Welcome to the second edition of a rant that takes you through the inner workings of the brain of a Taught Master’s student. Here’s a quick intro into my life (wow do I feel like a diva!), I have spent over 6 years in the development sector, three years of which have been full-time. I currently pursue MSc Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at LSE and hope to remain entrenched in the sector long term.
In Part I of this series, I detail the first steps that I went through in order to find the course that suited my niche needs. It detailed how to land on courses that suit you. Here, I continue on the same trajectory by expanding on the “how” of choosing our course once you have landed on some courses you can choose from.
Disclaimer: Look at this as a list of things that could be worth trying. These are by no means sequential and so simultaneously trying a combination of them might work wonders. Also, what worked for me might make no sense in your context, so use your discretion and get creative!
3)The curriculum is your best friend
Tip 3 – Read through the course catalogue, course guides, curriculum details and projects. Getting such a comprehensive overview will help you understand the intention of the course and what exactly you can walk away with by the end of the course. This helps in understanding the connection the course might or might not have with your vision, and also helps you see if the keywords you used are actually relevant to you. Win-win!
Now that I had a list of keywords that led to courses in the sector of my choosing, the next big step was narrowing down on a set of courses that resonated with my vision for the long term. What worked wonders here is pouring over the course website. Reading through the course curriculum, projects done by students and means of assessment really changed the game.
4) Conversations were key
Tip 4 – Talk through your intentions for the course. Needless to say, it is perfectly okay to not have your 1 or 5 or 20-year plan sketched out. Keep it simple and be open to talking about this with your connections. It’s good stress relief, and you get ideas and course suggestions, and you never know – you might just stumble upon your perfect course!
When in doubt, I conversed! As a fairly “private” person, I only talk about my interests when asked (yes, I see the irony here, haha!), but what helped in this case was being forthcoming and unreserved here. Talking about my career and academic aspirations with anyone and everyone who would lend a year (yes, I overstate for dramatic effect), helped. From my childhood friend, I came to know about my course at LSE. From my dad’s colleague, I came to know about people I may reach out to and keywords I may use. From alumni, I received job recommendations and organizations I can keep an eye out for. From my uncle, I received sound advice on networking. Conversations I might never have had, became an everyday occurrence just because of openness.
5) Choosing the right intersection of disciplines
Tip 5 – Think through the intersections that works for you. As you do this, it is important to think about your objective and what combination can get you there fastest. Going through the course list here and exploring the different combinations that exist helps immensely. Even if you do not narrow down on what you must have, you will at least find what you absolutely do not want. Every little counts!
Intersectional courses that amalgamate multiple disciplines seem to be LSE’s jam – eg: Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, City Design and Social sciences, etc. With such courses that exist at the intersection of multiple sectors or domains, choosing the combination that worked for me was quite interesting. To help decode this conundrum, I explored the combinations that exist – read through the catalogues, curriculums, etc. as detailed in Tip 3 of my article. I then thought through what I wanted to gain from the course –the combination of theory vs practice that suited me. Later, I connected the outcomes of the course to what I wanted to do job-wise (or long term).