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Acing Academics: Advice from KDIS Dean's List Scholars

  • Date 2024-04-08 11:25
  • CategoryResearch and Education
  • Hit1149

Are you aiming for a spot on the Dean’s List? Well, achieving academic excellence requires more than just intelligence and book smarts; it demands dedication, perseverance, and effective strategies. In our quest to uncover the keys to academic success at KDI School, we spoke with two exceptional scholars from the fall 2023 Master of Development Policy (MDP) program: Md Mujahidur Rahman from Bangladesh and Angelika Mari R. Gultia (Lyka) from the Philippines. Their insights into achieving Dean's List recognition provide valuable advice for fellow students aspiring to excel academically. 

What strategies or habits do you attribute to your academic success and making it to the Dean's List?

Lyka: Maintaining a work-life balance was crucial for me. This involved prioritizing tasks and allocating time for both study and leisure. Taking breaks and engaging in recreational activities helped me fully immerse myself in the graduate school experience. Additionally, selecting classes I was genuinely interested in facilitated making connections between subjects. Last semester, I took five seemingly different subjects but discovered I could apply learnings from one class to another, making my learning experience even more interesting.

MD Mujahid: The keys to my academic success and achieving the Dean's List involved continuously challenging myself to learn and grow, despite struggling with confidence initially. I found inspiration in the in-depth  knowledge of the professors and their enthusiastic teaching style. My engineering background and 10 years of job experience, including my current role as an Executive Engineer in Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Dhaka WASA), also played a significant role.

How do you manage your time effectively between studying, extracurricular activities, and personal life?

Lyka: Since encountering Parkinson’s Law, I've revamped my time management approach. Recognizing that work expands to fill the time allotted, I've become more efficient even amidst a busy schedule. By understanding my capabilities, I can commit better to designated time blocks for writing essays, coding, and reading papers. This allows me to compartmentalize time for other activities like organizing club workshops, playing Ultimate Frisbee twice a week, and even attending church in Seoul every Sunday.

MD Mujahid: Navigating study, extracurriculars, and personal life is like solving a puzzle. I strategically planned each day, harmonizing study sessions, activities, and self-care moments.  It was a constant juggle, but mastering this balance enriched my school journey, fostering both academic success and personal fulfillment.

Could you describe a particularly challenging academic situation you encountered during your journey to the Dean's List and how you overcame it?

Lyka: Recognizing my business background's potential biases in understanding economics and development, I adopted a new perspective. I shifted my mindset towards economics more intentionally by defining unfamiliar terms as I read them through papers and participating in class discussions. This approach not only affirmed my understanding but more importantly helped me acknowledge what I do not know so I can work on it, ultimately leading to an open-minded learning experience.

MD Mujahid: One challenging aspect of reaching the Dean's List was overcoming my initial lack of confidence and adjusting to a new academic environment. Transitioning from engineering to public policy and management was challenging, but through active engagement in class, seeking guidance from professors, and drawing on my prior job experience, I gradually built confidence and adapted to academic demands. This experience reinforced my resilience and determination to succeed.

Looking ahead, how do you plan to leverage your Dean's List recognition and academic achievements as you pursue your future academic and career goals?

Lyka: More than as an achievement, the Dean’s List serves as a reminder of values and efforts invested! I aim to continue finding joy in learning and making meaningful connections to learn from others as means to pursue excellence in my studies.

MD Mujahid: In the future, I'll use my Dean's List recognition to advance academically and professionally. It confirms my ability to excel in challenging environments. I aim to further strengthen my academic credentials and pursue opportunities in development policy to address socio-economic challenges, drawing on my learnings from KDI School.

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ALI, Qamer

2023 Fall / MDP / Pakistan

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