Manuel Hoff, IBEI alumni 2012-2013
1. Why did you choose the IBEI Master’s in International Relations?
After finishing my Master’s in Contemporary History in Germany, I felt that I had gained a good knowledge on the history of development and international relations, but wanted to deepen my theoretical understanding of the topic and its practical application today. The bilingual aspect of the Master’s at IBEI interested me, as I had learned Spanish during my Erasmus studies in Valencia and wanted to focus in particular on international relations in Latin America.
2. What is your experience at IBEI?
Thanks to my previous studies, I had a clear idea of the topics that most interested me in the field of international relations. IBEI allowed me to focus on the areas of peace, security and development studies. I enjoyed the mixture between theoretical courses and seminars focussing on practical experience of development programming. I also benefitted from the exchange with students from different backgrounds and countries.
3. Describe your career path since graduating from the IBEI. What is your professional experience (your current position, your main functions)?
After finishing my Master’s, I obtained a trainee position at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Ecuador, funded by the Carlo-Schmid-Programme of the German Service for Academic Exchange (DAAD). Since the end of the traineeship, I am working as an international Programme Officer at the IOM Ecuador.
4. How did the master programme prepare you for the work you're doing now?
In my current position as a Programme Officer, I am responsible for political negotiation, project development, as well as project management in the areas of migration and development, labour migration and emergency assistance.
5. Is this more or less what you pictured yourself doing after the master programme?
The master programme provided me with good tools on development work, which I was able to use at the IOM. For instance, the information I gained from my classes on development programmes and project development served me as a basis for developing new projects and identifying donor priorities. Also, a lot of the academic knowledge on international relations is helping me indirectly to analyse general political contexts and development planning.
6. Is this more or less what you pictured yourself doing after the master programme?
Yes and no. I aimed for working in this area, but was also very aware of the challenges young professionals face to enter an international organization. I am therefore very glad to be in my current position. I know that many things depend not only on hard work, but also on luck, being at the right place at the right time.
7. What advice would you give to future IBEI students?
The year at IBEI will be flying by way too quickly, so make sure you enjoy it, whilst learning about the topics you are most interested in.
8. What do you miss most about the IBEI?
Apart from Barcelona as a place to live, I miss the exchange with colleagues during and after class, political discussions on balconies and in bars, and, from time to time, the possibility to concentrate only on reading and writing.