The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Yuka Akahori

After 8 years working with Mizuho Bank on cross-border private sector power projects in Asia, Middle East and the Americas, I decided to enrol on the UED course with my strong interest in infrastructure development through private sector engagement. The course offered exactly what I was looking for in a master’s program: (i) To establish my expertise in infrastructure development through private sector engagement by writing a dissertation under an expert in that field, (ii) To have field work experience in Africa which I did not have a chance to visit, and (iii) To learn how private sector should be effectively assisted by international organizations such as MDBs.

The course focuses on economic development in urban and peri-urban context in developing countries. The lectures, case studies, and group consulting projects in London and in Kumasi, Ghana, helped me develop research skills, economic and policy analysis skills, and practical project management skills which would be useful in the field of international development. The course also helped me gain appraisal and evaluation skills of infrastructure projects through lectures by former World Bank and EBRD economists.

Students came from a variety of sectors and industries (commercial bank, government, consultancy, MDB, law) and some straight from undergraduate study; and from nationalities ranging from Nigeria, Colombia, France, Canada, US, Japan, China to Poland. Because of this multidisciplinary and multicultural setting, I always learned a lot from class discussions. Along with my studies on UED, I led the Intercollegiate Development Discussion Panel (IDDP), which invites practitioners in international development from JICA, the World Bank, UNCHR/IOM, and UNDP to share their experiences. The combination of coursework and extracurricular activities enriched my campus life at UCL and prepared me to work in international development.

During the UED course, I secured an internship at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and worked there after submitting my dissertation. During the internship, I was involved in two renewable energy projects in Thailand as a deal team member. The knowledge and research skills honed at UED and my expertise gained at Mizuho helped me contribute to the deal team in project implementation. Now I will start my new career at the financial advisory arm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu in Tokyo (Deloitte Tohmatsu Financial Advisory LLC), where I will be working on financial advisory of infrastructure projects in developing countries through Public-private Partnership (PPP) with Japanese businesses and government agencies. I will continue pursuing my career in the area of private sector involvement in infrastructure development in developing countries where I have passion for.

I am satisfied with an exciting experience at UED and I recommend the course to those who have passion in international development and work in that field in the future.