Seven Questions with... Maciej Respekta

This week we meet BSc Economics and Georgraphy student, Maciej Respekta, who shares her experience of being a Laidlaw Scholar.

Why are you interested in this subject and what do you plan to do in the future?

BSc Economics and Geography is an interdisciplinary course which exposes students to mathematical rigour of economic theory and the comprehensiveness of geography. I find it really stimulating. Economics prepares me well for complex problem-solving and geography raises awareness of the problems our society faces or will be facing in the future.

My course got me interested in policy-making and development strategy. Ideally I would like to work for OECD, which would demand applying the combination of economic research and regional policy analysis. But I will definitely continue working with Jagiellonian Foundation on educational projects in my home region.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve done, seen or got involved with while at UCL?

The Laidlaw Scholarship and Leadership Programme helps you get the best out of UCL. The scholarship program boosts your self-confidence in a magical way, especially if you do your own, self-proposed project. I was given support to develop a project on social capital and its economic pay-off.

As part of my research, I have met people who have had a great impact, like those who have designed a decentralisation reform in Poland in 1990s. I attended conferences in different places, like Warsaw, Pozna? and mountainous Muczne, where I witnessed multi-level governance and talks about the practice of regional policy-making. However, my visit to the OECD headquarters in Paris were the most inspiring. I was happy I could do part of my research project in this great place, where you can discuss the most relevant policy issues. I’d definitely recommend applying to become a Laidlaw Scholar. 

Read about Chris Cullen, Project Manager for The Laidlaw Scholarship and Leadership programme.

Have you discovered any hidden gems during your time at UCL?

A small garden behind a student house on 89 Gower Street. It’s a neglected place, but somehow excellent for sitting back and relaxing.

Give us your top three things to do/see/go to in London:

  • Get some after-party food at Duck & Waffle at sunrise.
  • Ballet at the Royal Opera House is a must-see.
  • Fuckoffee on Bermondsey Street. Lovely, hipster cafe to have fun and study.

If you were Provost for the day what one thing would you do?

I would go for a beer. All successful projects depend on good social relationships.

Who inspires you and why?

My father and his silly life tips. When I failed my first interview, he told me that the most important thing in life is to have fun. He knew best how to take the pressure off.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I have read all of the many books by my favourite economist Joseph Stiglitz, even though he keeps writing about the same ideas most of the time. Total waste of time, but I cannot help it.


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