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Journey from Graduate to Doctorate in KDIS

  • Date 2022-06-16 19:43
  • CategoryStory
  • Hit15252

You might have seen many student experiences from our master’s students at KDIS. To switch things up, we sat down with two PhD students who shared a little about themselves and their experience with the doctoral program at KDI school. Joo-Yeol Maeng and Yoo Jiin have some insightful tips and information on their journey to aspiring PhD students.

 

Some introductions and fun facts about our PhD students, Joo-Yeol Maeng and Yoo Jiin

Joo-Yeol Maeng is studying at KDI School as a second-year candidate in the public management doctoral program. He has been mainly in charge of land compensation planning at LH for 19 years and takes a great deal of pride in his work despite its difficulty. In his spare time, he works as a fairy tale translator for children’s books. His memorable translations are "Kitten's First Full Moon (달을 먹은 아기 고양이)" and "Whose Mouse Are You? ( 누구 생쥐니?)".

Yoo Jiin graduated with a Master of Development Policy (MDP) at KDIS and entered the Center of International Development in KDI. Her learning and experience were essential to being a part of KDIS. She is always struggling with mathematics and economics but ended up being a Teaching Assistant for Quantitative Methods! 


 

Sharing how they learnt about the KDI PhD program and what led them to applying

Both Joo-Yeol Maeng and Yoo Jiin learnt about the PhD program while studying at KDIS during their graduate studies. Joo-Yeol Maeng highlighted how the master’s program experience helped him build trust in the school’s curriculum and faculty. Desiring to deepen his research work, Joo-Yeol Maeng’s passion for city and civic governance influenced his application for the research doctorate program.

 

Highlights about the benefits of the KDIS PhD program

According to Yoo Jiin’s experience, she highlighted how KDIS offers both practical and theoretical courses specialized in public policy and the development sector. Moreover, her KDIS peers are professionals from the public sector adding an added depth to her studies. This has meant that she has grown through discussion and interaction with her fellow classmates. 

 

Thoughts on what makes the KDI PhD program special and an integral part of the experience

Joo-Yeol Maeng shared how despite the program not being easy, it has been special and necessary in assisting him in doing in-depth policy research while working in a public company related to housing policy. Through his peers and discussions, he gains a lot of insight into practical policy development and implementation. He described how the the PM course at KDI School is quite attractive in that the curriculum of the program is diverse and incorporates government changes in policy, current local and global affairs and student experiences.

 

Requisite skills to applying and getting into the PhD program

Yoo Jiin indicated that a basic grounding in economics,statistical knowledge, and familiarity with programming tools like STATA will take one a long way. If a potential applicant is a professional in a field of study, that experience will be a great foundation to develop the research area and scope. 

Joo-Yeol Maeng also echoed Yoo Jiin’s sentiments in regard to the importance of having solid foundational skills as a researcher, with a clear understanding and forethought regarding the field of interest you wish to pursue. For example, in relation to smart city policy dominating global conversation, applicants should have some requisite knowledge regarding this topic or how Korea is adapting to this trend and developing in it, what the related problems are, and how to deal with those issues based on their own research.

 

What it takes to prepare for admissions into the KDIS PhD program

Joo-Yeol Maeng and Yoo Jiin both heavily emphasized the research proposal for admission as an important aspect of the admissions process. Doing some prior research and looking through previous research on your field of interest is important. During the program, it can be a challenge looking through and finding relevant research, getting a head start as Joo Yeol Maeng put it could help potential candidates be better prepared for the work coming ahead.   

 

Balancing being a part time student with other responsibilities

Yoo Jiin has a ‘work smart and not hard’ strategy by incorporating her work in her studies by utilizing her day-to-day experiences when finding a research field and related questions. As she works in the research team through her work, she benefits through the projects and network of her employer. 

Similarly, Joo-Yeol Maeng pointed out that as a part-time PhD candidate, balancing work and study is undeniably a difficult task. He prepares for classes on weekdays and weekends after work and spends more time on weekends for research and his thesis. As he is balancing work and school, it is important to stay on top of things at work so at to demonstrate the relevance of his PhD to his work. Also, as a husband and father of two sons balancing home responsibilities, he values that also as an aspect that requires attention regardless of his schedule. Thankfully, through the support of his family and colleagues, he manages the demanding schedule of being a student while working and focuses on the end benefits once he completes his studies.

 

Their advice to potential KDIS PhD candidates

Joo-Yeol Maeng put it succinctly when he said, “If you wish to continue studying in public management and are interested in being an independent researcher, KDIS is always ready to provide the most relevant courses and additional support to you. The staff and faculty will listen to you when you need them.”

Yoo Jiin concluded by highlighting that, “Above all, I think it is necessary for those who want to apply to have a clear understanding of what the KDI School is aiming for and what kind of research it is conducting. It is important to be confident regarding the results you wish to achieve with your research in relation to public policy based on the vision and capabilities of KDI School. If that is the case, you should not hesitate to apply! The process might not be easy, but I would like to encourage you, in that you will gain a lot at KDI School and become a seasoned researcher.”


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Lesego Barona Otlhabanye

2021 FALL / MDP / Botswana

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