14 Jan 2015

Some notes from students

I get lots of unexpected emails, but the best are from students.

This one is in response to my UC Berkeley and/or Simon Fraser University lectures
Dear sir,

Hope you are fine. I got an A on my resource economics course thanks to you. Though I have always liked economics after watching your lectures I really got motivated and determined to pursue my carrier in resource economics. Since there is no scope for further study in Bangladesh, I am planning to study in US. My background is urban and regional planning. I am little bit worried since I am not a major in economics. Can you please tell me if there is any scope considering my background.
Given his worries, I sent this reply:
I am glad the lectures were helpful. US universities will take non Econ for BA BS. For masters it may be harder. You need good test scores and writing.

Your best bet may be to contact Bangladeshi economists for advice and mentoring.
Please let me know (or comment) if you have additional advice...

Coming from another direction, here's an update on an earlier request for advice:
One year following the submission of my graduate school applications for water resource management, I am one semester into my graduate career. As you may remember, I eventually chose to apply to the University of Michigan, Yale University, Duke University, and Oxford. I was eventually granted acceptance to the first three schools in that list. After quite a bit of internal deliberation, I decided that Yale was the best choice for me. The reasons for this choice are many but, eventually, I made the decision based on a combination of financial aid and the fact that Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies has no prerequisites or course requirements (outside of half of the courses taken during one's graduate school career being taken at Yale FES). I should note that at Yale many students believe that the water program at Duke is much stronger but Yale has a greater number of resources available for students to take advantage of, if they are so inclined. This means that I have a lot of time to explore my own interests through going to talks and taking courses outside of the environmental school; I am also looking to raise funds to attend a seminar in Europe this coming summer.

Thus far, the courses have been extremely interesting, although different than what I had imagined. Specifically, the student body and classes are interesting but are, in general, geared more towards the science and policy aspects of the water world than private industry. My course load in the fall semester includes one class on water chemistry, one on watershed management, one on sustainable corporations, and one statistics. Each provides an overview of the various issues that arise within the water sector at the moment and allows one to shape the course to mirror one’s own interests. For example, one of my final projects was related to the development of a sustainable desalination water utility while another was on the development of water reuse platforms within New York City geared towards decreased water usage. Personally, I am using one of my projects from this past semester and turning it into an independent study for the next.

Recently, because of my own interest in the private sector of the water business, I have decided to apply for my MBA at Yale and make it a joint MBA/Master of Environmental Management degree. Doing this should allow me to further my academics on the science/engineering side of the water sector while also strengthening my abilities on the project financial/capital raising aspect of the business.

In the end, though, I think that because I am switching industries from solar to water, my referencing of the fact that I am getting my Masters has led to a great increase in the number of companies that have responded to informational interviews and internship requests. For people looking to switch industries, then, a Masters degree seems to be a great opportunity to market yourself in a still maturing industry, if nothing else.

1 comment:

TS said...

Congratulations on the responses you have received from your students. They must be very rewarding and make you feel that you are using your many talents to make the world a better place through what you are teaching them.

Keep up the good work!

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