Statement of Purpose, Bertram Kwadwo DarkoWageningen University & Research CentreMaster of Science (MSc) International Development Studies I am applying to the international development studies program to prepare me for a career in economicdevelopment, focusing on economic policy management.
The program’s specialization in economics ofdevelopment is ideal to my long-term career goals. As a policy advisor, I hope to use econometricresearch evaluation and lessons learned in developing policy recommendations for governments andinstitutions. Wealth transfer and the underlying principles thereof continue to intrigue me. I have lovedfinding out why specific financial ideas work reliably in certain zones while proving disastrous whenapplied elsewhere.
In my undergraduate studies, I was enthused about policy effectiveness and I wantedto learn beyond the economic indicators and understand the political and social incentives behindimplementing sustainable fiscal and monetary policies. The international development studies program parallels with my own philosophy when I was pleased tolearn of the economics of development specialization. I look forward to expanding my niche in this fieldthrough research opportunities I plan to share my results from my personal and group projects with otherswho are interested in the implications of their research. Broadly, my research interests seek to determinethe root causes of extreme poverty and migration, rigorously evaluate programs that target these causes,explore how economic activities in sub-saharan Africa as a whole can influence migration and somesustainable economic policies. Pursuing the international development degree will afford me theopportunity to research in this grey area and generate better understanding on the efficacy of using publicpolicies.
My background in economics and geography combined with a master’s in internationaldevelopment studies will enable me deepen my understanding of microeconomic development andeconometric measuring techniques. I believe Wageningen University & Research Centre is the best place for me to be and the primary factorsdrawing me to the international development studies program includes: (1) The opportunity to specializein economics of development (2) I am especially excited about the AEP-21306, DEC-32806 andDEC-30306 specialization courses which will add layers of priceless practical knowledge to normallecture-room affair, applying econometric models and enjoying group discussions (3) The personal andnetwork connections available to me as a graduate, and the Ipso Facto student association as a studentwould be invaluable (4) I am better suited to a smaller, more intimate class environment with helpfulinstructors and I know I will find that at Wageningen University & Research Centre. (5) The opportunityto work on a thesis project in thematic areas of my interest. I look forward to making Wageningen mynew home; its mild weather and amazing historical attractions will be additional and welcomed benefits. As a research assistant at the Center for Migration Studies (CMS), I had the good fortune to work withMr.
Emmanuel Quarshie, communications officer under the supervision of Dr. Joseph Teye. This wascrucial in appreciating the steps of setting up a research investigation from its earliest stages. I employedmixed methodology in generating new knowledge related to migration and poverty by creating newdatasets and questionnaires; engaging policy makers with key research outcomes on migration andpoverty linkages. As part of my tenure, I was able to evaluate statistical measures; write test items,pilot-test questions and administrative procedures. This experience further expanded my niche tomigration and poverty in international development work. During my internship atPricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), I worked with the strategy & operations unit on many transactions complementing economic research with in depth policy interpretation.
One example was when I served asa researcher and participant for the PwC Business School: Sustainable Business Forum to engage theprivate sector on sustainability issues and enhance business resilience. I carried out research onenvironmental business challenges pertaining to Ghana. I also conducted and coordinated dialogueamongst participants ( International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN NL), The NetherlandsEmbassy, Water Resources Commission (WRC), A Rocha Ghana, Bank of Ghana (BoG) ) at the schooland shared practical activities to help boost business resilience through key environmental compliancepractices to engage the private sector. This advisory experience exposed me to the intricacies of policyadvisory work and reassured my resolve to pursue an international development degree. One of myproudest accomplishments is when I put my interests and background into action by cofoundingDevelopment Aid Foundation, an NGO that supports indigenous development Ghanaian organizationsthrough volunteerism. I had the opportunity to volunteer in an orphanage with international volunteersand it further fueled my desire to expand my horizons in development. Communicating with the orphans Ihandled threw my life into perspective – we take many things for granted which we shouldn’t.
Due to mypersonal upbringing on the margins of society, I am especially intrigued by community-based projects oneducation, economic growth and structural transformation, migration and inequality. Upon completing the program, I hope to immediately work as an economic policy analyst on poverty andmigration issues and transition into non-profit development projects. I believe that helping others is theroot of all true meaning in life, and I would want to help others in such an endeavor. I would be happy topursue development project assignments anywhere in the developing world.
I would like to be engaged inpublic policy work through cutting edge research that has clear policy implications, under my own thinktank firm when I return to Ghana. This is where I know I would have the greatest impact. I do not go intothis application halfheartedly. My correspondences with Ms. Leander van der Linden and her willingnessto speak to me about my specialization interests and fit with the program really impressed me. I have beenin contact with Ms.
Lydia Senanu who has shared in depth experiences about her time in Wageningen.This has been my passionate intention for a year now. My past experiences have well prepared me topursue the international development studies program at the University of Wageningen & ResearchCentre. In conclusion, I am confident that my academic and professional experiences have instilled me with thedepth and maturity that the international development studies department demands, and that, given theopportunity, I will be a valuable asset to the program.
I hope to be seriously considered for this program.