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‘A great way of ending my PhD in Development Finance at USB’ – alumnus

  • NOV 28 2018
  • Tags Development Finance, PhD, journey, alumnus

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USB alumnus Master Mushonga shares his PhD journey that led him to present on his research at the inaugural Sustainability and Development Conference (SDC) at the University of Michigan in the United States. Mushonga also completed his MPhil in Development Finance (MDevF) at USB. Here he shares his journey:

By Master Mushonga

On the 24th of October 2018 I had my successful PhD oral examination at Stellenbosch University’s main campus in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences which went very well after receiving favourable examiners’ reports. I then joined the African Development Bank (AfDB) Zimbabwe country office as a consultant at the beginning of November.

“My PhD journey was not easy but thanks to my supervisors who provided much needed guidance, USB academics, research fellows and support staff, who created the environment for me to pursue one of my many goals.”

My last research paper presentation at the inaugural Sustainability and Development Conference (SDC) at the highly reputable University of Michigan in USA on 9 to 11 November 2018 was a good ending of my PhD in Development Finance. The conference was very competitive as more than 2 200 papers were submitted with only about 535 papers accepted for the conference.

There were five Editors-in-Chief of reputable journals, which focus on sustainable development and a special issue of the top 25 papers to be published by World Development also attracted attention. More importantly, issues on how to attain Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are of interest not only to academic researchers, but also to development practitioners, policy makers and the global population at large. The conference attracted over 500 participants from 44 countries.

Sustainability and Development Conference (SDC) 2018
Master (left) pictured here with the keynote speaker for the 2018 Inaugural Conference Dr Bina Agarwal (middle) and Editor-in-Chief of World Development Arun Agrawal.

I presented my paper titled “Social and financial efficiency (sustainability) of co-operative financial institutions: Evidence from South Africa” on the first session of the first day of presentation. In my session I was among the first four presenters from Michigan State University, Cornell University and Harvard University. My paper was well received by the participants, with some good suggestions on how it can be improved and some pointers to areas of further research. I believed my paper benefited a lot from the feedback as participants were prepared for the conference. Besides feedback received, I also managed to establish possible future research collaborations with participants from Harvard, Michigan State, Michigan, Groningen, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Liverpool, Heidelberg and Zurich universities.

Besides forging some possible future research collaborations, I managed to have a discussion with keynote speaker Dr Bina Agarwal from the University of Manchester and University of Cambridge, who deliver a presentation titled “Gender inequality and food security: How far can SDG 5 take us?”. Her presentation showed evidenced that suggest that co-operative (group) farming is associated with improved food security and income for individual smallholder farmers compared to individual farming. Her findings received a lot of interest from participants on the power of co-operatives in improving resilience and livelihoods in smallholder farming.

“I have no doubt in my mind that research and presentation skills we are receiving from USB is among the top universities in the world.”

After updating my research paper, I believe it will be of good (improved) quality to make it into the World Development journal though there is high competition given that only slightly below 5% (25/535) of the papers will be selected. However, I remain hopeful judging from my previous research publication experience and the guidance provided.

After attending and presenting my research papers at seven conferences during my research period at USB in the past three years, I have no doubt in my mind that research and presentation skills we are receiving from USB is among the top universities in the world.  USB’s practice of guiding emerging researchers to conduct their research and write the thesis in the form of articles for publication in high impact and top journals not only helped to disseminate the findings of one’s research, but the feedback received from PhD colloquiums and journals’ peer review process contributed greatly to the learning and publication experience. I am deeply grateful to the USB for the wonderful learning experience.

I am very much indebted to Prof Sylvanus Ikhide who activated my interest of academic research as my MPhil in Development Finance dissertation supervisor. In the past two years we have managed to convert my MPhil dissertation into a book chapter which was published in 2017 and this year we published another chapter!

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