Menu

You are here:

How my degree has added value to my career

Cristina Alderighi tells us how the MSc in Environmental Economics has helped her in her role as a Programme Officer with the United Nations.

Written by Peter Quinn |

"The distance learning programmes offered by SOAS perfectly matched my needs": Cristina Alderighi
"The distance learning programmes offered by SOAS perfectly matched my needs": Cristina Alderighi.

I enjoyed the fact that I could first enrol on a Postgraduate Certificate and eventually upgrade it to an MSc, while at the same time starting the programme in one country and finishing it in another

As I was working for the United Nations in Cabo Verde, I was planning to complement my academic background with postgraduate distance learning courses in the field of environmental economics, which is a key issue, especially when dealing with a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), subject to vulnerabilities such as climate change.

The distance learning programmes offered by SOAS perfectly matched my needs, both in terms of content and flexibility. More specifically, I enjoyed the fact that I could first enrol on a Postgraduate Certificate and eventually upgrade it to an MSc, while at the same time starting the programme in one country and finishing it in another. I also liked the opportunity of better shaping my field of expertise by choosing and adding some elective modules to the core ones.

Working in an international organization often involves frequent travel, as well as living in different countries for prolonged periods. This constant instability is, on the one hand, an extremely enriching experience but, on the other hand, might also have repercussions on mid- to long-term aspirations such as further education. Therefore, as I was planning to enroll on another master’s degree in the field of Development, I started to explore distance learning opportunities, focusing on universities with a huge network of centres, especially in developing countries. Distance learning provided me with sufficient flexibility to study at my own pace anywhere in the world, combining continued education with other activities, as well as work and family commitments.

Dedication, organization, as well as the support of my family and friends were key elements in succeeding!

Working and studying at the same time is not an easy task. I believe dedication, organization, as well as the support of my family and friends were key elements in succeeding! I tried to study on a regular basis and to organise myself around SOAS’s timetable to avoid commitments during examined assessments as well as exam periods, usually scheduled for September/October.

I would define this experience as challenging but also rewarding, once completed! The topics covered in the modules were very interesting and I believe the programme provided me with a sound understanding of environmental issues. Furthermore, by interacting with both the module coordinator, as well as with other students, I had the opportunity to further research specific issues which were relevant for my work. Moreover, I must say that the opportunity to liaise and share information with peers through the platform was extremely useful since we sometimes solved bottlenecks together or created specific working groups to prepare for exams more efficiently.

This degree adds value to my career as it allowed me to progressively acquire more responsibilities and be involved in more technical work.

SOAS provided me with an additional qualification in the field of environmental economics, which is considered a cross-cutting issue when employed in the development industry. This degree adds value to my career as it allowed me to progressively acquire more responsibilities and be involved in more technical work.

I have been able to apply the knowledge gained in my studies to my work. Some modules such as ‘Economic principles’ or ‘Project planning and management’ were more relevant to my daily work, considering my current role as Programme Officer. However, other modules such as 'Climate change and development' and Natural resource economics' allowed me to have a better understanding of the specific issues I was working on.

  • This is an edited version of an article which first appeared on the SOAS website and is reprinted here with kind permission.