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Nima Bahramalian

Nima recounts experiences of studying MSc Urban Economic Development at the Development Planning Unit

I am a development professional from Iran. I was working as a Mechanical Engineer in a manufacturing firm for two years when I decided to do an MA in International Business in the University of Greenwich.

During my masters, I developed a profound interest in the sustainable development and particularly role of private sector in the process, and understanding impact of different business practices on wider social and natural environment and vice versa. I decided to pursue this field of study and profession further.

I found no better way to learn about this field of work than studying MSc Urban Economic Development at UCL’s DPU. My expectations did not betray me. I found myself in a multicultural environment where almost every student was from a different country and background, with professors that not only were experts in their fields but also had a critical view towards development and could transfer their knowledge.

No matter the intensity of the master and the hard work it required, the perfect balance between theory and practice made every moment of the year enjoyable and enriching. Particularly rewarding was the multidisciplinary character of DPU and the emphasis on team work and cross-discipline team building for field work, which all together created a perfect microcosm of the real development world. In fact when graduated, I realized that I had acquired much more than I had enrolled for; skills and expertise that have helped me greatly in my career so far.

After my year in UCL, I reconfirmed that working in development is the path I wanted to follow. I started working for Fairtrade Foundation UK to move a year later to Guyana where I worked for the Canadian Institute of Planners, seconded to the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs. During this post I worked as community economic development planner and assisted indigenous communities with designing and implementing rural development projects.

Since 2012, I’ve been working at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, a UN specialized agency that promotes inclusive and sustainable industrial development. At UNIDO, I’m involved in designing and implementing projects and programs aimed at supporting development of industrial clusters. Such initiatives typically involve enterprise upgrading and fostering cooperation between them, strengthening institutional support for the industry and promoting a conducive policy environment that encourages enterprises to grow and along with it, create socially responsible employment and income generating opportunities.

My career change proved to be challenging but very rewarding. And I credit DPU and UED course greatly for it because they helped me understand that working in development is not just a professional choice but rather a way of critically viewing the world and its complex problems. I would highly recommend MSc UED to anyone who is not interested in simple answers in this field.

August 2015