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Isabelle Lengeling, IBEI Alumni 2019-20

Name and Last Name: Isabelle Lengeling

Nationality: German

Master studied at IBEI: Master's in International Relations

Class: 2019-20

Current working company, position and city: Partner Engagement Manager at World Economic Forum, Geneva


1. Why did you choose IBEI Master’s?

There were several reasons for me to choose the Master in International Relations at IBEI. Firstly, I wanted to delve deeper into my interest in International Relations (IR) and expand my knowledge on the subject. Secondly, the master's program seemed like a strategic move to pivot my career to either work on International Relations in the company I was working for at that time, or to the more impact-oriented realm of NGOs. Finally, living in Barcelona for a year seemed to be the perfect opportunity to improve my Spanish skills.

2. What is your experience at IBEI? 

I strongly enjoyed the remarkable diversity of students at IBEI, spanning nationalities, backgrounds (e.g. Teaching, Theology, Marketing, International Relations, Business Administration etc.), and age (24-50+), fostering engaging discussions across all courses.

Additionally, the guidance from our professors encouraged us to step out of our comfort zones, question perspectives, and emphasized the importance of patience and kindness during crises, like the COVID19 crisis that unfortunately started at the same time as our second semester.

Lastly, the curriculum's flexibility allowed for personalized specialization complemented by an exploration phase in the first week, during which we could listen into the different classes and change our selection if we felt that was needed.

3. Describe your career path since graduating from the IBEI

When I graduated from IBEI, we were still in the middle of the Covid19 crisis, so I first returned to my previous job. After my return, I realised that I could not just ignore my newly identified passion for International Relations, so I decided to quit my job and focus on finding a position in IR.

Now it has been already almost two years since I started as Partner Engagement Manager at the World Economic Forum, where I build partnerships between leading Fortune 500 companies and the World Economic Forum and provide guidance to C-level executives on collaborations centred around ESG, multi-stakeholder capitalism and the Sustainable Development Goals.

4. How did the master programme prepare you for the work you're doing now?

The Master's in International Relations complemented my background in business with a deeper understanding of political and macro-economic topics, thereby preparing me to work at the intersection between Business and IR. Furthermore, the collaboration with students from all over the world helped to further strengthen my intercultural understanding.

5. Is this more or less what you pictured yourself doing after the master programme?

Before doing the master programme, I jokingly said to a former colleague “Who knows, maybe at one point I will be working at the World Economic Forum helping to support public-private corporation”. Back then, that was a very distant future, but this is what I'm doing now, so yes, I am exactly where I pictured myself after the master programme.

6. What advice would you give to current students who want to follow this career path? / Some advice to future IBEI students?

  1. When choosing your curriculum at IBEI, don't worry about adapting your course selection to what you think will fit best the expectations of future recruiters, but just follow your interests and focus on learning as much as possible. You can always connect the dots and build a compelling story afterwards.
  2. It is very hard to find a job in IR, but it´s not impossible. So please hang in there! With some patience and lots of persistence, you will be able to find the job you´re looking for. In the meantime, think about the skills that could be useful for your future career in IR, and how you could develop them through further courses our even other jobs.
  3. Use the growing IBEI network of students and alumni, and reach out to them to learn from their journeys.

7. What do you miss most about IBEI? 

I miss having all this time just focused on learning and expanding my knowledge in the field of international relations, the interesting exchanges with the professors and fellow students as well as the Barcelona lifestyle.