Dian Maya Safitri, a 2019 Chevening Scholar, shares why she chose to study Public Policy at London School of Economics (LSE), and how her experience is bringing her closer to realising her dream of reducing inequality in Indonesia.
What are your short and long-term career goals?
There are large disparities between those who have access to knowledge and education in Indonesia, and those who don’t. As education increasingly takes place online, a situation that has been compounded by COVID-19, my goal is to ensure educational content is accessible to all children, regardless of their background, ability level or living conditions.
That is why I plan to work for the Indonesian government as a Policy Specialist within the next five years. My goal is to help make sound, inclusive, ethical policies through robust research and discussion, to ensure educational content is produced and available for all Indonesian children longing for an education.
In the longer term, my dream is to facilitate collaborative working between the UK and ASEAN decision-makers.
By establishing a ‘behavioural decision-making hub’ in Indonesia, a digital platform similar to the UK government’s Nudge Unit, I hope to build capacity within government to use behavioural insights to inform policy-making and deliver positive change for the people and communities of Indonesia.
To succeed, I know I’ll need to learn how to think strategically, inspire others, develop excellent communication skills and understand how to develop and implement public policy.
Why did you choose to study Public Policy at LSE?
With its quality teaching, plentiful networking opportunities and a world-class reputation for consistently being amongst the top universities in the world, LSE was my first choice when deciding which university to study at.
What most appealed to me about the Public Policy Master’s course was its relevance to my career goals, and the combination of modules on offer within the course.
Modules such as ‘Quantitative methods for public policy’, ‘Economics’, and ‘Political science for public policy’ ensure that my technical knowledge of creating and implementing public policy are up to scratch. But it was the ethical modules and the soft skills I will continue to develop – such as communication, presentation and decision-making skills – that particularly attracted me to this course.
My favourite classes are ‘communications in public policy and ‘decision making in public policy’. My communications class is taught by Delia Lloyd, a former employee at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the world’s oldest and largest national broadcaster.
The ‘decision-making in public policy’ class is facilitated by behavioural scientist Dr Barbara Fasolo and her team. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn from someone who is as passionate about how to effectively and ethically influence people’s behaviour as I am. Through role-playing in class, I am also developing my presentation skills, which will be crucial in my career to persuade government policymakers to consider my policy suggestions.
We have also participated in ‘bystander training’ which I found extremely worthwhile. The training focussed on teaching us how to create inclusive, respectful working environments. As future policymakers, we were trained in how to be sensitive to cultural, racial, and gender differences in society, which was particularly inspiring.
Finally, in addition to what I have learnt, I have also benefitted from the networking and friendships I’ve made on my course. Twelve of my classmates are Chevening scholars from various nationalities and a diverse range of professional backgrounds including journalism, law, physics and engineering.
Weekly events facilitated by the university have featured guests such as Economics Nobel Prize winner Esther Duflo and Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
It’s comforting to know that when I return home, I’ll become a part of the LSE alumni network. LSE conducts regular alumni events and provides us with access to the alumni community both online and in person at local LSE alumni groups.
I’m extremely excited to take the skills I have learnt and use them to secure a job in public policy. My experience at LSE has made me feel better equipped and more passionate than ever to help reduce inequality in Indonesia.