Program: MA in Global Development Economics
Please briefly introduce yourself, what’s your background, where are you from? What are you studying at BU GRS?
I’m from India. I just got to Boston about two months ago and it has been quite chaotic. I’m a graduate student currently enrolled in the master’s in global development economics program at BU. I did my undergraduate at St. Xavier’s college in Mumbai, India; I graduated in 2019, and then I worked for about two years with J.P. Morgan Chase. I realized that I really wanted to make a career in the development sector, so I started to look into graduate programs. I came across the GDE program that BU offered, and it met all of my criteria: it’s exactly what I wanted to do, and that’s how I’m here at BU right now. I did my undergraduate at St. Xavier in economics as well, but that was a broad bachelor’s in economics whereas right now I’m specializing in development economics.
Can you share a little more regarding your merit scholarship experience? How did you learn about this opportunity? How did that affect your application journey and decision-making?
Scholarship was a big criterion for me while applying to graduate school. I don’t think I would be here at BU if I didn’t receive the merit scholarship from the department. While I was applying, I was definitely looking for scholarships opportunities not just at BU, but at other universities as well. So I did learn that BU offers scholarships during my research. At certain universities, I had to apply for scholarships separately, but at BU it was a tick box asking “would you like to be considered for a merit scholarship?” and that was an option that I absolutely chose to opt into. Outside of the application itself, I reached out to the university beforehand to make sure I understood the kind of scholarships that would be available to me. I was also in touch with BU both prior to and post my application to communicate about financial aid. Because as far as the program was concerned, I had already made up my mind: I did really really want to attend BU. In fact, it is exactly what I wanted to study. I cannot stress enough the fact that I am here at BU because of that scholarship and I’m extremely grateful for it. Apart from the scholarship, I’m currently waiting on a few RA positions that I have interviewed for. I am counting on these RA positions to finance my living expenses and also trying to save up to fund my education.
What advice would you give to prospective students about finding funding for their program at GRS?
As far as funding goes for graduate students, I think scholarships should be a big criterion. If your university offers scholarships, you should reach out to them outside of the normal application procedure to find out about scholarship opportunities available within the university as well as other fellowship programs. As an international student, there weren’t many fellowship programs that I could apply to, but there are a lot of options for citizens at least. It’s also important to communicate with your program’s department about your needs and the department will do best to accommodate them. Lastly, I personally believe that taking up a job is a great way to manage your finances, and while international students are limited to on-campus employment during their graduate studies, there are ample opportunities at BU for international students to pursue employment. At least a majority of your living expenses can be taken care of through that income.