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My Decision, My Future: 3 Programs at KDI School

06 Nov, 2019 KDIS News Center 3,584

Living in a constantly changing society, the demands of professionalism and a global education are significantly dominant in the minds of students as they shape their bright future. KDI School of Public Policy and Management offers Master’s and Ph.D. programs that enable students to enrich their global knowledge and expertized profession of public policies, socio-economic development, management and leadership in both public and private sectors.

Three students from three different programs: Master of Public Policy (MPP), Master of Development Policy (MDP), and Master of Public Management (MPM) are pleased to share their perspectives and expectations on their decisions in choosing these programs at KDI School.


What made you decide to choose your program?

Samantha Sheane T. Chico, The Philippines, MDP Spring 2019

“I was introduced to the development discourse when I was taking international relations back in college, and I fell in love with the topic right away,” says Samantha Sheane T. Chico, an MDP student from the Philippines. She continues, “After graduation, I decided to deepen my understanding of the sector and took some classes on Community Development which adheres more to a grassroots level approach to development. However, I realized that having proper policies to support community movements are also important. That is why I chose the MDP program of KDI School.” Samantha thinks that this program is great for her as she is acquiring a working knowledge of policymaking for the development process. She also thinks that learning from Asia’s top think tank will help her become a competent development professional.

Souksakhone Keophila, Laos, MPP Fall 2018

Another student of the MPP program, Souksakhone Keophila, from Laos tells us the reasons why he decided to take this program. “I chose to pursue a master’s degree in Public Policy in order to have an excellent foundation for a successful professional career in the public sector,” he says. He believes the program would provide him with comprehensive theories, knowledge, practical information, and a multidisciplinary understanding of the role government has in economic development and public policy decision making. Furthermore, he says, “I expect that the program would enable me to continue positively in national development and enlighten me about developmental methods, public policy formulation, socio-economics, and it would provide administrative structure skills that are essential for effective public policy design and execution.” Souksakhone is looking forward to meeting and interacting with people from diverse backgrounds. With a friendly smile, he says, “I am really delighted to build good relationships with new friends for future contact and have more valuable experiences in public policies.”

Paola Fernanda, Ecuador, MPM Spring 2019

As a participant in the Master of Public Management (MPM) program at KDI, Paola Fernanda from Ecuador says, “I decided on the Master of Public Management program because, in my country, I worked as a project manager and as a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) expert.” In the last five years, she was in charge of teams and large budgets and she realized that working with various people and public resources was not an easy task. “Management is an art, and when it comes to the moment of decision, you cannot apply all the theories you learn in books, you must rely on your intuition,” says Paola. She emphasizes that the MPM Program provides students not only with tools to improve managerial skills in technical classes but also valuable soft skills courses.


What have you learned from the program?

Samantha and Paola, both students from the Spring 2019 Semester, will be having their completion ceremony on 06 December 2019. They share some valuable lessons they have learned from KDI School in the last nine months.

Samantha, a Dean’s Lister, is currently in her last semester. She says she has learned that “the development process is such a complex thing!” Coming from a Community Development background, she has focused on working within the confines of the community. “Through the MDP program, I was reminded that these communities cannot be excluded from the complex network of development work,” she says. However, she has also learned that many policies are out of touch with the people’s narratives. She sincerely says, “I am grateful for my MDP classes because they opened my mind, and took me out of my box. All of my classes taught me that there are more things to see and to consider than what I know and am used to.” She believes that what she has learned from the MDP program is that it provides a global education that helps her develop her theory of change and her values as a development professional.

Similarly, Paola treasures the most valuable lessons that have come from the interaction with other managers, especially Korean classmates. She says, “As citizens of developing countries, many of us came here to learn from Korean experiences.” What has surprised her when taking the MPM program is that as public servants, they struggle with the same issues when it comes to accountability, productivity, risk, and human resource management. However, she has learned a lot from the program. “When I shared problems of my country such as transportation or urbanization, I received insightful advice from my classmates on how they coped with the same issues and the lessons they learned, the good and bad,” she says.

Furthermore, Souksakhone takes every opportunity to maintain his good academic grades and continues to benefit from professors’ lectures as much as possible. “The MPP program is one of the best programs at KDI School for developing my skillset in public administration and leadership as a self-driven individual and aspiring policy actor,” he says. Through the program, he also gains more academically well-trained and first-hand experiences of development concepts and a better understanding of Korean management approaches and leadership concepts for the public sector. He continues, “I am positively enlightened by the admirative framework of South Korea Public Policy management models and the best implementation for building technical and leadership capacities such as in public policy analysis.”


How will you apply this program in your future career?

After KDI School, students will be equipped with a global education from their selected programs and worldwide networks which will be the cornerstones for their future careers.

As a former project manager for the Development Academy of the Philippines, Samantha believes that the MDP program will equip her in pursuing her future endeavors with confidence. She says, “My goal is still the same. I dream to become the most competent development professional that I can be.” She strongly expects that through her MDP education, she will become instrumental in creating programs and policies that will help create an enabling environment for communities to discover their own strengths and achieve sustainable development.

Souksakhone, a government official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, says, “I will translate my entire knowledge and Korean experience on the administrative policy as a foundation for real implementation and as a contribution to the national socio-economic development of my country.” After achieving a master’s degree in Public Policy from KDI School, Souksakhone plans to go back to his country to continue his career at his ministry and contribute to Lao foreign affairs development. “Likewise, I have a plan to develop a seminar or workshop that is related to my research for Lao government officers to provide a better understanding of an anti-corruption platform,” he says.

Last but not least, as Paola has worked at the national level with the President of Ecuador and other governmental institutions, she has a top-down view of the problems in her country. After enrolling in the MPM program at KDI School for two and a half semesters, Paola says, “I have the knowledge and tools to improve the governance of a transportation system and to provide valid contributions to smart city projects.” At the national level, she explains that all projects become messy due to multiple stakeholders, preferences, and politics. Even though the impact of federal projects is more significant, now she would like to get involved with local governments. “I will concentrate on both Regional Development and Public Administration. KDI School provides me with an understanding of participatory settings and how important it is to consider a bottom-up approach for any development problem,” she says. Finally, she expects to get involved actively in politics and with the design of her city master plan.