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[KDIS in the Spotlight] From KDI School to UC Irvine - A Ph.D. Journey in Economics (Dabin Song, 2021 MDP)

  • Date 2024-05-22 09:53
  • CategoryStory
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Meet Dabin Song, a recent graduate from KDI School class of 2023, who is excited to begin her Ph.D. journey in Economics at the University of California, Irvine. At KDI School, Dabin honed her skills in analyzing social issues from academic and policy perspectives, thriving in the intellectually stimulating environment. Guided by Professor Chungeun Yoon, Dabin focused on empirical research, taking advanced courses like Impact Evaluation Methods and Econometrics I. Serving as a teaching assistant for Impact Evaluation Methods and leading data analysis workshops were highlights of her time at KDIS, allowing her to connect with driven individuals and deepen her understanding of the subjects. Despite challenges, these experiences were immensely rewarding, contributing to Dabin's academic and personal growth.

How do your motivations for pursuing a Ph.D. after completing your master's degree intersect with the specific skills and experiences gained from your master's program which you believe will be advantageous in a Ph.D. program?

My time at the KDI School was a real eye-opener. I discovered not only a talent but also a deep passion for research. Finding logical answers to complex questions was challenging but truly enjoyable. So, the question for me wasn't whether to pursue a Ph.D., but when to start. Given the momentum I had built up, jumping straight into a Ph.D. seemed like the natural next step. I wanted to keep up the academic pace, so I didn't hesitate to apply right after my master's degree. Moreover, the people at the KDI School - both the faculty and my fellow mates - had a tremendous impact on my academic and personal development. The faculty were always approachable and eager to provide guidance and opportunities. My peers, many of whom were mid-career professionals from around the world, brought a wealth of experience that enriched our discussions and broadened my understanding. These interactions not only enhanced my professional knowledge but also occasionally sparked new research ideas.

Can you discuss how your research interests have evolved throughout your academic career and outline your plans for contributing to your field through doctoral research?

My focus has been on labor and development economics since my Bachelor's in International Studies. Exposure to socio-economic challenges in developing countries solidified my commitment to aiding underprivileged communities. I see research as vital for understanding labor dynamics, crucial for national development. My strategy involves addressing big questions by tackling smaller, specific ones, contributing brick by brick to my area of expertise. My diverse background enriches the field of economics.

Do you plan to continue your master's research in your Ph.D. program?

Absolutely. My master’s research focused on the relationship between national festivities and household finances, starting with a curiosity about the broader impact of holidays on society. For my Ph.D., I plan to further explore how national holidays affect labor productivity and to broaden the scope to include various labor market issues such as work-life balance. Also, the economic impact of national festivities is relatively unexplored and holds a lot of potential for groundbreaking research.

How do you plan to balance coursework, research, and other commitments during your Ph.D. studies?

Balancing the intense demands of a Ph.D. program is no small feat. Thanks to a fellowship I received for my first year, I will be able to focus on my coursework and qualifying exams without much distraction. In addition, I plan to establish a disciplined daily routine and carefully balance my academic, personal, and health commitments to keep everything on track.

What are your career aspirations post-Ph.D., and what personal and professional growth are you aiming for through your doctoral studies?

I aspire to be an economics professor, engaging students with both teaching and ongoing research. Simultaneously, I aim to collaborate with international organizations as an economist, applying my research to address real-world challenges globally. Personally, I seek to satisfy my intellectual curiosity and enhance my analytical abilities. Professionally, I strive to become a respected leader in economics, driving academic and practical advancements. Ultimately, I hope to reflect on my career with pride, knowing that my contributions have made a positive impact, no matter how modest.

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WANGMO, Tashi

2023 Fall / MDP / Bhutan

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