Just before the start of busy Summer Term, students of the International Development Department had the opportunity to attend DESTIN’s annual Industry Dinner, which connects students with professionals from the field of international development. DESTIN’s president, Gabriella Reimer, shares the experience with us.

Participants of the 10th annual Industry Dinner (Photo credit: Innocent Anguyo)

On April 26, 2019 International Development students, development professionals, and departmental representatives gathered at the Rembrandt hotel in Kensington for an evening of conversation, networking, and relaxation. Every year, the DESTIN Society, LSE’s student-run International Development postgraduate society, hosts a dinner that brings students and professionals together. Students have the opportunity to learn about various careers in the development field, and speak with consultants, economists, policymakers, and researchers, among others.

Seeing as this year marked the 10th annual DESTIN Industry Dinner, the theme of the evening was to think about what the next 10-11 years will bring for current and future practitioners in the development field. In 2030, the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will be drawing to a close, marking the end of an era. Over the next 10 years both the students and professionals at the evening’s dinner will play critical roles in working towards the completion of these goals and shaping the future of development practice. Attendees were encouraged to reflect on the current Sustainable Development Goals and discuss the future of development practice throughout the evening.

Photo credit: Innocent Anguyo

Guests were greeted at 7:00 PM by the society’s committee and hotel staff, before being directed to their tables. DESTIN President, Gabriella Reimer, opened the evening with a brief welcome speech before handing the microphone over to Alfonso Vega Costa, an alumnus of LSE’s Development Management program and current associated director at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Mr Vega Costa offered some words of wisdom to students who will shortly be embarking on their careers and encouraged attendees to remain receptive to new opportunities. After a delicious three-course meal, Dr Ken Shadlen, International Development Department head, thanked attendees and offered students well wishes before heading into the exam period.

Photo credit: Innocent Anguyo

In between speeches, students were able to network and chat with professionals from a range of institutions and organizations including, Oxford Policy Management, CARE UK, Chatham House, Disasters Emergency Committee, and the Center for Global Development in Europe, among many others. After the dinner, Akram Al Mahaini, an MSc student in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, remarked, “I was very happily surprised to meet someone from a sub-client NGO that has read our DV453 consultancy report. I got the chance to discuss that and got an unofficial invitation to present the findings. Furthermore, I met a wonderful professional who gave me a lot of professional and life tips.”

Photo credit: Innocent Anguyo

The DESTIN Committee would like to thank Alfonso Vega Costa and Ken Shadlen for speaking as well as all of the industry guests who attended. They are also grateful to the International Development Department and LSE Student Union Annual and Postgraduate Funds, whose generous contributions made the evening possible. It was a successful evening of dialogue and networking, as well as a gathering of people who are passionate about development. Blandine West, MSc student in Health and Development said, “The DESTIN dinner was a fantastic opportunity to speak with several professionals in the development and humanitarian industry. I gained valuable career advice and really appreciated the opportunity to network with such accomplished individuals!”

Gabriella Reimer is the president of DESTIN Society and is pursuing an MSc in Development Studies, with a special interest in Political Economy. She studied Political Science, Global Studies, and Spanish at Providence College, although she also spent a year as a General Course student at LSE previously. She is particularly interested in the ways in which advanced countries utilize development as a tool of foreign policy.

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and in no way reflect those of the International Development LSE blog or the London School of Economics and Political Science.