Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)



Country: Japan

Name: Haruko Nakao

Company: Institute for Transport Studies 

Position: PhD student 

ITS Course: MSc Transport planning, 2016

What have you been doing since finishing your studies? What are you doing in terms of your career?

After the submission of my dissertation, I’ve continued my dissertation topic in University of Canterbury, NZ for two months. Then, start my PhD study from January 2017 in ITS.

What company are you working for, what is your role and what does it involve?

I’m doing PhD research in ITS, University of Leeds

What experiences at Leeds do you think have particularly helped with your career/will help with your future career?

Through MSc Transport Planning, I could obtain deeper and wider understanding of transport related issues from a diverse perspective including modelling, social science, and economics. Since my background is in Civil Engineering, getting to see transport from different perspectives helped me to rethink about what is transport and what is mobility. This experience influenced when I considered my PhD subject. Also, since Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) is culturally very diverse community, I experienced very interesting, thought-provoking and enjoyable interaction with my course mates. I could make a strong global network throughout my masters course and it will definitely help my future career after my PhD.

Looking back, why did you choose to study your particular course and why did you choose the University of Leeds?

The reason why I chose ITS was because ITS was globally famous as one of the best transport research centres in the world. Besides, I was planning to do a PhD after my master’s course and my undergraduate dissertation supervisor knew Prof Dave Watling in ITS who is now my current supervisor and he recommended me to do PhD study under his supervision. For me, a masters course was preparation for my PhD study as well as an opportunity to get better knowledge and insight of transport studies.

What was the best aspect of the course/the University and why? Any highlights?

The best aspect of the course was the high quality of lectures and course works. The structure of the lectures was organised very well. In addition, by doing coursework and attending lectures, I could gain solid understanding of transport issues. Also, all the staff were really friendly and supportive. I didn’t feel any hesitation or difficulty to get any help when I faced a problem.

What other activities outside of your studies were you involved in?

I focused on my study very much, so I could not manage to participate other activities. However, ITS gave me plenty of opportunities to get to know Leeds as a city and transport system in Europe and socialize with ITS staff and PhD students.

What would you say to students thinking about studying the same course at Leeds/thinking about the same career?

I’m confident that ITS is the right place to study master course for your academic and professional carrier. You are required to do a lot of hard work, and especially it is not easy for international students to study and get used to a new environment at the same time. However, if you need any help, you can always reach support easily. Just be ready for a hard work, do your best, and enjoy the whole experience with your course mates!