Xavier Palacios, IBEI alumni 2012-13
Name and Last Name: Xavier Palacios
Master studied at IBEI: Master's in International Relations
Current working company, position and city: Freelance – Political Analyst (Spain - Cyprus).
1. Why did you choose the IBEI Master’s in International Relations?
I chose to study IBEI’s Master degree in International Relations to expand my academic knowledge that would allow me to start a professional career in this field. One of the main incentives to choose this master’s program was the excellence of the professors teaching there, and the uniqueness of the courses offered at this institute.
2. What is your experience at IBEI?
In relation to my previous university studies, IBEI’s IR degree gave me a broader perspective on research subjects I could focus for my future career, such as international security or civil-military relations. Besides studying, IBEI allowed me to meet other students with very different backgrounds from mine, combining students from Spain and other countries, providing a unique social platform.
3. Describe your career path since graduating from the IBEI
IBEI’s prestige and international academic network provided me the chance to start my international career, as I was accepted at a traineeship program at the Istanbul Sehir University, in Turkey. After staying almost two years in Istanbul, I got accepted in a prestigious MSc program at SOAS University, and before completing this second postgraduate degree I was hired as a political analyst at West Sands Advisory, a business intelligence firm based in St. Andrews, Scotland. After these experiences I have started to write political analyses as a freelance, writing for other companies, as well as for political analysis portals such as Vocal Europe or the Instituto Español de Estudios Estratégicos (IEEE).
4. What is your professional experience (your current position, your main functions)?
After working for almost two years at a private consultancy company, I am currently working as a freelance political analyst, focusing on South-East European countries. I work on ad-hoc proposals from private companies, which mainly consist on business intelligence, political risk analysis and corporate governance analysis of specific economic sectors, firms or individuals. Moreover, I have also had the chance to keep working on political analysis and carrying out field research.
5. How did the master programme prepare you for the work you're doing now?
Besides strong academic bases, this programme prepared me to have a better awareness of current global political trends in international relations and how to understand them. Moreover, IBEI also prepares you for working on multicultural environments, a key issue for students who want to develop their professional career at an international level.
6. Is this more or less what you pictured yourself doing after the master programme?
Although I did not know exactly what I wanted to do after completing the IBEI’s master degree, my motivation for learning about new countries and regions has helped me achieving analytical tools that I have applied during my professional career while using academic concepts learnt throughout my academic experience.
7. What advice would you give to current students who want to follow this career path? / Some advice to future IBEI students?
I would advise to new IBEI students to be patient in relation to professional aspirations straight after their graduation, as the IR and International Security fields are extremely competitive. Going abroad will definitively help any recent graduate to explore new ideas and professional opportunities. I would also advise them to find niches in their fields of specialisation that can afterwards help them to find a job.
8. What do you miss most about the IBEI?
One of the most interesting activities during my master studies at the IBEI was group works. During these activities you had the chance to share personal spaces with classmates coming from other countries, from who you could learn about their culinary and other traditions, while completing master’s work.