Federica Genna, IBEI alumni 2015-2016
1. Why did you choose the IBEI Master’s?
I decided to enrol in IBEI’s Master’s in International Security because it seemed to respond to all my needs: I was looking for a one-year Master’s degree with a focus on security (I did international relations in my Bachelor’s and wanted to restrict the area of focus on security), based abroad. The Master’s offered courses in topics that appealed to me, such as counter terrorism and intelligence studies, for example, as well as the opportunity to combine the studies with a practical internship. Also, Barcelona seemed like a great place for a first 'living abroad' experience. I’m happy to say it did not disappoint!
2. What is your experience at IBEI?
I have very fond memories of my time at IBEI. The classes were interesting and lively, a stark contrast to the way of teaching in my home country.I was also lucky enough to meet a group of wonderful people at IBEI, many of whom I have remained close friends with. They definitely helped make my year at IBEI an amazing experience.
3. Describe your career path since graduating from the IBEI
In the four years since graduating from IBEI I have lived and worked in four different countries. I started with a job as a research assistant at Prague’s Institute of International Relations, where I stayed for six months. After that, I moved to Strasbourg where I worked for a year at the Council of Europe’s Department of Policy Planning – first as a trainee, then as a staff member. The following year I moved to Brussels to work for NATO’s Counter Terrorism section, again first as an intern and then as a policy officer. My final stop (for now at least😉) was at Ecorys’ Security & Justice unit, a consultancy based in the Netherlands where I started working as a junior consultant in May 2019.
4. How did the master programme prepare you for the work you're doing now?
The knowledge I acquired during my Master’s degree served as a useful basis to build on as I started working in the field of international security. The Master’s helped me strengthen my analytical, writing and public presentation skills, and the courses I took inspired me to continue pursuing a career in this area. But perhaps most importantly, IBEI gave me the opportunity to learn how to live and work in a multicultural environment.
5. Is this more or less what you pictured yourself doing after the master programme?
Whenever I get asked the question ‘where do you see yourself in five years’ I always find it difficult to provide an honest answer, because I tend to go where the wind takes me. So, in all truth, I never had a clear idea of what I would be doing after the Master’s program. However, I did know I wanted to stay in the field of international security, and continue living and working abroad. So far, so good, then!
6. What advice would you give to current students who want to follow this career path? / Some advice to future IBEI students?
Be curious, open to all opportunities, and interested in things that are different from what you are used to. Discuss and debate with your classmates, and take advantage of the amazing chance to interact with so many people from different backgrounds, and to be enriched by the different cultures you will encounter. You will learn more from these exchanges than from any textbook, and this will help you immensely if you want to pursue a career in international relations.
7. What do you miss most about IBEI?
The vibrant professional and human environment, the continuous learning experience - and, of course, the perfect location!