I graduated in 2010 from an MSc in Decision Sciences. I like to describe myself as an engineer with an anthropologist heart. This means that I take the very best in analytical tools and problem solving practices, combine them with a strong dose of common sense and a passion for real human interaction, and apply it all to turn a tangled mess of facts and figures, people and uncertainties, into clear actionable plans and projects.

A collection of transformative conversations

LSE made my world small and more connected. The university gives you a unique opportunity to learn and grow among an incredible international community, putting together great teachers and students from all over the world. I am sure many will miss as much as I do the endless beers and ciders drank at the George. It was the perfect time and space for having transformative conversations, the ones that direct us inward towards the essence of LSE’s master’s experience. I once found a seamless description for those moments: “a shared contemplative experience made special by its spontaneity in compelling company, bewitching conversation and a fabulous location, all harmoniously woven together to create a sense of peace and connectivity.”

I also remember, with a mix of gratefulness and nostalgia, the emotions of the learning journey. The frustration at my first class when I couldn’t follow the professor’s ‘Applied Stochastic models’ presentation; the delight of discovering new ideas and theories; the sense of achievement after mastering a difficult concept and the pride after finishing reading a difficult paper and understanding it wholly.

Through school I also found love. I am married today to a man who was at the Colombian Society Party. We didn’t meet that day but an LSE common friend was the key connector.

New Academic Building delights

Amongst the qualities of the New Academic Building, one important thing for me was the closeness to Lord Stern’s office. When I was completing my application, I was working on climate change issues in my home town so I chose to study at the LSE partly because of him. Having the opportunity to knock on Lord Stern’s door and tell him my story ranks at the top of my ‘best LSE memories’ list.

My programme – MSc in Decision Sciences

My friends and flatmates who were studying at other departments used to ask me what my course was about because they had never heard of it.  It took me ten weeks out of the twelve to fully understand it myself. I learned about how to help decision makers think more clearly, learned methods to handle and solve complex issues in organisations, and learned how to achieve committed alignment of key decision players.

The course equipped me with a set of thinking tools needed to analyse important decisions that I still use today. These tools include: the courage to examine different sides of the problem; the structure to design innovative social processes; and – most importantly coming from an engineering background – these thinking tools also included the awareness and honest curiosity about human behaviour in decision making.

Since I graduated I have been finding useful applications of the concepts and methods I learned on my course. I helped the UK Ministry of Defence to define their Training Rationalisation Strategy, I supported Shell UK with the design and delivery of their decommission stakeholder engagement process, and also found applications on how to foster Ethics in Corporate Finance practices.

I hope to find more applications of Decision Analysis methods in the field I am passionate about today: how to improve Solid Waste Management systems in cities and rural areas in Latin America.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carmen Carmona graduated from the LSE with a MSc Decision Sciences in 2010. Originally from Mexico, Carmen works as an independent consultant offering a full range of decision support services to waste management companies. Her focus is mostly on improving organisation’s dynamics, instigating new behaviours and activities. In her free time, she enjoys running and cooking. Furthermore, she is currently working on a e-learning project for kids about circular economy.