Robert Walker. Photo supplied.

Grasping the complexities of the policy world

16 July 2021

As Robert Walker graduates from the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy, he will not only leave with a Master of International and Development Economics under his belt, but with fond memories of the hours spent studying and engaging in lively discussions with his peers.

Ever since he completed his undergraduate degree, Robert has been captivated by international development and the idea of global efforts towards poverty reduction.

This initially led him to start working as a support staff member at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Sydney.

“The numerous projects and schemes that were being undertaken at ADB, in collaboration with other organisations, was impressive,” Robert said.

“It reaffirmed my desire to pursue a career in this industry.”

Both the Regional Director and Senior Economist at ADB encouraged Robert to pursue a master’s degree in economics.

“One of them was an alumnus of this particular degree and spoke very highly of it, encouraging me to seriously consider it as a pathway forward.”

Robert’s decision to enrol in a graduate degree at Crawford was also influenced by the School’s reputation for training and developing students into effective policy makers.

“A degree that focuses on applied use of the knowledge and skills that it teaches, prepares you for an increasingly competitive job market,” he said.

“Given the diversity most people experience over their careers, this is a highly desirable element of any graduate degree.”

“Studying at Crawford also provides you with exposure to academics involved in policy analysis and advisory roles, and allows you to grow your networks with both established and up-and-coming policy makers.”

Robert said that the academics at Crawford have been instrumental in setting him up for success.

“Whether it be pushing me to continually develop rigorous analytical skills, or by challenging my preconceptions on certain issues, my lecturers have consistently prepared me in many ways for success beyond graduation,” Robert said.

“The interest that my lecturers have shown in my own career aspirations and the progression I made has encouraged me to pursue opportunities I would not have otherwise.”

This led Robert to take up a casual research position at the ANU Australian Centre on China and the World earlier this year.

In this role, Robert provides research support to the Director of the Centre, specifically working on the geoeconomics research agenda.

Robert chose to specialise in macroeconomic policy during his graduate degree due to his keen interest in economic growth as a pathway for people to enhance their wellbeing.

“Macroeconomic policy provides an extensive coverage of the drivers of economic growth, the many ways to approach and measure it, and the complexities of aggregate economic activity,” he said.

After graduation, Robert hopes to find a position in economic policy and analysis.

“I believe gaining work experience after finishing my graduate degree will be beneficial to my continuing development,” he said.

Robert plans to eventually undertake a PhD in economics and believes his graduate degree has provided him with the tools to support his career aspirations.

“I now have a much more nuanced perspective of the many global issues we studied and how governments, organisations and people can address them,” Robert said. “Grasping the complexities of the policy world is critical for working within it.”

“I also developed a solid foundation of quantitative and qualitative analytical skills during the course of my graduate degree.”

However, for Robert, some of the most memorable experiences of his time here at Crawford were outside the classroom with his fellow students.

“The conversations I had with friends on our ‘quick’ 10-minute study breaks that would escalate into hour long discussions will always stick with me as some of the best times I had at Crawford.”

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Updated:  3 December 2022/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team