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James Waters. James Waters

MA International Development Management (2003 - 2004)

Hello. I'm James Waters, an academic teacher and researcher.

Why did you choose the University of Bradford?

I was working in the City of London, and had been participating in some informal development projects, mainly in Africa. I wanted to become more professionally involved and improve my contacts with the development community, so decided to take a development studies MA. the University of Bradford attracted my attention. The Bradford Centre for International Development is a national centre of expertise, and it has won research and development work from the UK Government and major intergovernmental donors. Its staff undertake extensive consultancy projects. Going to Bradford gave me the chance to gain exposure to and experience of their successful operation.

The size of the student intake also gave me an opportunity to network with students with the exact regional and professional experience that would help me. Discussions with them illuminated some major questions you hear in development, but can't always answer at distance. What are the politics and personality clashes in a developing country's government? Which charities are worth funding and which are wasteful?

Did you enjoy your time at the University of Bradford?

Studying at Bradford was the first time as an adult I had been away from a capital city, even on holiday! Frankly, I was surprised how pleasant it was. I stayed in university accommodation, along with other postgraduate students. The university is near the centre of town, which is a big advantage for shops and restaurants. Wandering down to pick up some books and watching giant chess being played in Bradford City Centre stays with me today! It was also nice to be able to get some time to myself too. "Bronte Country" and the Lake District are just a run or bus out of town, and there are sport and hobby opportunities inside and outside the university.

James Waters. Can you describe your current job?

At the moment, I am teaching at a UK university and working on a PhD there. After leaving Bradford I applied for a university research job, which became a teaching position. After part time work for seven years, it was time to take a PhD and prepare for a full time position. In 2011, I asked my former director of research and my former economics lecturer at BCID for references. As they had in 2004, they provided me with them, and as in 2004 I got the position I had gone for.

Continued support by academics and alumni are one way in which BCID helps later career development. You could equally point to the applied nature of BCID training, the way it exposes students both to development practitioners and highly cited academics, and the contact with staff who understand the demands of the development market. Bradford has had a reputation for supporting its students' entry into employment, and it's easy to see why.

Do you think your time at the University of Bradford (UoB) helped you?

My career has moved from business to applied development research to purer economics research and teaching. Bradford helped in the first transition in providing a ready entry to development studies despite my lack of knowledge at the time. The teaching was flexible enough to expose me to modern sociological theories of development required to teach the subject myself, and to the economics in which I wanted to specialise. Much later, during my business school PhD, the economics has again proved useful, as well as the methodological skills first used during my BCID dissertation. The adaptability of my Bradford BCID MA has delivered a decade of value.

Received: 28th January 2013