A frozen landscape with a penguin to the left of the image.

Ko Sakamoto

I serve the countries of Asia and the Pacific in my role as Transport Economist at the Asian Development Bank. Since 2015 my focus is on Central and West Asia, namely Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. I also support regional cooperation between countries under the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) program. Prior to this, I was part of a team that supports sector-wide coordination and knowledge management at ADB. There, I provided direct operational support for various projects; planned and executed technical assistance, training and major events; and liaised with key development partners to promote interagency coordination.

Doing my MA in Transport Economics at ITS gave me a good grounding in the principles behind the subject that I now apply in my day-to-day work. The Transport in Development module opened up my eyes to how transport can heavily contribute to the social and economic development of a country. What I learned there still motivates me today.

I chose my ITS course and the University of Leeds after thorough consideration of various courses offered by several universities around the world, I easily came to the conclusion that ITS was parallel to none!

My advice to students interested in this course and a career in transport is that there is much demand in the world for sound transport projects. If you choose this career and work hard, I think you would be heavily rewarded in terms of job satisfaction.

The employer visits to ITS are an excellent opportunity to get to know potential employers and for them to get to know you. I found my first real job out of University this way. In addition, my professors gave me frank and objective advice, which allowed me to choose the right career for myself. I am forever thankful to them.

I think the highlight of my career so far is being able to work with so many talented colleagues from across the world, in a field that I truly enjoy working in.

As an international student, my advice to ITS international students who are seeking work in the transport sector is the friends you make at ITS Leeds from all over the world will remain yours forever. Even if you are spread out across the world, you are a member of the ITS community and family. I keep on bumping into ITS graduates wherever I go.