From left: José Manuel Cebrian Diaz-Heredero, Emmanuelle Derré, Michèle Hamel, and Moritz Degler
Now that the academic year 2016-17 is coming to an end, and the hustle and bustle is finally dying down, it is a good time to reflect on how the journey at the BGSE has been. The Voice team is glad to find out that many BGSE students of the current batch have got job offers. One of our editors, Demas Koh, met up with four students who were happy to share this piece of great news with the BGSE and the wider community: Moritz will start working at Oxford Economics (London Office) as an Assistant Economist; Emmanuelle has got an offer from The Brattle Group (London Office) as a Research Analyst; José Manuel will soon begin his role as a Research Assistant (Bank Strategy) at CaixaBank in Spain; and Michèle has been offered a traineeship at the Strategy and Institutional Relations Division of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) in Luxembourg. This post presents the full transcript of the interview with these four BGSE students.
Can you please tell us more about yourself and your background?
Moritz: I am from Germany, and I graduated from Zeppelin University where I studied Economics from a rather interdisciplinary perspective. I have done several internships – in management consulting and investment banking. I also did a research internship at the Central Bank of Estonia and worked as a research assistant at Zeppelin University. During these stints, I was becoming increasingly sure that I would subsequently pursue a Master’s in Economics, and BGSE’s programme was definitely one of my top choices.
Emmanuelle: I come from France. After graduating from high school with the French baccalaureate, I went to the UK and did a Bachelor’s degree in PPE at the University of Warwick. I am now doing the Master’s in Economics at BGSE. I used to work as a research assistant at Warwick and my supervisor was Professor Luigi Pascali, who is currently at UPF. I was working a lot on international trade and economic development.
José Manuel: I am from Madrid and I did my Bachelor’s in Economics at Carlos III. During the last year of my undergraduate education, I was working at the BNP Paribas as an investment operations assistant for a year and a half. Thereafter, I moved to London, where I did a Business course. In January 2016, I started to work as a junior economist at BBVA Research, which awarded me a full scholarship for my first Master’s in Professional Development and Business Management at CIFF Business School and Alcala University. Now at the BGSE, I am doing the Competition and Market Regulation programme.
Michèle: I am from Luxembourg. This is also my second Master’s. Before coming to the BGSE, I did a Master’s in International Relations at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. At the same university, I had also done my Bachelor’s in Political Science. During my first Master’s, I did an internship at the Embassy of Belgium in Luxembourg, where I found the combination of politics and economics really interesting. I am studying International Trade, Finance, and Development (ITFD).
What are your interests? Please describe them in two to three sentences.
Moritz: Academically, I like macro. What also fascinates me is the role of technological change and how it will affect the economy in many different ways. In my free time, I try to read more about it and follow up on things in the tech world. Apart from that, I am very interested in economic policies in the EU. I also like travelling a lot.
Emmanuelle: My academic interests are mostly related to microeconomics, especially industrial economics. I like the fact that it combines many different elements – micro, econometrics, and law. Outside of university, I like attending cultural events. For example, one of my favourite things to do is visiting museums, and being in Barcelona for close to a year has been great for this. Needless to say, London has an extensive array of cultural activities too.
José Manuel: My passion lies in strategy and competition using a quantitative framework. It is commonly assumed that the field of strategy is for MBA graduates and these graduates mostly do not employ economic and econometric analyses. There is definitely room for economists to be more involved in the strategy sector. In my free time, I enjoy doing sports, such as canoeing, surfing or playing football, as well as photography.
Michèle: I would say that I am very passionate about microeconomic policy evaluation. I guess I am also similar to Moritz in the sense that I like following European politics and reading up on EU policies. My hobbies include travelling, reading and cooking.
What have you gained from the BGSE?
Moritz: I did some applied research before beginning my Master’s here but I thought that there were gaps to fill with regard to the depth of my understanding of research methods in economics. So, academically, this year really helped me to do things in a considerably more rigorous way. I also really liked the international environment at BGSE.
Emmanuelle: Studying at BGSE enabled me to really develop and strengthen my quantitative background and to widen my knowledge of economics in general. I also really enjoyed working in groups for the weekly assignments: I was able to learn a lot from my friends. Apart from that, the international environment of BGSE enabled me to make some really good friends from all over the world.
José Manuel: At BGSE, I have applied my life philosophy, which is in accordance with this: “If I’ve seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of the best”. Here, I have enhanced my competencies in cutting-edge economic topics like competition and I have gained a solid foundation in quantitative and statistical methods thanks to a great faculty and wonderful colleagues from all around the globe – people with different points of view and tons of experience, both in their professional and personal capacities.
Michèle: This year I definitely developed strong analytical and quantitative skills in Economics and Statistics. I will really miss studying with these amazing people from all around the world.
