Alumni Services

Michael Iveson

Following his Edinburgh degree in Economics, Michael Iveson has been studying for his Masters in London. He tells us about being the first in his family to attend university, and how the Edinburgh community has supported him in the past year.


Michael Iveson

Degree Economics
Year of graduation 2020
Michael Iveson

At the moment

I am currently studying a postgraduate degree: MSc Development Economics at SOAS University of London. I am producing a dissertation and I am expecting to graduate in September 2021. I have really enjoyed my Master’s degree programme and have been very fortunate to have had this opportunity during this difficult year.

Your time at the University

Playing sport and making friends in the football club helped me settle very well in Edinburgh and definitely shaped my broader university experience as a whole.

I am the first member of my family to go to university and moving to a new city proved fairly challenging. I opted to study Economics at Edinburgh because I loved the city and it was my favourite subject at school; I didn’t think much more into it than that but I was fortunate that during my time at university I was exposed to a variety of new opportunities through economics that I didn’t know existed. I am currently pursuing a career in development economics, which I was motivated to begin after exploring similar themes at Edinburgh and this pushed me towards my current Master’s programme.

I studied abroad at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill during my third year and this was an amazing opportunity that I am very grateful for. Studying towards my Edinburgh degree with exposure to different methods of teaching and diverse ranges of people on a different continent has shaped my academic perspectives significantly, as well as contributing to my own personal growth.

During my time at Edinburgh I was an active member of the University's men’s football club, from which I have lots of great memories, travelled around Scotland and meeting some fantastic people with whom I maintain contact as close friends. Playing sport and making friends in the football club helped me settle very well in Edinburgh and definitely shaped my broader university experience as a whole.

Your experiences since leaving the University

Since leaving Edinburgh I have pursued a postgraduate degree in order to specialise in the area of my undergraduate degree that has interested me the most. I have been living in London which has been difficult in the current climate, but I am fortunate that I have a number of friends from my time in Edinburgh who remain in London and we have been able to keep each other right during the many difficulties that come with remote working, lockdowns and seasonal changes. I am currently working towards my career goal of working in international development and, through my time at Edinburgh, have been able to build a strong profile for interviews and applications that has been rewarding so far.

Edinburgh has a strong reputation internationally and I have definitely benefitted strongly from this in my studies and also in the professional world, which has also given me further appreciation for the education and experiences I had at Edinburgh. Even with a lot of uncertainty in life at the moment, I am often reassured that my undergraduate experience has kept me grounded and level-headed when making important decisions and I am also grateful for those around me who support me in these important times.

Life during Covid-19

Covid-19 has been overwhelming to say the least; constantly living in uncertainty is difficult, particularly when a large share of my career goals involve gaining work experience abroad. The pandemic actually motivated me to bring my master’s degree forward one year, when I had initially planned to complete it after a year of work experience. I have been very fortunate that I have been able to live comfortably while studying and work hard without too many disruptions, which is something I am very grateful for and understand how lucky I am that I have not had major disruptions during the pandemic.

The Edinburgh community

I have used Platform One regularly and this has been great for building relationships with other alumni, many of whom were in my position not so long ago. It is very reassuring to hear their experiences and I know that they can provide great advice and guidance during my pursuit of my career goals. Maintaining these relationships and also connections to Edinburgh gives me a great sense of community and I look forward to being a more active member of this community when I settle in my own career.

Alumni Wisdom

Honestly, don’t worry about it. Your success is defined by the work that you put in. If you make a conscious effort to build relationships, prepare for interviews, work hard, consider the short-term and long-term implications of your decisions, you will be rewarded. Sometimes it can be difficult to see the bigger picture and that things won’t fall into place – keep the right people around you and put in the work because you will see the results of your actions. Uncertainty is fine, embrace it and use it to propel yourself forward. Honestly, don’t worry about it. 

Related links

School of Economics