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The University of Southampton
Modern Languages and LinguisticsPart of Humanities

David Fleming MA Transnational Studies, 2008

International Development Consultant

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Hi, I'm David Fleming and I studied MA Transnational Studies within Modern Languages at the University of Southampton.

I would highly recommend this course to anybody interested in gaining a deep understanding of some of the most important issues affecting our lives as global citizens.

I work as a consultant in international development. The company I work for, Itad, specialises in conducting evaluations for governments and development agencies worldwide to assess the impact of programmes across a range of sectors on reducing poverty and vulnerability, and on increasing resilience and sustainability. We do this by gathering evidence on impact through robust social science research designs to help donor agencies understand what works in international development and why. I myself specialise in evaluation in fragile and conflict-affected states in Africa and helping donors understand how programmes can be designed and implemented better to reduce the risk of conflict, reduce fragility and have a greater impact on the lives of those living in conflict. My work involves designing rigorous evaluation methodologies, conducting interviews and focus groups with stakeholders and programme beneficiaries worldwide, and writing reports summarising our evaluation findings and recommendations for programme staff, donors and policy makers.

The multi-disciplinary nature of the course was really useful in preparing me to think about issues relating to globalisation and development from a number of perspectives. Also, the strong emphasis on research methods in preparing us for the dissertation has served me well in my current role which is heavily focused on mixing qualitative and quantitative methods.


My advice to new students

Read as much and as widely as possible and don't be afraid to go off-topic if you think it's relevant; try to think about your dissertation topic as early as possible by thinking about what questions interest you about how people, cultures and capital interact in our globalised society; choose essay and dissertation questions that really interest you but are also topical and could open up further study later in life; try out a range of research methods in your work and try to keep as much variety as possible in what you study as this will have massive benefits when it comes to writing job applications and having a versatile CV!

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