Alumni testimonials

Alumni

Julian WINKWORTH

EU Policy Officer/Chargé d’affaires Européennes, GDF SUEZ

Previous experience: EU Commission trainee, Research and Monitoring Executive for a London-based public affairs consultancy

The academic year that I spent following the EU Political and Administrative Studies programme at the College of Europe, Bruges has proven to not only meet but also surpass the expectations I had when applying to join the College. Having finished my studies in the UK and France, I wished to continue my studies, specifically concentrating on political science within the EU context – the excellent reputation of the politics department and of the College naturally attracted me. The year itself was enriching in particular through meeting other engaged young people with a desire to learn more and debate the EU, many of whom remain good friends of mine to this current day.

In my professional career following the College, the transferable skills (research, analysis, communication) as well as the specific knowledge I gained on the EU has been tremendously helpful in helping me stand out from other candidates in a competitive jobs market, and in carrying out the responsibilities I have performed in my professional positions. In my view one of the most praiseworthy aspects of the EU Political and Administrative Studies programme is that it offers students the opportunity to gain extensive knowledge in a specific area of EU integration. In my case, it was through taking a course on the EU Budget (taught by a Director-General of the EU Commission) that I was able to gain a sophisticated understanding of this technical area. I continue to work on the EU Budget and Multiannual Financial Framework on a daily basis, and apply the concepts that I first learned during my time at the College of Europe thanks to the Politics department.

I would not hesitate in recommending the Political and Administrative Studies programme to any other British students, or indeed to students from other countries.

 

Mauro GAGLIARDI

Evaluation officer, DG Justice, Liberty and Security, European Commission

Previous experience: Academic Assistant, College of Europe; Assistant to a Member of the European Parliament

When I was choosing a graduate school in which to study European affairs and prepare myself for a future carrier in Brussels, every person I trust gave me the same unanimous advice: go for the Politics Department of the College of Europe! I will always thank these people for their encouragement.

The POL study programme indeed gave me a good combination of academic knowledge, practical tools and linguistic skills that I needed to succeed in the competitive European labour market and paved the way to succeeding in the concours. I had the opportunity to create a well-diversified curriculum, which suited my interests and equipped me for my present-day responsibilities. All this, combined with the high quality of the academics, practitioners and policy-makers teaching in POL, as well as with the esprit critique of my classmates, contributed to the forging of my perceptions and opinions on the EU. Further, I really appreciated the cooperative, constructive and challenging atmosphere of the Department, which always remained pleasant and never fell into hard competition!

I enjoyed the POL experience so much that I decided to remain working there for two years after my studies! I will never forget the experience in POL, it is the cornerstone of my career.

 

Maximo MICCINILLI

Consultant, Burson Marsteller 

I am personally convinced that several particular features of the EU Political and Administrative programme offered me the necessary tools to find my place in Brussels as a consultant. Since some private companies perceive the EU decision-making process as a kind of dark labyrinth with no exits, I can say that the simulation game is a ‘must’, as the activity sheds light on several areas such as strategic planning, public relations and timing for those working in both the private and the public sector. A second remarkable aspect of the programme is its coherence. Today, I have to deal with specific EU policy and legal issues and give advice to both corporations and governments. The programme offered me the right mix to capture the essentials and rationale of each dossier -always bearing in mind the framework of the EU and its dynamic nature.  

 

Katrin RUHRMANN

Spokesperson, Cabinet of the President of the European Parliament

Previous experience: EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament: Spokesperson of the Chairman, Adviser EP Bureau, Adviser Constitutional Affairs Committee (Rules); Press Officer, German section of EPP-ED Group Press Service, European Parliament; Account Director at European/Westminster Strategy (EC affairs); Account Executive Coopers and Lybrand Europe (EC affairs); Trainee at the European Commission and parliamentary research assistant

The College of Europe was a unique experience that changed my life. After my studies in Germany, it gave a completely new, different and very exciting dimension to my career perspectives. European integration has become a vocation, both personally and professionally. Currently, I am working as spokesperson of the President of the European Parliament, a challenging and very interesting position. Without the College, I would not have been able to pursue this career, which has been extremely satisfying for me. All my professional life, I have been very grateful for the great chances the College of Europe has offered me.

 

Pierpaolo SETTEMBRI

Desk officer, General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union

Previous experience: Researcher, European Institute of Public Administration (Maastricht); Research Fellow, LUISS “Guido Carli” University - Faculty of Political Science, Rome; Fulbright Scholar and Global Emile Noel Fellow, Jean Monnet Center, New York University

After university, with limited options and fewer ideas on the steps to take next, the year at the Politics Department multiplied not only my professional opportunities, but also my curiosities, interests and social ties, in addition to providing the expected gains in the field of European Studies. Besides the advantages of the "Bruges formula" and the proximity to Brussels, I mostly benefited from two features of the programme. First, its size guarantees an incredible variety of profiles, experiences and ideas, while at the same time enabling real exchanges and interaction on an individual basis (including with professors). Second, the wide assortment of courses did not oblige me to choose at the outset a discipline or a profession to embrace, but supplied a sufficiently versatile selection of skills and ideas to explore different routes after the College. Thanks to this unique combination, one can easily transit from academia to public service through private sector and vice versa, worldwide.

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