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Ann-Kathrin Beck, IBEI Alumni 2017

Name and Last Name: Ann-Kathrin Beck

Nationality: German

Master studied at IBEI: Erasmus Mundus Masters Program in Public Policy (Mundus MAPP)

Class: 2017

Current working company, position and city: Senior Policy Officer Social Protection, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Berlin (Germany).


1. Why did you choose IBEI Master’s?

Mundus MAPP was highly attractive to me, because the degree offered me insights into interrelated disciplines such as political theory, economics, and law, but also allowed me to focus on the topics I care about: environmental and development governance and policies, as well as quantitative methods. I chose to study Public Policy because of this variety and because the course uses a practitioners lens and focusses on real-life applications.

2. What is your experience at IBEI? 

I was at IBEI for the second year of my masters and the school provided me with new theoretical inputs and approaches, whilst giving me time to work on my dissertation project. I enjoyed studying in a small graduate school in which professors and lecturers were very approachable and always helpful. Having fellow students from across the world with different cultural, academic and professional backgrounds enriched in-class discussions, project work – but also student life beyond university.

3. Describe your career path since graduating from the IBEI

Since graduating from IBEI I have worked in international development, always seeking to improve the lives those most in need, such as women, youth and indigenous people. I took advantage of fellowships and early-career programmes where I could.

So far, my career has led me to work as an external adviser to India’s biggest labour union for informal women workers, SEWA Bharat; to run projects on democracy, rule of law and political participation as deputy head of office for Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Mexico; and to provide strategic advice to the Vice-President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Rome, a United Nations organisation and International Financial Institution. Currently, I work as a Senior Policy Officer for the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in Berlin where I focus on topics of Social Protection.

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

During my time at IBEI I focussed on policy analysis and quantitative methods for evaluation. This has equipped me with the theoretical understanding of development policies, relevant stakeholders and challenges in design and implementation. Additionally, I learned relevant tools to assess the viability and impacts of programmes and projects. Most importantly, IBEI taught me to dive into new concepts and topics quickly and get accustomed to new methods and processes rapidly. All these are crucial skills that I have used in my past and current positions.

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

Already before starting the master programme, I knew that I wanted to continue working in international development. Now, I am very happy that I have had the opportunity to work on projects that make a real difference in people’s lives. In just a few years, I have worked for NGOs, Think Tanks, the United Nations and my own government – these experiences exceed my own expectations.

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

Think early on about causes and organisations that interest you, but also be aware of your strengths and skills – this is what you can offer to future employers and how you will find first opportunities. Don’t be too stressed about the first step after university. Often times a smaller organisation gives you more exposure opportunities and more space to explore different tasks and responsibilities. Once you have started working, you will know better what interests you, what you are good at and what possible next career steps are.

7. What do you miss most about IBEI? 

I miss studying and having the space to delve deeper into specific topics. IBEI teaching staff did a great job, also in setting up group projects in which I learned from classmates and their diverse backgrounds. Of course I also miss the beautiful IBEI Campus and living in Barcelona.