During my bachelor’s, I had a course in political economy which gave me an extraordinary overview of the relationships between political, economic, business and social issues, while at the same time urging me to think for myself. Following this, I was convinced that I wanted to study political economy at the master level, the main drivers being curiosity and the desire for independent thinking.
Browsing through the top programs in Europe, I came across the exceptional one at the University of Amsterdam. I knew I had the right one, given the international prestige of the University of Amsterdam, its faculty, and the carefully crafted curriculum.
I can say, I got what I was hoping for. An intellectually challenging, academically top-notch program, which made me do my best. With the elaborate thesis writing period, there was also an opportunity for a major deep-dive into a topic of interest, supported by world-class academics and facilities. I gained substantial understanding regarding the interdependencies of the different spheres of our economy and society.
Although this is not of direct practical use, per se, I am convinced that it gives me a definitive edge in my day-to-day work, as a business development professional in the energy sector. Identifying risks, potential major trends, mapping the interests of stakeholders, and structuring complex situations into easy-to-understand models are all aspects of my work helped by my studies at UvA. Not just the factual knowledge, but the cognitive skills acquired, are the biggest assets of studying at the UvA.
As an advice for prospective or current students, I would say two things. First, learn to think independently, and train your cognitive muscle in complex situations of our contemporary socio-political system. Second, read as much as you can concerning your main area of interest during your master’s: it’s invaluable.