We spoke to Shan Aman-Rana, winner of the LSE Class Teacher Award in 2015-2016 and who was also nominated by her students as LSE’s most inspirational teacher. Shan is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics. Read on to find out her answers to our five questions…
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What brought you to the London School of Economics? Any extra curricular activities?
I am a civil servant from Pakistan. I was born in Lahore. Curiosity about the social and economic phenomena surrounding me sparked my interest in research. I am currently on leave from my job in Pakistan to pursue a PhD in Economics at the LSE (2013 to date). I am a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics. I was responsible for assisting Professor Padró i Miquel and Dr Ilzetski in their teaching of the first year core course EC440 Micro and Macro Economics for Public Policy. I also work with the Executive MPA programme.
My current extra-curricular activities involve fretting over research and data, `drawing room’ debates and activism. I am the organiser of the Feminist Society in Goodenough College, London and I plan to create one in Pakistan, if and when I live there next.
Can you tell us a bit more about your research?
I am fascinated by information economics and the personnel economics of the state. In general, I am interested in looking at the unintended consequences of policies and the externalities they generate.
My current research focuses on:
- The effects of work place networks on the career progression and effort of civil servants. This study is based on civil servants in Punjab, Pakistan.
- Additionally, I am interested in evaluating the direct and spill over effects of gender quotas in (civil services) on the performance of civil servants.
- I would also like to evaluate the effects of institutionalised non-competitive recruitment in bureaucracies, and whether it affects the competitively selected in terms of effort on the job.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in Public Policy/Public Administration?
Here it goes…Don’t worry about your ‘career’. Stay focused on your own passion in life. Invest time in discovering yourself. Find the thing that makes you happy. Then have the courage to go down that path. Be extremely ambitious in excelling in your passion. Your career will be a happy by-product of that process: a means to an end. After that – consider yourself lucky! We have the LSE careers services, brilliant academics and administration staff – reach out to them and figure out the practicalities.
Why do you enjoy teaching MPA students?
MPA students are the best! They are passionate and curious. They can challenge you like no one else! I enjoy being a part of the students’ journey to discover the world of Economics. I love being part of their ‘eureka moments’. How often does a job offer that?!
Secondly, sometimes empirical research can be myopic. You lose sight of the bigger picture and spend hours worrying about a variable and its properties. Teaching helps me gain perspective and re-discover my love for Economics (slightly melodramatic – but very true!).