Find out what our alumni think of the Advanced Master in Political Economy

 

Adam Freedman

Research Analyst, Bank Policy Institute

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Why did you choose this Advanced Master in Political Economy?
I had studied political science and economics separately in undergrad, and became really interested in where these two disciplines intersect. I knew that I wanted to accelerate my career by going to grad school, and I chose this program because it sounded the most intellectually stimulating and offered an intimate classroom setting with world renowned economics professors and policy practitioners. In addition, I knew that building out my statistical analysis and programming skills would be useful in getting my next job, and this program offered that.

2) Talking about your own experience, what have been the main benefits of this program?
The main benefit of this program was being trained to “think” like a political economist. When I read about policy developments in the news or discuss them with peers, I naturally find myself applying economic concepts and arguments, all while understanding the politics at work and the institutional constraints. It’s an impressive skill set, one that will stay with you long after your final exams, papers, and projects.

3) Tell us about one of the courses and/or a professor who made a strong impression on you. What did you learn from it/him/her?
John Rogers, who taught Open Economy Macroeconomics at GU and works at the Federal Reserve Board, went above and beyond to help students feel equipped as economic analysts. As an expert in his field, he truly wanted students to get as much out of the course as possible. He pushed me to understand complex economic papers and methodologies, while the homework assignments enabled me to build my programming skills.

4) What kind of key personal and professional skills do you feel you have acquired during this year?
The intensiveness and broad scope of this degree instilled me with the tools to unpack complicated political and economic issues while being mindful of the different approaches in the US and Europe. I have also grown more comfortable facing a steep learning curve — whether that be a new programming application, an unfamiliar economic concept, or simply living in a foreign city. Though my French and Flemish pronunciations often failed, perhaps I grew the most by branching out and becoming friends with other international students who, like me, came to call Brussels a second home.

5) What is your job position?
I got a job at the Bank Policy Institute, a trade association of leading banks operating in the US. They primarily do regulatory and legislative advocacy, although I’m working for their two PhD economists on the research team as a Research Analyst.

6) In which way was your master instrumental to obtain your current job?
I wouldn’t have been able to obtain this job without this masters. Of course, the data analysis skills and understanding of micro/macroeconomics are directly relevant to my position. But perhaps more importantly, I think the uniqueness of this degree really set me apart as an applicant. People are simply curious as to what this dual degree is all about, and I’m eager to tell them.

7) Please describe your Solvay and Georgetown experience in one sentence.
There are no more interesting places to study political economy than Washington D.C. and Brussels.

Alexandra Campana

Office of Management and Budget,
Executive Office of President

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The program taught me a new way to think about the intersection of public policy and economics.

It forced me to dive deeper into the intersection of the two and changed my understanding of how, and often times why, certain policy decisions are made. It was an all around amazing experience and has helped me excel in my career.

Devyn Jeffereis

Product Manager, Kobre & Kim

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Talking about your own experience, what have been the main benefits of this program?
I feel the primary benefit of this advanced master is the caliber of professors. This program contains both practitioners and academics who are at the top of their field and specialty. We learned from a variety of professors from top-level economists at the Fed and ECB to game theorists and political economists that are widely published and respected within the field. It is very rare that you are taught about theories and policies from professors who helped craft them and, in this program, you have that opportunity across many economic and political subjects. Also, not only were these professors engaging inside the classroom, they truly invested in the success of their students. I had many in-depth discussions during office hours about topics of interests and career opportunities. In fact, I still keep in contact with many of them today.

2) Why did you choose this Advanced Master in Political Economy?
I chose this program because I knew it would provide me with the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. Although I had a variety of different programs to choose from, the international component really set this program apart. I felt that by getting a different perspective from European professors and combining that with a US experience, it would make me a more well-rounded Economist. Reflecting back on this decision it is clear that this program far exceeded that goal!

3) Tell us about one of the courses and/or a professor who made a strong impression on you. What did you learn from it/him/her?
One of my favorite professors was Michele Lenza, who taught the monetary policy portion of our Macroeconomics class. He is currently one of the Heads of Monetary Policy research at the ECB and is a ULB alumni. I recall many engaging conversations with him about different monetary economic models and breaking ECB news. One of my favorite trips we took was to Frankfurt to attend lectures organized by Prof. Lenza, which included different ECB sections presenting their group’s recent research. The day culminated with our attending a lecture featuring Peter Praet, a member of the Executive Board of the ECB and fellow ULB alumni. Michele and I still keep in touch and I look forward to a possible stop in Frankfurt during my next trip to Europe to catch up with him.

4) What kind of key personal and professional skills do you feel you have acquired during this year?
Often economic theory tends to take many assumptions for granted such as full information, operating in autarky, etc., however the real world rarely reflects these assumptions. This program takes the added step of giving students an understanding of outside forces that clean economic models ignore. I am now able to apply both a global perspective and an analytical approach that combines economic theory with real-world reality.

5) What is your job position?
I currently work in Business Development and Strategy at Kobre & Kim, an international law firm specializing in financial fraud and misconduct. I act as an advisor to the legal teams regarding different market opportunities stemming from changes in legal, regulatory, and political environments. I believe that the international perspective and research skills I gained during this program enhanced my preparation for this role. I have brought to my current position many tools that I acquired from projects conducted throughout the program analyzing markets on both the macro and micro level. Most importantly, since much of this program focuses on confounding factors and their influence on economic theories in real life, I am able to apply this understanding to changes in markets and the impact of those changes across the globe.

