Statement to research in this grey area and generate

Statement of Purpose, Bertram Kwadwo Darko
Wageningen University & Research Centre
Master of Science (MSc) International Development Studies

I am applying to the international development studies program to prepare me for a career in economic
development, focusing on economic policy management. The program’s specialization in economics of
development is ideal to my long-term career goals. As a policy advisor, I hope to use econometric
research evaluation and lessons learned in developing policy recommendations for governments and
institutions. Wealth transfer and the underlying principles thereof continue to intrigue me. I have loved
finding out why specific financial ideas work reliably in certain zones while proving disastrous when
applied elsewhere. In my undergraduate studies, I was enthused about policy effectiveness and I wanted
to learn beyond the economic indicators and understand the political and social incentives behind
implementing sustainable fiscal and monetary policies.

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The international development studies program parallels with my own philosophy when I was pleased to
learn of the economics of development specialization. I look forward to expanding my niche in this field
through research opportunities I plan to share my results from my personal and group projects with others
who are interested in the implications of their research. Broadly, my research interests seek to determine
the root causes of extreme poverty and migration, rigorously evaluate programs that target these causes,
explore how economic activities in sub-saharan Africa as a whole can influence migration and some
sustainable economic policies. Pursuing the international development degree will afford me the
opportunity to research in this grey area and generate better understanding on the efficacy of using public
policies. My background in economics and geography combined with a master’s in international
development studies will enable me deepen my understanding of microeconomic development and
econometric measuring techniques.

I believe Wageningen University & Research Centre is the best place for me to be and the primary factors
drawing me to the international development studies program includes: (1) The opportunity to specialize
in economics of development (2) I am especially excited about the AEP-21306, DEC-32806 and
DEC-30306 specialization courses which will add layers of priceless practical knowledge to normal
lecture-room affair, applying econometric models and enjoying group discussions (3) The personal and
network connections available to me as a graduate, and the Ipso Facto student association as a student
would be invaluable (4) I am better suited to a smaller, more intimate class environment with helpful
instructors and I know I will find that at Wageningen University & Research Centre. (5) The opportunity
to work on a thesis project in thematic areas of my interest. I look forward to making Wageningen my
new home; its mild weather and amazing historical attractions will be additional and welcomed benefits.

As a research assistant at the Center for Migration Studies (CMS), I had the good fortune to work with
Mr. Emmanuel Quarshie, communications officer under the supervision of Dr. Joseph Teye. This was
crucial in appreciating the steps of setting up a research investigation from its earliest stages. I employed
mixed methodology in generating new knowledge related to migration and poverty by creating new
datasets and questionnaires; engaging policy makers with key research outcomes on migration and
poverty linkages. As part of my tenure, I was able to evaluate statistical measures; write test items,
pilot-test questions and administrative procedures. This experience further expanded my niche to
migration and poverty in international development work. During my internship at
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), I worked with the strategy & operations unit on many transactions

complementing economic research with in depth policy interpretation. One example was when I served as
a researcher and participant for the PwC Business School: Sustainable Business Forum to engage the
private sector on sustainability issues and enhance business resilience. I carried out research on
environmental business challenges pertaining to Ghana. I also conducted and coordinated dialogue
amongst participants ( International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN NL), The Netherlands
Embassy, Water Resources Commission (WRC), A Rocha Ghana, Bank of Ghana (BoG) ) at the school
and shared practical activities to help boost business resilience through key environmental compliance
practices to engage the private sector. This advisory experience exposed me to the intricacies of policy
advisory work and reassured my resolve to pursue an international development degree. One of my
proudest accomplishments is when I put my interests and background into action by cofounding
Development Aid Foundation, an NGO that supports indigenous development Ghanaian organizations
through volunteerism. I had the opportunity to volunteer in an orphanage with international volunteers
and it further fueled my desire to expand my horizons in development. Communicating with the orphans I
handled threw my life into perspective – we take many things for granted which we shouldn’t. Due to my
personal upbringing on the margins of society, I am especially intrigued by community-based projects on
education, economic growth and structural transformation, migration and inequality.

Upon completing the program, I hope to immediately work as an economic policy analyst on poverty and
migration issues and transition into non-profit development projects. I believe that helping others is the
root of all true meaning in life, and I would want to help others in such an endeavor. I would be happy to
pursue development project assignments anywhere in the developing world. I would like to be engaged in
public policy work through cutting edge research that has clear policy implications, under my own think
tank firm when I return to Ghana. This is where I know I would have the greatest impact. I do not go into
this application halfheartedly. My correspondences with Ms. Leander van der Linden and her willingness
to speak to me about my specialization interests and fit with the program really impressed me. I have been
in contact with Ms. Lydia Senanu who has shared in depth experiences about her time in Wageningen.
This has been my passionate intention for a year now. My past experiences have well prepared me to
pursue the international development studies program at the University of Wageningen & Research
Centre.

In conclusion, I am confident that my academic and professional experiences have instilled me with the
depth and maturity that the international development studies department demands, and that, given the
opportunity, I will be a valuable asset to the program. I hope to be seriously considered for this program.