It is graduation season at LKYSPP, which means it is time for our students to bid goodbye, and move on to a new path in life. It is a celebration of edurance, collaboration, support, grit, faith and a strong commitment to one’s tomorrow. This year is a special one at LKYSPP as it marks the graduation of the first batch of the Master in International Affairs (MIA) programme.
MIA is LKYSPP’s programme that furthers the School’s mission of educating current and future world leaders. The course provides a strong theoretical and practical foundation in the multi-disciplinary subfields of international relations. A key feature of the MIA programme is its focus on Asia as a key influencer in contemporary world affairs, which allows students to ask questions and offer explanations to challenging international problems from a unique Asian vantage point.
To know more about the programme and overall experience, here are some thoughts from recent MIA graduate, Gian Sandosh Semadeni, who currently works with the World Bank as a Disaster Risk Finance Analyst:
- What was the favorite part of your school experience?
I especially enjoyed the intimate classroom setting and the “small campus life.” It was a privilege to be able to discuss topics with the Professors in a class of only 15-25 students. I believe that such a class structure is much more conducive for open debates. I loved the access the Bukit Timah Campus provided to the Botanic Gardens and the MOE Sports facilities. College Green also contributed to this “small campus” feeling, allowing for a rather delightful student life experience with extended hang-outs on our porch surrounded by greenery, people, chickens, cats, lizards and ants.
- How has the MIA programme helped in moulding your career path?
The School has given me direct access to public and multilateral institutions, enabling me to expand my choices beyond just the private sector. In fact, a guest speaker at Professor Vinod Thomas’ Natural Disasters and Climate Change module provided me with an inroad into the World Bank, allowing me to shift my career towards my core area of interest, Disaster Risk Finance.
Gian at MIA Launch in May 2017
- What topics or assignments did you find particularly intriguing?
I profited the most from writing term papers. Having spent time researching and drafting lengthy papers at the end of the semester allowed me to really absorb theoretical concepts and practical insights from the module. However, I think it is imperative that students have some degree of choice in selecting the topics of their term papers. Luckily, Professors at LKYSPP gave us ample space to develop our own ideas or provided us with an intriguing range of topics.
- What is the biggest challenge that you have overcome during your time at LKY?
Coming from a finance background, initially, I struggled to fully comprehend the more complex academic papers, especially in the political science modules. However, in retrospect, understanding the basic concepts of hierarchy, power and security has been instrumental in providing me with a holistic understanding of global politics.
- What advice do you have for the current students and the incoming batch?
Pick one or two main topics you are interested in and use your time at LKYSPP to deep-dive into them. Direct your term paper topics and electives in that direction, making use of the School’s vast resources, reputation and access to organisations.