environment of London and the special help provided for international students at LSE, my settling in phase became very smooth. Within a span of few days, I got very comfortable with the new routine. London offers one of the best public transportation system, which was a great help as apart from easing the daily commute from university to dorms, one is also able to explore a lot more that the city has to offer without any transportation problems.
Please describe your career path to date:
While working on my dissertation, I got in touch with the country director of an international organization named Population council of Pakistan who gave me an offer to join their prestigious organization. Hence, still being in London I was able to secure a job back home which I believe would not have been possible, if I did not have LSE on my CV. However, due to relocation problems I was not able to continue that job for long and started serving as a research associate in the research center of the top Management University of Pakistan where I was basically working on various energy sector projects.
Tell us about your current job:
Currently, I am working in Lahore based research organization called IDEAS- Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives. My key responsibilities include conducting research and literature reviews; collecting, analyzing and assembling information from a wide variety of sources and to synthesize research material, to write policy briefs, notes, summary and abstracts as required. I believe one of the main skills required to undertake this job amongst many other includes the art of time management, a skill that I was able to acquire after spending a year in LSE and London where every time you are faced with the choice of either completing your reading list for the upcoming week or to attend a university social etc. Only efficient time management allows one to undertake maximum if not all the tasks.
Why did you choose it?
My main motivation to choose IDEAS was the high quality and the content of the research work being produced over here. While pursuing a post graduate degree in population and development at LSE, I became quite clear on one thing, i.e., human development plays a crucial role in the development and progress of any country. I am currently working on various education sector projects that provide me an opportunity to deeply analyse the operations of the relevant sector, where do the fallacies lie and what can be done to overcome them. Moreover, my current job provides me ample opportunities to gain field experience.
What advice do you have for LSE students who are looking to enter a similar profession to you?
One of the best things about LSE is the wide range of networking opportunities that it provides to its students. For pursuing a career in any sector, let alone the development sector, networking is of crucial importance. Therefore, it is really important to make utmost of the time you spend at LSE. This can be done by actively taking part in various societies, attending the public lectures, career fairs and the various social gatherings organized by your specific department and university in general. I was part of the student committee of my university residential hall. It was a great experience as apart from organizing events, you also get a chance to meet and interact with so many other people who are part of the student committees of other halls and learn from their experiences as well.