Baljeet Kaur studied on the IRDR's Risk and Disaster Reduction MRes programme and graduated in 2022. While a student with us, she won the IRDR Master's scholarship based on her academic excellence and served as the lead departmental rstudent epresentative.
Baljeet is currently working as a Business Continuity Analyst for Arm in Cambridge and you can connect with her on LinkedIn.
Hi everyone my name is Baljeet and I'm a graduate of 2022. I did my masters of research in risk and disaster reduction from UCL and I'm here to give you a little bit of an overview of what my journey looked like at irdr and what am I doing currently as well. So just a bit going back to why I joined UCL or why I looked or I chose IRDR. I did my Masters in India as well so I did my first Masters in India in disaster management and I worked on ground for 2 years before opting for another Masters and the reason for that was I was always intrigued by the global debates and resilience and I always thought that there was so much more out there that I could learn and I am somebody who loves to explore and understand the different contexts that exists within the field that I'm working in so I thought that this was a good opportunity for me to also pursue a masters abroad and that's when I started my research onto the different universities that were offering courses on risk and disaster sciences and resilience and I came across a lot of our professors and their work during my research as well so I think I did talk to Ilan Kelman who's one of our professors at IRDR before joining and just understanding what the university looks like what the programs are like and I think that's that's one really really good thing about UCL that all the professors are very approachable you can talk to them before joining and they'll help you make a decision as well they'll help you out in terms of what the different courses look like, what they are specifically teaching. I think I was somebody who was very interested in research so I did look up a lot of research that was being done by these professors. I came across David Alexander's work who I was also fortunate enough to be to work under his supervision for my Master's dissertation and I think that really helped so doing my research really helped me choose the program and I think most definitely the professors really and their work really attracted me to join UCL. Coming back to what I did at the program as well so I think as a masters of research student you get to focus a lot of your time on your research project so you get to devote two-thirds of your time to your research, working independently with your supervisor and a lot more weight is given to your research project. So if you are somebody who's interested in working independently exploring an area in depth and just are looking for some for a precursor to a PhD I think an MS program is great. It helps you understand whether you are built for research if you want to do research further as well. I think I will pursue a PhD at some point in my life because it it does intrigue me and it does interest me a lot. And again so how an MRes differs from the other Masters programs at IRDR is that that you get one optional module while the other cohort get two or three optional modules preferences but that's because they are spending less focus and less time on their research project so you get to do a lot more of independent work but one of my optional modules that I chose was business continuity because I was extremely interested in the field and I wanted to understand what resilience looked like and what were the debates that were going on in business continuity and organisational resilience and I really really enjoyed my time studying that course and that's why I think I opted for a career in the in the field as well. So currently I'm working as a business continuity analyst in the UK as well so I think as an MRes student you get one option module I think, choose your optional module really well. I think my choice was also made on the fact that I had not studied business continuity in my previous Masters and that really made me feel that there is something new that I could learn and that's why I chose that particular module as well. So I think that really helps you make a decision as to what you want to do. So life at IRDR can be very very interesting and exciting if you're coming from a different country all together because you get to meet a lot of people coming from different countries, have different cultures there's a lot of diversity at UCL as well. In general you get to be a part of a lot of societies at UCL. I was also the lead student representative and I got to also work with the students and with the faculty to bridge the gap and just make sure that the demand, the needs of the students are met and just make sure that that communication was happening on both the ends so you get a lot of opportunities and I think if you are somebody who is interested in working and learning about you know different contexts within resilience and just learning a lot of different course different modules because I think it's not one it's not myopic the IRDR courses, they're very diverse you get to learn about risk about integrating science into disaster risk reduction so there's a lot of understanding of the insurance industry, catastrophy risk modeling, then you can also study business continuity like I did, you have the opportunity to learn about Emergency Management and I think lots of my friends have gone into the different fields as well. So I think definitely read about the different courses that you would want to do before joining and see that this and think about the optional modules that you like. You can talk to all the professors and that would really help you and definitely if you feel like reaching out to me you can reach out to me as well but hope you have a great time at UCL and IRDR!
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