Andres is a Policy Analyst in the OECD.
This is a short story of career change in which the MPA had a pivoting role…
Before joining the MPA I worked as economic analyst for investment banking and led an economic research team in a trust fund in Colombia. I was certainly not bad professionally speaking, but I felt the need to work on greater (let’s say global) issues and open the scope and the impact of my tasks. To trigger this career change, I decided to join the MPA, by doing a first year in Sciences Po and a second in LSE. I chose LSE because of the top academics, the variety of courses and the networking opportunities.
Two particular aspects from the MPA were instrumental to build my new professional path. On the one hand, the large range of courses available across LSE helped me supplement the core MPA courses with specialised topics (in my case, regional development) and to meet professors on my field of interest. On the other hand, the capstone project allowed me to get in touch with private and public organisations while producing a research document for policy advice – through a very similar process that at to my current job.
Today my work is very much focused on research (desktop and field visits), drafting and delivering policy recommendation on rural development to different levels of government. Thanks to my capstone project and my work as research assistant with a professor at LSE, I could open the doors into the OECD. I have been working in this international organisation since my graduation from the MPA. The research method and the quantitative and drafting skills acquired during the MPA have been key for my career progression inside my team at the OECD. While international organisations are increasingly demanding PHD students for research purposes, the tools the MPA provides allowed me to stand out with a profile that bridges the academic and business/policy world, which is very useful for public policy matters.
I would say to any incoming student that the MPA and LSE offer all the tools for a successful academic and career development, but it is much up to you to decide your field of focus and the skills you want to develop. This is not easy, but much needed. Clarifying your objectives on time will allow you to make the most of your experience during the Master’s and thus build a strong profile for the aftermath. Furthermore, the opportunity to take courses outside the MPA and the variety of professors’ profile are great opportunities to expand your network and build your own unique mix of knowledge.