Studying for an MSc in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation can be an intense experience. And at the same time as pursuing their studies, our students are also thinking about what’s next – how can they apply their learning in the real world? If they have a sense, as many do, of wanting to ‘make a difference’ in the world, what is the best outlet for this?
To help answer these questions, we regularly invite our alumni back to the department to share their onwards experiences. Earlier this month, we were delighted to be joined by two recent alumni who shared their perspectives on the ‘what next’ question. Last week we shared James Dickson’s story, and this time we hear from Fabian Reitzug.
Fabian completed his MSc in 2018, and was awarded the Carlo Schmid Fellowship -- a government-sponsored work scheme in which he was placed in Senegal to support the Applied Research and Learning team in the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group.
Fabian shared his personal reflections, speaking exclusively on his own behalf. He gave students an insight into what he termed research ‘outside the green zone’ – i.e. away from Oxford, away from the boundaries of academia. He spoke about the opportunities he enjoys as well as the new challenges which come to bear, in terms of time, imminent deadlines and balancing the tensions of working in applied research.
Fabian is working on a continent which is increasingly seen as the place to focus for poverty alleviation. Thus, Senegal has proven to be an excellent choice as a place to leverage his research skills. His particular interest is in financial services and access and the idea of ‘mobile money’ fascinates him. He has already been involved in various projects including large-scale surveys, the analysis of satellite data, big data analysis, and ethnographic research.
Our current students were heartened to hear that their studies give them a competitive edge in thinking critically about evidence, and the communication skills to connect people with more technical experience with clients. It can be challenging to come to terms with the degree of flexibility that this kind of work requires, but he ended by encouraging his audience that it’s worth finding the place you where you can try to make a difference – and that it may not always be where you think.