6) In which way was your master instrumental to obtain your current job?
Since my company operates internationally, the familiarity I have with global markets was a strong selling point. Even during my interviews, I was able to recall my experiences traveling throughout Europe and learning from professors from various backgrounds. Also, the Career Center at Georgetown helped me throughout the application and interview process, from editing cover letters to interview preparation.

7) Please describe your Solvay and Georgetown experience in one sentence.
A learning opportunity both inside and outside the classroom that provided a unique and rewarding experience.

Kyle Blocher

Business Development Analyst,
Community Solar Group Clearway Energy

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Tell us about one of the courses and/or a professor who made a strong impression on you. What did you learn from it/him/her?
The microeconomics course which kicked the program off ended up setting the tone for the remainder of the year. Program director Dr. Micael Castanheira and behavioral economist Dr. Georg Kirchsteiger structured the course such that each student applied the concepts covered in the course to a specific industry of their choosing. This made it easy for me to fully engage with the subject matter and become all the more invested in my final work product. What’s more, Drs. Castanheira and Kirchsteiger were highly accessible and exceptionally invested in my and each of the other students’ success.

2) Why did you choose this Advanced Master in Political Economy?
For me, the decision was simple. I chose the Master in Political Economy to gain the perspective that comes with studying the multi-faceted field of political economy in each of the two premier political capitals of the western world.

3) Talking about your own experience, what have been the main benefits of this program?
By allowing me to examine familiar topics through multiple cultural and disciplinary lenses, the program provided a framework of analytical thinking which is widely applicable in nearly all facets of life. Also, I was able to visit twelve countries across Eurasia while based in Belgium, including program sponsored trips to the European Central Bank in Frankfort and OECD headquarters in Paris!

4) What kind of key personal and professional skills do you feel you have acquired during this year?
Adaptability. In studying a diverse curriculum taught by numerous brilliant professors from two world-class institutions, I had the opportunity to study under a number of circumstances. By gaining such a wide range of experiences in just twelve months, I am now more adaptable to different environments such that I can take better advantage of new opportunities and respond to new challenges.

5) What is your job position?
I am a Business Development Analyst in the Community Solar group at Clearway Energy, one of the largest renewable energy companies in the US.

6) In which way was your master instrumental to obtain your current job?
As alluded to above, the microeconomics course which was offered out of the gate allowed me to gear my studies towards the electric power sector. I would go on to study energy and environmental economics and policy more deeply for the remainder of the program. Energy markets broadly, and the market for community solar specifically are incredibly unique in the economic and political forces at play. By allowing me to focus my studies in a deliberate way, the program enabled me to obtain a job which required industry-specific work experience which I lacked but made up for with the depth of knowledge I gained while at Solvay and Georgetown.
Above all, the Master in Political Economy is what you make of it. For me, it was an avenue into the industry I had found most interesting from day one of the program

7) Please describe your Solvay and Georgetown experience in one sentence.
Truly unique!

John Gaffney

 

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What kind of key personal and professional skills do you feel you have acquired during this year?
The Master in Political Economy gave me the academic confidence to take on any problem.  The many tools learned from an education in political economy can by applied to solve a range of problems far larger than I would have known before this year, and I now feel prepared to analyze any issue – no matter how challenging – and use what I’ve learned to understand the dynamics at play and reach a solution that’s both feasible and practical.  In addition, spending a year between Brussels and D.C. ensures that you’ll spend significant time immersed in a foreign culture, opening your world and expanding your horizons.  For me, living in Belgium meant that I never stopped learning, even outside the classroom.

2) Why did you choose this Advanced Master in Political Economy?
I chose this Master in Political Economy because it offered the unparalleled opportunity to study at the center of both European and American decision-making from professors who are the best in the field.  I wanted to gain a deeper understanding about the interactions between economic theory and the political challenges facing our world today, and the program emphatically exceeded all expectations.

3) Talking about your own experience, what have been the main benefits of this program?
The program ties the study of cutting-edge research and academic advancements to challenges facing society today, and the economic tools learned in class are always taught with tangible real-world applications.  While the academic benefits are evident from the quality of the institutions and the professors, the cultural and personal benefits were also far vaster than I could have imagined – living on another continent for two semesters introduced me to new friends, experiences, and perspectives that have widely expanded my perception of the world in ways that a master’s program solely in America never could.

4) Tell us about one of the courses and/or a professor who made a strong impression on you. What did you learn from it/him/her?
The course in Macroeconomics featured many of characteristics common throughout our classes that made the program so great – in the first half of the course, we learned theoretical models from a leading economic researcher that dealt with salient political issues affecting American and European governments, while the second half of the course was taught by an economist at the European Central Bank who was able to bring his expertise and experience working in the field to show us how economics is applied in practice.  This blending of academic economics and practical applications was not unique to our Macro course – it was a theme present throughout the program, and it was but one of many attributes of the program that really stood out in letting me know that this Master was truly giving us a deep understanding of political economy.

5) Please describe your Solvay and Georgetown experience in one sentence.
Deciding to enroll in the Political Economy Master was the best decision of my life!