Message from Graduates
MOHAMAD ASHRAY FARRAH SHAMEEN (Graduated September, 2020)
My doctoral journey at Meiji University is probably different from many other students as I also completed my master’s programme at Meiji University. Reflecting, I could conclude from both my postgraduate and doctoral degree is quite surreal. I completed my masters in March 2011, and no graduation ceremonies were held due to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. In the chaos Covid-19 pandemic, I had a graduation ceremony via a Zoom call from Malaysia instead of the Liberty tower in September 2020.
A PhD is not for the faintest of hearts, and I think every one of the doctoral students comes into the program not knowing the full impact of that statement. It is a previous experience for me, and I believe being part of the long legacy of Meiji University played a significant role in contributing to the knowledge that I received. Looking back, I am lucky in many ways that I have chosen to study where the whole university is the support system for the student’s wellbeing and success. I am thankful to Professor Kanemura and Professor Minamoto for their continuous support, exemplary perseverance and passion in their work. Other than that, Meiji University is in the heart of Tokyo, where culture, technology, modernisation, tradition, knowledge, ethnicities and minds, meet, converge and clash, making it the best place to study, especially if you are researching ‘society’. The university infrastructure is fair, especially when many other universities and university libraries around where the academic exchanges in English are available. My research interest is social welfare, and studying in Japan and living within the Japanese community and social structure proved to be a valuable experience for me. I was able to be a student, a member of the community and be an observer at the same time.
Choosing the right school, area of research and supervisor is crucial. Spend time to do some research and communicating before selecting the school and supervisor. Spend lots of time engaging with other students and academics. There are also many online platforms for learning to enrich learning, writing and thinking processes. If you are an international student, I recommend having some basic or intermediate Japanese language level because the medium outside the classroom is still mainly Japanese.
To prospective students to the Graduate School of Global Governance, best of luck.
DO NGOC KIEN (Graduated September, 2020)
I have been working as an economic lecturer at the flagship Foreign Trade University (Vietnam). One of my main duty is to carry out empirical studies on economics and public policy for estimating policy impacts and proposing policy recommendation. When pursuing the master’s degree of public economics at Hitotsubashi University, I usually had insightful discussions with my colleagues at Meiji University’s Graduate School of Governance Studies about Vietnamese economic policies. From such discussions, I soon recognized the interdisciplinary nature of research on public policy of which economic analysis and results of governance studies must be met to generate effective public policies. That is the reason why I decided to apply for a position in the doctoral program at Meiji University’s Graduate School of Global Governance.
I always view my enlightening years at Meiji’s Graduate School of Global Governance as the time I was at the centroid of the interdisciplinary triangle: economics, governance studies and public policy. At Meiji University, I got to immerse myself in an international environment where I learned how to think globally and study locally. Discussions with colleagues from all different parts of the world opened my eyes significantly to the local views of economic policies. My research topic is how to deal with rural marginalization - a popular phenomenon over the world attracting significant attention in regional planning, rural development initiatives, rural sociology, and rural policy studies. The main conclusion of my study is that: rural marginalization is not destiny. Instead, economic well-being improvement in rural areas is still possible even under industrialization strategies in the case of Vietnam. Rural areas have their own potential that can be translated into sustainable development. Among them are efficient potential of non-farm diversification and endogenous potential embedded in the social structure of rural community, namely social capital.
To be successful, I advise all prospective candidates to look for the most suitable supervisor in their field. I found myself lucky to be supervised by Prof. Yuriko Minamoto. Not only her guidance but also her competence and intelligence have greatly inspired me to initiate new ideas and learn new econometric techniques to complete my empirical studies. My best memory about her is the time when we discussed philosophies of development, and how we – as researchers – help to formulate better public policies and make this world a better place to live. The huge support from the academic and administrative staff at Meiji University also facilitated my time there. Different from the master’s program, you cannot swim alone in the doctoral one.