I saw that I could apply recent learnings about the role of social conventions and ideas in human behavior to close the gaps in existing theories’ ability to explain the causes and depths of the crises.”
Chris Frederiksen and I met in Medellin, Colombia, while he was completing an internship for his undergraduate degree in International Management at the University of Nottingham. I was lucky to meet Chris; he felt driven to explore and learn. He has since worked and traveled extensively throughout Asia, Latin America, and Europe.
We talked about his experiences at the London School of Economics in his first interview. In this interview, we will learn more about how he selected and refined the focus of his dissertation. As you will see, there is a great intersection between his interests in different cultures and economics.
What was the process of selecting your dissertation at the London School of Economics? Was there a school model that you had to follow?
“We were free to choose a topic relevant to our degree and we had a semester and a half to contemplate potential topics. Then we received a deadline to meet with our tutor, who had to sign off on our chosen topic. The tutor was available to discuss methodology, theories, structure, etc. whenever we needed to.
What did the school support in terms of your dissertation? Was there a class, series of specific classes, or workshops you had to take?
We were able to book our tutors twice within the semester and if we had any further questions we could send emails. Since we had to write the thesis over the summer holidays, we could not receive face-to-face tutoring. We also had a lecture on dissertation rules and guidance for choosing a topic.”
How did you identify your dissertation?
“I asked myself a series of questions and hoped they would intersect:
- What excited me the most about political economy?
- What am I really curious about?
- And, what would I like to be an expert on?”
Did asking these questions help refine the overall product and final research conducted or did you need to do more?
“Those questions were useful in identifying the topic that interested me, but it was also important to narrow the scope of the research question to make it feasible for a dissertation. I had to break it down into sections of arguments. Here, I discovered what research would be necessary to make those arguments credible and convincing.”
What was your dissertation?
“I wanted to gain a better understanding of economics, particularly those aspects that affect society the most. I also wanted to learn more about non-western emerging markets and how they differ from markets in high-income countries. The topic I chose linked these interests — I chose to write about economic crises in emerging markets. I looked at the waves of theories explaining them and noticed that recent learnings from the financial crisis in 2007-2008 were absent.
Existing theories were predominantly based on neoclassical economics, where quantitative models perfectly explain reality. I saw that I could apply recent learnings about the role of social conventions and ideas in human behavior to close the gaps in existing theories’ ability to explain the causes and depths of the crises. I used the case of the Asian financial crisis of the ‘90s to demonstrate my points.”
Looking back, is there anything you would have changed about selecting your dissertation at the London School of Economics?
“Overall, I am happy with my choice. However, I could have spent more time contemplating different research questions within the same topic. This would have required a great deal of preliminary research and I chose to go with the first thing that felt right. The downside to that is that I might have missed something with the potential to be outstanding.
My dissertation was a great way to conclude my time at the London School of Economics. It allowed me to combine all that I had learned with a topic that I truly felt was relevant and timely. Putting this all together gave me a sense of pride about what I had accomplished at school and learned along the way.
Writing my dissertation helped me better understand the global economy. Furthermore, since I enjoy following international news and discussing where the world is heading, I am very happy that I chose to dive into the topic of emerging market crises.”
Chris is enjoying his position as a business partner working at Novo Nordisk and looks forward to many years to come. He believes that his time at the London School of Economics was well-spent. The time it took him to select, work on, and defend his dissertation aided in developing his leadership skills. Earning a master’s degree has helped him make progress on his personal goals and growth. It also allowed him to meet international friends who have significant roles at other international companies, nonprofits, and government agencies. Chris applies the skills and new ways of thinking that he gained through his master’s coursework and dissertation at the London School of Economics to his work at Novo Norvodisk by using frameworks to understand factors impacting the business beyond the market.