Please tell us more about people who have inspired you.
Moritz: I definitely learned a lot from my supervisor at the Bank of Estonia, Karsten Staehr and my thesis/ research advisor at Zeppelin University, Jarko Fidrmuc with regard to applied economics research. Here at BGSE, I really enjoyed our first macro course with Manuel García-Santana.
Emmanuelle: I think two professors really inspired me to choose this career. Professor Robin Naylor at the University of Warwick made me discover and love economics in my first year of university. He made economics so intuitive, while at the same time demonstrating to us the rigour of the field. Working for Professor Luigi Pascali as a research assistant really motivated me to start a career in economics as I really liked how empirical quantitative research intertwines with theoretical knowledge.
José Manuel: There are many people who have inspired me throughout my life and I do not have enough space to mention them all so I will mention a few who were vital in shaping me into what I am today: Juanjo Dolado, Agustín Casas and Francisco Marhuenda from UC3M, the community of “No free lunch” (Nada es gratis) and last but not least, all those whose paths have crossed with mine, and made me who I am today.
Michèle: Former Belgian Ambassador and current Benelux Secretary General Thomas Antoine inspired me to pursue this Master’s. His optimistic view of the European project is also what partly convinced me to apply for the traineeship at the ESM. So starting July I can take part in the policy debates surrounding this project.
Why do you want to work at the organisation you applied for?
Moritz: First of all, I think being at Oxford Economics brings together the experiences that I like most – not only research, but also facing real-world issues in a dynamic environment. It is not very common in the private sector that one can take on an advisory role in a macroeconomic research context.
Emmanuelle: I really like competition economics. Hence, starting my career at the Brattle Group is a great opportunity. They work on very interesting cases in Europe, the US and the rest of the world. When I was interviewed by them, I was surprised at how kind and encouraging people were. Working on competition economics in a pleasant environment seems like the ideal fit for me.
José Manuel: The CaixaBank is the third largest bank in Spain. The prospect of doing research in the Bank Strategy department really attracted me. I believe I can apply all the knowledge that I have acquired, especially what I have learned at the BGSE. Moreover, I am really excited about the development of new ideas for the transition into technology banking.
Michèle: I believe that this traineeship at the ESM will be an excellent starting point for me to put into practice what I have learned so far at the BGSE – a combination of quantitative, research and analytical skills. My previous academic endeavours have also equipped me with important communication skills. I think this is the right avenue for me to consolidate my learning and hone my skills. I will also work in an international environment, very much like the BGSE, and I am looking forward to it.
Please provide a brief job description of what you will do.
Moritz: I will be in the team that covers the Eurozone, and European economics is very important to me. I am glad that I will have the opportunity to work on these issues.
Emmanuelle: I will be working as a research analyst for the London office. I will be working on various projects in competition economics, as well as doing some quantitative analysis.
José Manuel: The department of Bank Strategy analyses the competitive and regulatory environment for strategic business decisions, both nationally and internationally, while also designing and following up on the strategic plans of CaixaBank.
Michèle: During my traineeship, I will assist the Policy Strategy & Institutional Relations Team. The division maintains relations with Member States and international institutions. Moreover, it does research on further euro area integration, regional financial arrangement and rating issues.
What advice can you give to future job applicants? How have you prepared for the application process?
Moritz: BGSE organises lots of recruiting events and I would definitely recommend taking advantage of that.
Emmanuelle: I think that the BGSE career centre was a very supportive platform to prepare for my job interviews, to get advice for my CV and cover letter. Magda and Laurence are really helpful and encouraging; they know a lot about micro consulting. Attending the companies’ presentations was also helpful to prepare for interviews and you could even write about it in your cover letter. For example, you could talk about your first-hand encounters with the company.
José Manuel: BGSE is educating many excellent professionals-to-be, so if you really want to be at the top, you have to be honest with yourself and show that sincerity and ambition to the world.
Michèle: I would say find out the most you can about any company you apply to via their website, news reports or other sources. Also, I would contact any BGSE alumni, for example via LinkedIn, that have worked or are currently working at your company of interest.
Finally, where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Moritz: I think it’s most important to stay curious, open-minded and to make sure to do things right. In the medium term, I could see myself either going more in a quant / tech direction or towards the analysis of economic policy and investment, specifically in the EU. Actually, finding meaningful answers on how to connect these two fields in the near future is also something I find very appealing.
Emmanuelle: Working at Brattle will definitely give me the chance to encounter many opportunities professionally. I am sure that in five years’ time, I will enjoy doing microeconomics consulting at Brattle even more!
José Manuel: Who knows? What is sure is that I will be working hard to do what I really like and I hope to grow professionally and personally by working alongside top economists.
Michèle: In general, I would like to use the next couple of years to gain as much experience as I can in order to then take up the responsibility of managing a team.