Students

Get an inside look at what it is like to pursue a master's degree at the Graduate Institute.

Our department values a collegial, stimulating and intimate atmosphere: you will have a hard time not getting to know individual faculty members and your peers. Each year we admit approximately 12 PhD students, divided roughly evenly between the two PhD programmes. This allows for close contact between students and faculty members. The department fully recognises that PhD students will become colleagues in a short time and we value the contribution of the students to department life.

We also have been remarkably successful over the years in sending our MIS students to top-level national and international institutions, from the World Bank, the IMF, or the UN system more generally, to central banks, NGOs and think tanks.  For those who choose to pursue a PhD, we have two excellent programmes of our own, and if you decide to test the waters at leading international universities, you should know that we have a great track record in terms of getting our students into top schools, both in the US and in Europe.

PhD students talk about the programme

Aakriti Mathur

 

Aakriti Mathur from India, PhD candidate in International Economics (started 2014)

Over the past five years, I have had a warm, enriching, and intellectually stimulating experience at the Institute. I chose the Economics Department at the Graduate Institute for its focus on training professional economists apart from wanting to work with specific professors in my field of macroeconomics and finance. I have found that there are so many opportunities to make use of here, whether professional or academic, due to the Institute's strategic location and networks. For example, one can take courses in different Swiss universities or the SNB's Gerzensee study center, and even do fellowships in central banks and other international organisations. This allows us to grow our network throughout Switzerland (and onwards), and find new people to work with. Both the Department and the Institute also organise regular seminars, monthly talks, brown bag lunches, research shares, and other activities to bring together people working in different fields and disciplines, which I have found to be very useful and illuminating. Commenting on the academic environment at the Institute would be incomplete without a word on the diverse, wonderful student community – whether it is my colleagues and friends in the Economics Department, or the students I taught as a TA for three years – they are the true asset of the school. Of course, life in beautiful Geneva has also been an adventure on its own. I am really grateful to have had this opportunity to grow as a researcher, colleague, and teacher over the past five years.

Taehoon Lee

 

Taehoon Lee from the Republic of Korea, PhD candidate in Development Economics (started 2018)

The famous story of Mencius chronicles the journey embarked on by his mother to find a place of abode that would inspire Mencius in his intellectual development. Mencius's mother moved three times in order to find the right neighborhood – next to a school – to raise her son. And the story follows that Mencius was inspired by the scholars he met every day there and eventually grew up to be one. Like Mencius, I was on a similar journey in finding such intellectual inspiration, hailing from Korea, the US and France, before settling in Geneva. I have realised that with a great diversity of students, the interdisciplinary nature of the programme, and the opportunity to learn in a state-of-the-art research institution in  an intellectually stimulating environment, the Graduate Institute is akin to the very place where Mencius’s mother would have chosen to make her son study, and am grateful for the opportunity I have had at the Graduate Institute.

 

Kritika Saxena

 

Kritika Saxena from India, PhD-candidate in Development Economics (started 2016)

I choose to pursue my PhD in Development Economics at the Graduate Institute because of its academic rigour and focus on international policymaking. Key strengths of the Department are its rich array of diverse faculty members and student body, and its close connection with international organisations. There are several opportunities for students to interact with researchers working in these international organisations and to visit academics from leading universities through weekly department seminars and workshops. These interactions often lead to opportunities for students to collaborate on research projects and eventually placements. Academically, students can benefit from courses taught not just at the Institute but also at the University of Geneva and at the highly reputed Swiss National Bank’s Gerzensee programme for Swiss doctoral students.  Being part of the Department has not only provided me with the rigorous academic training needed to be a doctoral researcher in Development Economics but it has also afforded me the tools to understand the complex and intricate nature of international policy questions.

Master students talk about the programme

Till Fust

 

Till Fust from Switzerland, master student 2018-2020

After my bachelor studies in economics and sustainable development in Bern I was looking for a master’s degree that would offer three things - rigorous analytical training, the possibility to continue an interdisciplinary approach and a new environment where I could grow personally. The Master in International Economics combines the three perfectly.

