Ines Afonso Ferreira

MSc Political Economy of Late Development, 2013
PhD in International Development, University of East Anglia (UEA)

Why did you choose LSE, and why did you choose your programme of study?

I chose LSE because it offered a strong set of modules in International Development, the area of studies I was mostly interested in, and also due to the School's global reputation. Given that the MSc in Political Economy of Late Development is based in both the Department of Economic History and the Department of International Development, it allowed me to combine an in-depth analysis of current topics in International Development with an historical perspective over the growth trajectory of late developing economies.

Overall, how do you look back on your LSE experience?

My degree at LSE enabled me to deepen and broaden my knowledge of diverse topics, but also to develop my critical thinking. Additionally, it allowed me to clarify my research interests and to acquire some of the tools required for the doctoral studies I am pursuing at the moment. Finally, studying at LSE was an opportunity to meet people from different countries and to experience life in London in a friendly and supportive environment.

Where are you currently studying?

After studying at LSE, I applied for a doctoral degree in International Development, which I am pursuing at the moment at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Why have you decided to continue research?

I have always enjoyed the process of formulating research puzzles and pursuing the answers for the underlying questions. This combined with my interest in topics related to Economic Development led to my choice of applying for further research studies.

What does your current role involve?

I am now a postgraduate researcher at the University of East Anglia, in Norwich, and my project looks at the effectiveness of development assistance in fragile states. I spend most of my time working on my thesis, but I have also been an associate tutor for some of the modules taught in the Department of International Development.

Additionally, I also participate in conferences and research seminars, which are very important to learn more about the work of other academics and the experience of people working in the field of international development, and also to get feedback on my own research.

What advice do you have for LSE students who are looking to enter a similar profession to you?

Being a researcher gives you the opportunity to develop your own project and to delve deeply into a topic you are interested in. This is an excellent experience, but can also be a lonely path if you isolate yourself. Definitely make the most of the networks you have built in the past, and also use your personal skills to make new friends and to engage with the work of others.

You will learn how to critically look at your peers' work and how to appreciate their feedback on your own research, but it will also give you the chance to share your thoughts on the 'ups and downs' of the research process. I found that feeling part of a community and making the most of it has been an essential part of my development as a researcher.