Imagine walking onto a plane and travelling 1,000 miles across the “ocean” (I know it’s the Channel) to spend the next three years in a completely different place than you’ve lived the majority of your life. It was probably the most exciting, yet nerve-wracking thing – due to the pandemic –that I had ever done in my life. I wanted to attend a university that sets internationality as a key criterion, and I am delighted to confirm that the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) has met and exceeded all my expectations.
Two terms are over! Michaelmas and Lent Term were two stimulating, distinct and theory-filled terms. I have managed to learn a lot about myself and improve my communication and cultural-awareness skills. Previously, I loved to travel – I had visited more than sixty countries, and I knew I wanted to live abroad for my Bachelor’s degree.
Living on my own for more than six months, dealing with situations without the help parents or anyone else you would typically go to when at home, really makes you grow up in a way you wouldn’t for at least a few more years. Having improved my self-awareness skills, I am so much older than I was before I had gone abroad. Living in another country gave me the chance to learn about countless new cultures, meet new people and find new places to explore. Most importantly though, I learned how to live in the moment and appreciate the small things.
My time at the LSE enhanced my interest on economic matters and commercial awareness and improved my analytical problem solving skills. I see the economy very differently from when I arrived – be it changes in fiscal or monetary policies that affect our daily lives or pre-existing condition on why certain countries tend to be more productive due to a more efficient use of human and physical capital, as well as a proficient use of technology. Many of the taught lessons at the LSE focus around current and real-world examples – I compared why certain economic fluctuations are repetitious – and that the Great Depression of 1929-1933, in terms, is similar to our current economic downturn – and its effects on the labor and consumption demand. Through guest lecturers ranging from eminent economists from the Bank of England to Nobel Prize Winners, I was able to understand the direct implications of multipliers through countercyclical macroeconomic policies such as Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief bill. Contemporary examples of economic policies, combined with stimulating lectures by eminent speakers and theoretical knowledge is what makes the Department of Economics at the LSE unique. One thing the LSE can improve, though, is timetabling. I have four exams and three essays scheduled in one week, even though the exam period has a duration of two months.
I still remember reading about Thomas Cook’s compulsory liquidation in 2019 not knowing that, one year later, with the Department of Accounting, I would be writing a financial report on the reasons leading to the economic downfall of the company, analyzing asset valuation, profit measurement and analysis of account methods. At the same time, I learned about ways to get external financing from companies, capital structures of firms and the importance of financial statements.
My geography module made me confirm my assumption that emerging markets are more prone to digitization and abrupt changes in their fiscal policy. Earlier, before starting my degree, I had programmed a unified banking application for the Google Play Store with more than half million daily users targeted towards South and South East Asian economies. Learning about demarginalized groups in geography and social sciences in general equipped me with an extended world-view.
The first two terms at the LSE were very special. Even though there were strict Covid restrictions in place, I thoroughly enjoyed my time. I look forward to my exhausting exam period that is still ahead of me. Stay safe and keep well!
March 2021 | Manas Goyal