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Catherine Reynolds

March 28th, 2023

PhD Journeys: Nahid Kamal, PhD Demography 2008

0 comments | 5 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Catherine Reynolds

March 28th, 2023

PhD Journeys: Nahid Kamal, PhD Demography 2008

0 comments | 5 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

In our ‘PhD Journeys’ series, we focus on the experiences of LSE alumni after their PhD – this blog explores the career trajectory of Dr Nahid Kamal

 

Nahid is a research and evaluation specialist in gender, health and education in South Asia, and Director of PopDev Consultancy.

Nahid completed her PhD in Demography at LSE in 2008. A demographer by training, Nahid has over 15 years of professional experience in research and evaluation in all areas of International Development, namely gender and health. Since leaving LSE in 2009, she has worked for the Global Fund (GFATM) in Geneva, Marie Stopes International in London and USAID in Dhaka. In 2017, Nahid set up her own consultancy alongside LSE colleagues. Her completed portfolio includes several multi-country evaluations in gender, WASH, and education, with the lattermost being the multi-sector nutrition programme commissioned by UNICEF in Nepal.

 

Hone your skills

Applying skills learnt in her PhD enables Nahid to win contracts with large international agencies, and she continues to learn new topics as a full-time researcher. This combination of working and learning offers her a sense of satisfaction. It was 10 years after she wrote her PhD thesis that she was eventually contacted about it, so remember to play the long game!

Adapting to the topics and needs of each project and funder, learning quickly, and delivering the high-quality work demanded are all skills that keep Nahid employed now – all carefully honed during her time at LSE. There is a thin line dividing academic work from practitioner research in some contexts outside academia, and this is very much true for Nahid who is seen as an expert by her clients who often regard her reports and evaluations as academic work.

 

Try new things

Restlessness is a running theme throughout Nahid’s career, and she took many steps to get to the position she’s in now. As an international student, her job search in London was not easy and Nahid took her first job after her PhD in Geneva. It was through friends and networks made at LSE that more opportunities became available and Nahid is now in the position of winning contracts and hiring people to work with her on the large research projects. Geographically, Nahid continued to be mobile, moving to where the work needed her to be, until more recently when she became more settled in Spain and can work mainly from there, managing her own workload and designing her own career.

 

Build your network

Nahid reminds us about the value of relationships. Friends and networks she made during her PhD enriched her personal life, personal relationships are often connected with the professional aspects of our lives and help to create meaning. Nahid’s friends helped her to be patient while her career developed slowly in those first few years. They also helped build her confidence in what she had to offer in terms of skills, topics, regions, expertise and, most importantly, intellectual curiosity.

 

Understand the field

In any professional industry, it helps to know the lie of the land. Learning how to find the websites and platforms to source bid opportunities is essential in Nahid’s field and this knowledge grows with experience. Some sites are free while others require a subscription fee. In the same way, your reputation grows as work you deliver is valued which determines your retention rate of past clients for future projects. Much like an entrepreneur, Nahid’s portfolio has grown substantially, and she has reached the stage of writing very large bids that require a team to develop them. Not forgetting her roots, she hires new staff through LSE Careers.

 

Over to you

What relationships are you forging that will support your future career development. How are you learning new skills and making the most of LSE’s training opportunities? You never know when you might want to apply them in the future.

LSE Careers is here to help…

 

For additional careers support, you can:

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About the author

Catherine Reynolds

Posted In: Alumni | Careers Advice | Graduate profile | LSE Careers | PhD | Postgraduate study

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