MSc Development Economics
Noemi completed her MSc Development Economics in 2013 and, upon graduating, moved to live and work in Sierra Leone where she has been ever since.
She has fond memories of her time at the School of Economics and the University of Nottingham, especially the international friends that she made and taking walks around the beautiful campus, come rain or shine!
How did you first become interested in economics?
I was thinking about global politics, how it all relates together, and how one can influence different wealth levels with policies.
Why did you choose to study at the School of Economics at Nottingham?
I liked their development economics programme, and the campus looked so green and beautiful! I also always liked the story of Robin Hood - taking from the rich and giving to the poor, very appropriate for someone studying how to eliminate poverty!
What are your fondest memories of your time at the school?
I really enjoyed the small classes and interesting interactions, especially on development economics and income distribution.
I also liked walking around the campus - we had snow, sun, flowers, blue skies and dark skies, but it always felt very beautiful. But most of all, it is the many international new friends I made, some of them I am still in regular contact.
Tell us about your career path since you graduated.
I went and worked as ODI (Overseas Development Institute) Fellow in Sierra Leone for two years, and liked it so much, that I have extended my stay - until now.
I am now Deputy Country Director for the Clinton Health Access Initiative, still supporting the Ministry of Health and Sanitation daily on how to save lives. As I write I am about to take on a new role, focusing on sustainable health financing, and have also been appointed as honorary consul general of Switzerland in Sierra Leone. I will not leave that soon...
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy the mix of technical and analytical tasks, and relationship management that are needed to co-develop and implement policies. It activates different parts of my brain, and I can use my political experience from prior to my graduate degree to better understand the political economy of decision making, as well as my technical background to provide the best possible options for decision making. I really enjoy my job every day.
What are the biggest challenges in your current role?
There are a lot of setbacks and frustrations on a daily basis - not just the small ones like lack of electricity or slow internet (or rats in the office), but also the bigger ones - disregard for evidence when decisions are made, for example.
Furthermore, it is always a special challenge to work in this field with senior leaders as a young woman, and takes extra effort to be taken serious in a deeply patriarchal society.
How have your experiences at the School of Economics helped shape your career?
It not only exposed me to a broad range of cultures through studying with so many international students, but also helped me move from a very analytical undergraduate to a more policy-focused outlook. And it was one of my professors who encouraged me to apply for the ODI fellowship, which led me to Sierra Leone!
What advice would you give to someone considering or about to start a course at the school?
Do it - you will only gain. And if you have already made your decision: congratulations, you will have an amazing time. Interact with your fellow students, enjoy the libraries, and the beautiful walks around the campus!
Are you still in touch with anyone from your course?
Yes, I am still in touch with some of them and it is important to me.
And have you been back to the school since you graduated?
Yes, I have been back twice, for visits of friends, and would always take a walk around the campus.