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Michelle Chingono

January 17th, 2020

How I found out about my dream career whilst studying at LSE

0 comments | 6 shares

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Michelle Chingono

January 17th, 2020

How I found out about my dream career whilst studying at LSE

0 comments | 6 shares

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

As you progress into your studies, you might start to wonder how to discover or begin to secure your “dream” career. Michelle Chingono, MSc student in Economics & Management at LSE shares her journey to finding her dream career.

Passion led us here

It can be hard to untangle what your “dream” career is.

The pressure can feel intense if most of your cohort, friends and even your housemates studying different programmes have a robust career plan, with interviews and assessment centres lined up before the end of term.

But the truth is, you’re a student with a lot of learning and exploring to do – and it’s ok to not know what your ideal or dream career is so early in the process.

While there is no one formula to determine how to find the dream career, there are ways to help you get closer to it.

This blog post walks you through some steps I took whilst studying at LSE that can help you get on the right path to discovering your ideal career.

 

Accept that your priorities and ideals continually evolve

Before coming to LSE, I didn’t think my priorities and ideals would ever change. I had a fixed career plan, which I had been pursuing throughout my undergrad in BSc Economics.

I spent years restructuring and polishing it to finer details. My plan was to become a Macro-Economist and join the global community of women in leadership, contributing to thought-leading policy and strategic recommendations for communities, governments and businesses.

It was my dream career path inspired by the work of prominent leaders like Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (Executive Director of UN Women), Elizabeth Nyamayaro (Global Head at HeForShe Movement and Senior Advisor to Phumzile), Marjorie Ngwenya (Consultant and Independent Director), Dambisa Moyo, Janet Henry and Linda Yueh (Global Economists).

However, the truth as I later found out, is that most of us as students are simply going through a phase of learning and exploring until we find something that “clicks” as a close fit to our ideal career. Even then, our idea of a “dream” job can change.

Before coming to LSE, I didn’t think my priorities and ideals would ever change. I had a fixed career plan, which I had been pursuing throughout my undergrad in BSc Economics.

Get relevant work experience – volunteering or paid

Surprisingly, my experience as a Government Economist – where I worked on the delivery of UK labour market economic policies built on both macroeconomic and microeconomic principles – resulted in a change to my career plans.

I developed a new and growing interest in the field of applied microeconomics and the industrial organisation – which focuses on the study of markets and segments of the economy. Exploring issues like the effects of price changes, consumer behaviour, individual markets and the theory of firms.

This new-found interest created room for me to further explore a postgraduate degree, which offered opportunities to tailor the course to both my academic and career interests in this field.

The MSc Economics and Management programme as a specialist multidisciplinary degree, delivered jointly by the Department of Management and Economics, met my interests and equipped me with exceptional and transferable analytical training in the field.

 

I didn’t anticipate how much this programme would simultaneously;

(a) advance my knowledge of business management strategies for firms and markets in the global contexts in which they operate

(b) offer access to opportunities in industries and roles covering my field of interest – which I didn’t know much about and can now qualify for in advantageous roles as an associate with wider project management and leadership responsibilities

 

Do research on the type of jobs you can apply for with your degree

My favourite discovery of opportunities aligned with my interests include prospects to specialise in the exciting and growing field of competition in economics, law and policy-making as an Economist at national agencies and non-ministerial departments who work to promote competition for the benefit of consumers, markets and the economy.

I’m now interested in organisations and roles such as:

1. The UK Competition and Markets Authority who work in diverse market sectors on in-depth investigations and action on business investments, mergers, trading and anti-competitive practices like:

  • Amazon’s Deliveroo investment
  • price caps on West Coast Rail lines
  • guidelines for social media “influencers” and brands

2. The Financial Conduct Authority’s Regulatory Sandbox who allow businesses to test innovative propositions in the UK financial services market with real consumers.

3. Data Scientist roles in growing and innovative industries at firms like Deliveroo where experimental or observational data is used for business decision-making. Answering questions like:

  • Which markets/cities should we enter next?
  • How a new competitor’s entry into one of our markets affect our growth ambitions?
  • Can the Delivery food market sustain multiple players?

It’s great to understand and experience how roles in my field of interest and other fields like investment management entail areas of work that are directly linked to what I’ve been learning in my programme.

And it’s even better to apply what I have learned to tackle complex business decisions, deal with unknown changes in today’s rapidly evolving world and champion new ideas to drive innovation in firms and markets as a well-rounded economist and a trained manager.

It’s great to understand and experience how roles in my field of interest and other fields like investment management… are directly linked to what I’ve been learning in my programme.

Network with Experts in the field 

As most LSE students would agree, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to applying and expanding the knowledge and skills from our programmes and seeing how they fit in the real world.

Our academic space fosters innovative and critical thinking that is indispensable in a highly dynamic and competitive market environment – whether it’s private banking, politics, or advisory services.

LSE public events are held throughout the academic year and include key global debates shaping the world. We can hear and learn from, and engage with global leaders, industry experts and speakers like Sadiq Khan, Esther Duflo, Robert Shiller, Afua Hirsch, Poul Thomsen, and Linda Yueh – and our programme directors or professors, are my favourite.

Other events include LSE Career events, from networking coffee mornings to interactive case studies and workshops hosted by representative industry experts from global firms, who are often LSE Alumni.

All the above have played a strong role in directing me towards the right path for my ideal “dream” career during my studies with a much better and defined understanding of the organisations and industries I can and would like to work in, and how to get into the field. Networking has allowed me to encounter:

  • What kind of challenges I could anticipate along the way?
  • How the industry has evolved since they entered it from industry executives, Vice Presidents and Managing Directors from the world’s largest investment banks.
  • My programme director John Sutton, a highly eminent economist with extensive industry expertise.

 

…we are spoiled for choice when it comes to applying and expanding the knowledge and skills from our programmes and seeing how they fit in the real world

 


Learn more about our MSc Economics and Management programme

 

About the author

Michelle Chingono

MSc student Economics and Management 2019 - 20

Posted In: Choosing LSE | The Student Lens | Uncategorized

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