UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Alumni Spotlight: Nyma Haqqani

Meet Nyma Haqqani, Global Prosperity graduate (2021-22). Nyma has a background in computer engineering and an MBA with a specialization in marketing.

Nyma Haqqani standing in a park

What is your background and why did you choose to study the Prosperity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship MSc at the Institute for Global Prosperity?

I believe that a varied background makes for a more well-rounded person. Human beings are complex creatures and it never made sense to me to commit myself to one discipline or sector, when I could learn about all the things I was interested in! I have a computer engineering background, an MBA with a specialization in marketing and was working in analytics at a global pharmaceutical company before I decided to go back to university. It was a combination of reasons that led me to study Global Prosperity at IGP. The lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic was not only a deeply introspective time for me, as it was for many other people, but it also coincided with firsthand experience of an extreme weather event, due to the climate crisis, that had me questioning what I wanted to do in life. Suddenly, working at a job that ultimately was just contributing to a pursuit in profits and insatiable growth for a corporation, didn’t seem like the most meaningful work I could be doing. I realized how truly urgent it was that we, as a global society, transition to a better way – one that was economically, environmentally, socially and ethically sound. To join the movement of people trying to do that I chose the IGP’s MSc Global Prosperity.  

What did you enjoy the most about studying with the IGP?

I loved having my understanding of the world challenged and my exposure broadened! My studies at IGP have fundamentally changed the way that I view the world now. It was a really enriching experience to hear different viewpoints from my very diverse cohort in our seminars. I loved connecting with and becoming part of a very multi-cultural group of friends.  

Which topics, extracurriculars, or electives did you find most interesting and why?

While I enjoyed all my modules and learned something valuable in each one, I think one of my favourites was Pathways to Prosperity 1. This course took us through historical global legacies to understand how the current global culture and its challenges developed. The way the seminars were set up really facilitated sharing and speaking up and it was a key module in which I developed confidence to voice my opinion. 

There were also so many extracurriculars that I enjoyed during my year. I took part in Youth COP leading up to COP 26 in Glasgow and found that to be an incredibly enlightening event to be involved in, as I gained insight into what goes on at the negotiations. I was also a Green Impact Environmental Auditor and conducted audits at different UCL departments which was a wonderful experience because I had the opportunity to get IEMA-approved training first and then practice those skills by ‘doing’ immediately. And I was also part of the Tennis Society, which was a great way to de-stress! 

Can you tell us about your experience around the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme and how it has helped you? 

The Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme is a fantastic opportunity helping people from Commonwealth countries study in the UK. I am grateful and honoured that I was chosen for this scholarship by the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development office, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC), and UCL. The process was smooth and supportive from both the CSC and UCL. The scholarship provided me peace of mind knowing that my fees and living expenses were taken care of and allowed me to really focus on my studies and give my utmost. The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission also arranged several events to network and interact with other scholars across the UK, for example, I was selected to go on a 3-day residential workshop in Windsor where we learned how we could maximize our impact.  

Being a Commonwealth Shared Scholar makes you part of another global network of brilliant people looking to change the world, and I am honoured to be a part of that.  

What does prosperity mean to you?

As we learned at the IGP, prosperity is a broad and subjective, often highly localized concept. But to me, prosperity means having safety, good health, happiness, community, and a sense of fulfilment. It means being in a healthy environment with access to nature, as well as having opportunities to improve your life and circumstances. 

Can you tell us about your experience outside study, such as living in London or travelling in the UK, and how it has shaped or inspired you?

I absolutely loved living in London. It’s an amazing city, full of life, diversity, opportunities, history and culture. I also loved how much urban greenspace there is everywhere! I learned so much just in terms of life skills and gained a lot of confidence by living on my own for the first time. It was initially a huge shock to the system, coming out of a year and half of isolated working-from-home during the Covid-19 pandemic, straight to the bustling crowds of London! But once that shock wore off and I stopped getting lost underground, I couldn’t get enough of exploring the city!  

I also took trips to a lot of beautiful and scenic places like Dover and The Cotswolds. These trips are definitely at the top of the list of my most memorable times of the year.  

What have you been doing since graduating and how did your MSc help you progress in your career?

Well I am trying to make a full career switch from what I was doing in analytics in supply chain. Where that switch takes me precisely is something I’m still taking the time to explore. One of the effects of studying at the IGP is that I am now concerned with ‘bigger picture’ problems. That’s what I want to tackle and so I’m taking the time to be selective in what I choose to devote my time, energy and efforts to. Prosperity to me also means being able to do work that I find meaningful, intellectually stimulating and aligning with my values as a person. Looking for a job that allows me to change the status quo of existing inequalities, environmental degradation and social unsustainability is a process I am willing to be patient with. In the meantime, I’m taking a course on Social Impact Analysis as this is something I am interested in and want to develop more practical skills in - so I’m taking the opportunity to do that right now. I’m also working with the community organization that I partnered with for my dissertation research and we’re working on taking the output of my research forward in a project to create social change and impact in community groups across the UK.   

What advice would you give to new IGP students and to those thinking of applying?

I would say if you’re looking for a course that teaches you to think critically and challenges the way you look at the world, you’re in the right place! The IGP is a place for forward-looking, revolutionary thinkers that want to steer the world to a better future.  

I would say that the Global Prosperity course lends itself very flexibly to many different employment opportunities, so it’s really up to you where you want to take your career after graduating! 

What was the topic of your dissertation and could you share your journey around it?

My dissertation was titled “Ethnic Minority Inclusion and Participation in Urban Greenspace: Good Practices of UK Friends Groups”. I signed up with UCL’s Community Research Initiative for students and partnered with The National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces (NFPGS) to explore the self-reported success of initiatives that have improved Ethnic Minority participation in some Friends Groups and their greenspaces, and to formulate good practice recommendations for Friends Groups across the UK network. I did this using qualitative mixed methods.  My research will be featured as an IGP working paper this summer and will be out on the Life of PIE spotify podcast soon!