Thomas says: “The skills I gained at Leeds are what enabled me to apply successfully for this job. My role is to offer economic advisory services to government – including senior government officials – and to process the Bank’s loans and grants in aid of growth and development reforms. I also advise on public-private partnerships and issues of public and corporate governance. The skills I acquired at Leeds make me feel confident enough to eventually start my own international consultancy firm offering economic, financial, and business development services.”
“My academic qualifications have obviously assisted me in my current role. But more importantly are the professional tenets I learnt from my PhD supervisors; hard work, being a good communicator - communicating timely and diplomatically - persistence, and always being sure of what one is writing about, ‘your piece should always be tight leaving no room for unnecessary criticism’ they used to advise.”
Coming from a much warmer climate Thomas says he and his wife struggled to cope with some aspects of life in Britain: “At first, it was hard coping with the weather. Coming from a tropical country, Malawi, the English weather was too cold for my liking. I had to put on lots of warm clothes even when it was summer time – I can imagine how funny I must have looked. But with time, I got used to it. Sorting out accounts was really quick – the International Students’ Office was really helpful.
Whilst language was not much of a problem coming from a country where English is the official language, it took Thomas and his wife a while to adjust to the Yorkshire dialect. “I remember when we were just arriving at Leeds-Bradford Airport, we helped an older lady carry her bags,” he says. “She then said ‘ta, love’. My wife and I just looked at each other not knowing what response to give. We had no clue what that phrase meant. It was days before we knew the meaning. So generally the Yorkshire tongue took some time to filter in. Over time though I think my wife became more Yorkshire than Malawian!”