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Masters life – think outside the box

By Shreya Mishra - Posted on 2 September 2021

While studying Economics and Finance, Shreya Mishra didn't let the pandemic put her off getting involved in extracurricular activities. Here, she explains how she thought outside of the box and made the most of her year. 

Originally a journalist, I decided to do an MSc in Economics and Finance as I want to use economics to drive public policy and become an economist. I wanted to bridge my career in business journalism, economics and finance. 

The University has a great Student Union community and I am lucky enough to be a part of the Strathclyde Hyperloop team. As a master's student, there is very little time left to get yourself involved in extra-curricular activities, but if you do end up planning and managing your time well, it can be a great learning experience, especially as an international student. 

I became a part of Strathclyde Hyperloop Team – Strathloop during the second semester of my masters, and even though I am not from an engineering background, I learnt so much about hyperloop, competitions, the projects which the team has been working on and of course met a great set of enthusiastic people. 

The best part about Strathloop was that we had social evenings every Monday. I also got the chance to go to Valencia, Spain, for European Hyperloop Week, but unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, we had to cancel the trip. 

It is inspirational to see the teamwork and present these big projects on an international platform via digital assistance (Zoom!) during such a challenging year. 

At Strathloop, I work as a member of the marketing and sponsor relations sub-team. I’ve also been involved in building new ideas for more social traction and sponsorships. 

In order to gain traction, I started conducting interviews with members such as the Team Captain Sam Muirhead. In the current world, if something does not exist on the internet, is it even real? 

My idea was to make the students and the wider audience aware of Strathloop so that more students join us - we need enthusiastic students to be a part of the team – and in addition to this, this idea was essential to discuss Hyperloop technology and the team's projects. 

Now that our economy's lifeblood is running on digital, it was an essential way for us to discuss the projects the team has been working on to gain traction as well as sponsorship and funding from various university alumni and companies. 

The team's social footprint has been increasing over the last six months and we did a significant amount of work before and during European Hyperloop Week. 

The Strathclyde Alumni Community has provided a great deal of financial support to the Strathloop team on the pod prototype design. It is inspiring for the members to get back in the labs and start working on their ideas. 

Many students don’t realise what they are missing out on until they are a part of wonderful communities, such as Strathloop, building great ideas for the future. 

I would recommend everyone to be a part of any society according to their interest areas - look outside your own department and be a part of something out of the box! 

I always wanted to learn more about hyperloop technology, and as a non-engineer, I could not have gotten a better chance to be a part of the team working on live projects. So my recommendation would be to log on to the Student Union website and check out all the societies you think you can be a part of and contribute to. 

In addition to StrathLoop, I was also involved with TedxStrathclyde in a video series on students' mental health, which is going to be published soon. 

Through these activities, I learnt a lot about the culture of Glasgow and made new friends during the pandemic, who acted as a huge support system to me. 

However, one more suggestion: Do not overwhelm yourself by getting involved in many societies and then not be able to contribute to it. Take your time, research, and then join. Be a part of a society where you can pitch your ideas, bring about a change and provide meaningful contributions. 

Extracurricular is a hugely important part of your university experience but so of course is the teaching! Through my course I connected with leaders in the industry who work in the policy sector and gained work experience at the Confederation of British Industry. 

The Fraser of Allander Institute offered me the most significant learning curve during my second semester as I contributed to building a report on Scottish Cities Outlook. This opportunity provided me with experience in bespoke economic research and how the consultancy arm of an institute works. It is a gateway to learn about the econometric models the Institute has previously developed to conduct research as one would in the job of an economist. Both these opportunities have been a massive learning curve during the first six months of 2021. 

My post-graduation plans are to work in the economics and policy sector in the UK. I am very excited to begin my career in the UK and even though economics is a tough market to get a job in, my course was very well-aligned, where I received training to work on real-world policy and economics issues and I am confident I will soon gain the employment I am looking for.

Students usually want to know about the course and the subjects but during this pandemic year, I have realised what’s also important is the people in the department and how supportive they are. I met many times with my lecturers regarding various topics, ranging from my summer project, assessment and work placements to career advice regarding the current job market. 

I think myself lucky to be a part of the Economics department at Strathclyde - I received great support in terms of gaining a quality education, work placements and mental health support. I am so glad and proud to be a part of Strathclyde's Economics Department

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