Lucy_Agafonova

What can you tell us about yourself?

I’m from Moscow, Russia and I try to experience life to its fullest and never miss an opportunity to grow, learn and experience. I have a specialist degree with distinction in International Economics from the Financial University in Moscow, I had an amazing chance to work in the USA and to spend my student exchange year in Germany, and now I am finishing also with distinction my Masters in the heart of London at Westminster Business School. I love travelling, art and Formula One Racing. I am very passionate about development and I hope my work as an economist will be directly linked to it.

Why did you choose to study International Economics Policy and Analysis (IEPA) MA at Westminster Business School?

The most important thing for me was the course and then the university. I wanted to study economics which is connected to real life and I was really interested in going beyond classic textbooks. This course is the only course in England accredited by the Government Economic Service (GES) and as such, one of the modules teaches us how to be a real economist and conduct real policy appraisals and evaluation. We are actually solving problems which economists experience in real life. About the University, I had a great recommendation from my friend, who studied at the University of Westminster, and I loved the fact that it is very international. It is like taking a fun course of cultural diversity while you are learning economics.

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With fellow class mates in Geneva, Switzerland

What have the highlights been for you over the last year?

Visiting the United Nations headquarters with the International Development Management MA course is one of them. Making friends with absolutely amazing people from different parts of the world. Challenging myself and achieving great results. Being a Course Representative for the MA stream of the IEPA was a great opportunity. I learnt a lot from this role and it was a nice feeling to know that the opinion of your group matters. We managed to solve the majority of issues and one of them was with option modules. We were allowed to listen to any modules in our course, even if they are from a parallel stream. We are a very ambitious group, so a lot of people used this chance to learn more.

What has been your biggest challenge over the last year?

The biggest challenge has been the lack of time, because this course is only one year long, you need to put much more time and effort than usual into reading, writing and self-studies. Time with family, socialising and enjoying London was very often squeezed out by additional reading, especially before coursework submissions and exams. But it is worth it – I learnt a lot, I know what kind of economist I want to be and I am on the way to earning another distinction. How did you find your first week? I think the fact that I lived here a little while before helped, but it was still a bit scary. The induction week before the course started was very useful though. We had short lectures in statistics, mathematics and business and after them we had a few parties so we can all meet each other. I think this was a really good idea because everyone was shy and scared but even before our studies started, we got to know each other a little bit, so it made life easier. I met almost all of my friends during the first week.

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With the International Development Management MA class at the United Nations headquarters, Geneva

Can you tell us a little bit about your dissertation topic?

My dissertation looks at the impact of remittances and aid on economic growth in Sub-Saharan African countries. With the Millennium Development Goals finishing this year and certain African countries not achieving the desired results, it is important to determine where to direct any efforts to achieve positive results in future. I am using a panel data approach, quite advanced for an MA student, but I like the challenge.

If there was one word that you could use to sum up your experience at Westminster, what would it be?

It has been exciting.

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