'Never accept at face value the theories you are taught'
Ow Jia Ming, a final year SIM-UOL BSc Economics and Politics student, shares his thoughts on picking up industry insights and developing a mindset of curiosity.
I came from a hybrid background back at Pioneer Junior College (a combination of Science and Arts subjects). During my time in National Service, I had the opportunity to take a step back to appreciate whatever was going on around the world. It was at that point in time when I noticed the tendency for history to repeat itself in the present state of current affairs. Yet as I got to learn more about political crises around the world, I felt that I would not be able to attain a clear picture of everything unless I factored in the driving forces of economics. Gradually, my interest in economics and politics developed. This set a clear path for me to more or less have an idea of the degree that I wanted to pursue.
I felt compelled to join this programme because the academic direction is provided by LSE - often hailed as one of the forefront institutions in the field of social sciences.
For me, the main pulling factor of choosing this programme is without a doubt its branding. Firstly, I felt compelled to join this programme because the academic direction is provided by LSE – often hailed as one of the forefront institutions in the field of social sciences. With the backing of such an established institution, the quality of the content delivered sounded promising to me. Secondly, another decisive factor was actually the depth of the content covered. Seeing that each semester actually spans across an average duration of six months, I gathered that it is highly possible for me to have the time to develop a holistic understanding of what was taught.
I had a chance to join the Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN) programme, which not only allowed me to meet students of various disciplines (e.g. communications and business students), but also provided an opportunity to meet Model UN delegates from different parts of the world when I was at the conference in Boston. In addition, partaking in internships also allows you to develop interests outside of your degree specialisms. In the summer of 2019, I joined an event management company that creates stakeholder engagement events in the field of sustainability. And it was there and then that I had the luxury of picking up industry insights. Subsequently, I even developed an interest in the concept of a circular economy. Fast forward to early 2020, one thing led to another, and I find myself very intrigued by the field of impact investing. I am now a Research Analyst at a startup accelerator that seeks to promulgate impact investing itself. I never foresaw that I would be interested in the field of impact sustainability. Coupled with what my degree has taught me, I feel that I am well-placed to embrace things with a well-complemented approach.
The art of learning is to be an inquisitive learner. A mindset of curiosity would help to achieve this.
For anyone keen to sign up for this course, I believe that an indispensable component to having an enjoyable learning experience is to first and foremost develop the art of learning. Perhaps the motto of the LSE puts its most succinctly – Rerum cognoscere causas – "To understand the causes of things". The art of learning is to be an inquisitive learner. A mindset of curiosity would help to achieve this. Never simply accept at face value the theories that you are taught. It is always essential to understand the mechanism and properties that support the theories.
[Main image: Ow Jia Ming, fourth from left, and his team at HNMUN in Boston in 2018]