With a small class size, we are motivated to work as a group on the challenges given by our professors and to struggle and finally succeed together. I personally find the atmosphere of cooperation rather than competition very stimulating. The many interactions with bright, open and diverse minds from all over the world - be it in class or at the after-library-beer, with other economic students or with peers from the interdisciplinary programs - is absolutely inspiring.

At the Graduate Institute I found an academically challenging and personally stimulating new environment in the middle of an international community. Coming here was the ideal choice for me.

Julieta Contreras

 

Julieta Contreras  from Mexico, master student 2018-2020

I chose the Graduate Institute given that it is an excellent place to connect with international organisations and their work, as well as related institutions in the private sector pursuing and studying similar issues. Since I am interested in the analysis of the latter, I considered the Institute to be the best place to get a sense of them.
Moreover, the Institute’s master’s degree in International Economics is one-of-a-kind. There are three main aspects that make the Master in International Economics unique. First, the Economics Department at the Graduate Institute has excellent professors who are influential academics and pioneers in their fields. Second, this programme has an applied approach: the tools taught in the International Economics programme can be easily transferred to real life cases. These tools are not limited to technical skills, but they also come in the form of examples given by professors. These are very palpable given that they have first-hand experience working in their fields and can give an account on what is usually done and how problems should be approached. And third, there is an environment of collaboration where you can develop skills together with your classmates. There is solidarity and friendship.

Julien Christen

 

Julien Christen from Switzerland, master student 2017-2019

As a Geneva-born undergrad with a degree in International Relations and a major in Economics, the Graduate Institute appeared to me as the best-suited institution, not only in Switzerland but also internationally, to pursue a career orientated towards seeking solutions to tackle international issues. I chose the Master in International Economics for two main reasons: the challenging and rigorous training offered to students by some of the greatest professors in their respective fields of research, and the multicultural environment and the small size of the Department, which facilitates communication both between fellow students and between students and professors.
The element that I value most about this programme is the policy-relevant training that bridges theory with real-world problems. This is done mostly by solving applied exercises brought on by professors’ experiences. In the context of an exchange programme, I had the chance to compare my training with that of other students in a larger department in one of the leading universities in the world. This experience highlighted the quality of teaching offered by the Institute’s faculty as well as the benefits of interacting directly with the professors.  
In addition, one of the key strengths of the Institute’s Economics Department consists in the broad range of research conducted both by students and professors. This fact proved to be beneficial to me, as I have now been able to narrow down my research interest. Furthermore, the combination of bright and highly motivated students with a stimulating and productive work environment creates an exciting intellectual atmosphere. It allowed me to develop a rigorous sense of analysis.

Class Representatives

The class representatives respond to and assist with academic concerns of students, and represent the programme to relevant administrators. If you have any questions about student life at the Institute, please feel free to contact one of our class representatives.

 

Julieta Contreras

 

Julieta Contreras | class 2018-2020

PhD-students' placement after graduation

Information gathered since 2008 shows that after graduation, the PhD students studying in the International Economics Department have been employed in all four sectors:

  • The public sector is the most popular attracting 62% of our alumni, from which almost three-quarters work in international organisations.
  • The academic sector attracted 21% of our graduates, the majority conducting research work as part of an academic institution.
  • The private sector accounted for 8.5% of our PhD graduates, most of them working in banking, finance and insurance organisations.
  • The third sector attracted 8.5% of our graduates with approximately three-quarters working for NGOs.

 

Master students' placement after graduation

Data collected since 2008 shows that after graduation the International Economics master students have been employed in all four sectors:

  • The favourite sector is the private one, attracting 37% of our students, from which more than one-third work in banking, finance and insurance organisations.
  • The public sector attracted 32% of our alumni from which almost three-quarters work in international organisations and approximately one-quarter work for foreign governments and the federal administration of Switzerland.
  • The voluntary sector accounts for 17% of our graduates, our alumni being recruited mainly within NGOs and think tanks.
  • 14% of our master graduates either continued their studies towards a PhD or conducted research work as part of an academic institution.

 

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