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Where to get a job after graduation in International Economic Relations?

The International Economic Relations (Międzynarodowe Stosunki Gospodarcze - MSG) major is a so called unique major, offered by only a dozen or so Polish universities, including SGH. It is available at our University both on first degree and second degree studies. The knowledge in international subject matter can be further developed on third degree studies offered first of all by the College of World Economy.

The International Economic Relations major was introduced only a few years ago as an alternative, and at the same time, a crucial completion of the International Relations major. There used to be the International Economic and Political Relations (Międzynarodowe Stosunki Gospodarcze i Polityczne – MSGiP) and was very popular among students, who wanted to continue the history created by their older colleagues, students of the Foreign Trade Faculty (Wydział Handlu Zagranicznego) at SGPiS. The famous HZ disappeared, and prestige of the major related to a career in an international community as well.

In turn the International Economic and Political Relations major was the element of the curriculum in the nineties and at the beginning of the past decade. However, later it was being gradually replaced by the international relations. Fortunately they realized that the international relations would soon lack in a very significant economic trend and quickly become not much economic.

The main purpose of the introduction of the new major international economic relations was to develop the curriculum by subjects oriented towards international economics and international business, and rather less towards non-economic issues. Moreover, authors of the curriculum placed a great impact on providing students, next to the theoretical knowledge, also practical one in a company activity in an international environment, especially on international corporations, so important in a present-day world economy. 

Thus we have a major, which perfectly prepares economists, first of all, to work in international environment. More importantly, alumni acquire quite solid basics on political, legal or social issues in international area.

In most International Economic Relations students’ opinion, they obtain comprehensive, interdisciplinary knowledge about domestic and foreign relations, both on the micro- and macroeconomic level. Nevertheless, there is often a question, whether it is possible to get a job after graduation in this major, and if so, what type of a job. Doubts are intensified due to a relatively broad curriculum that must be completed in order to get bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Knowledge to be gained seems to be weak concentrated in comparison to the other majors offered at SGH, such as finance and banking or quantitative methods in economics and information systems. However, if we analyse the curriculum closely, we will notice that the International Economic Relations alumni has great chances to gain competitive advantage on the present-day labour market, because except for a hard theoretical knowledge in economics, finance or management offered to SGH students of this unique major, one learns the specificity of international institutions’ activity as well.

The International Economic Relations curriculum includes the following subjects: international economics, international finance, management in international business. Student learns international law and issues concerning integrative groupings activity as well (cf. Table 1). The curricular offer covers also subjects related to ecology, negotiations or diplomatic protocol. In short, student acquires a sort of ‘international cultivation’.

Table 1. Major subjects of first and second degree studies in international economic relations 

 

First degree studies

Second degree studies

econometrics

applied economics

international finance

international economy  

corporate finance

managerial economy

World economy or
European integration or

state and local government and politics

international economy (advanced)

uniform European market

economy of development

international marketing

environmental economy  

economic international competition

European Union structural funds

international economic transactions

globalization and regionalization in international relations

international organizations

currency integration

international private law

cultural condition of international business

international settlement

international logistics

management in international business

international corporate finance

 

international finance markets

 

government vs. business

 

international public law

 

Source: Curriculum and bachelor and master study plan at SGH (concerns students beginning their studies from the academic year 2009/2010 and 2010/2011), Prospectus of 2010/2011, SGH, Warszawa 2010.

The International Economic Relations alumni acquire not only theoretical knowledge, but also practical preparation. Many courses have seminar or practical form, during which students solve case studies. This causes that after graduation they have no difficulties in working out a plan of a corporate entity activity, and after all, of the whole establishment. The International Economic Relations alumni are also able to carry out actions, which check execution of the worked out strategy and analyse the effectiveness of the accepted solutions.

Considering the world economy globalization, the International Economic Relations alumni are prepared to work in any industry of the economy, because as a matter of fact, there is no institution nowadays, which would not maintain and seek for international contacts. It is crucial though, that students should narrow down the range of interests to one of the specialties and deepened their knowledge within that specialty already during their studies. Then it is possible to avoid the feeling that knowledge provided within that major is not much specific, too general, and at the same time acquire unique education.

Within International Economic Relations major a bachelor student can choose one of two specialties:

  • Central and Eastern European economy,
  • company on the international market;
  • and one of three specialties of master studies:
  • company on the international market,
  • EU activity,
  • competitiveness and innovativeness in the global economy.

Therefore there is a choice of typically business specialties, as well as those more international institution-oriented ones.

Both the choice of specialty and course of studies, which a student builds individually, depending on their individual preferences, determine their career path after graduation. They can search for a satisfying job in a private as well as public sector.

If a student e.g. completed most of the courses concerning a company’s activity on the international market[1], they can successfully seek for a job in big international corporations or small production and service establishments on analytical positions, and managerial later on. Employers, when recruiting their future employees among e.g. SGH alumni, often search for persons without professional experience, but knowing the mechanisms of international transactions and world economy to perform activities related to those transactions. Therefore employers employ junior purchasing specialists, junior export/import specialists and analyst assistants, who are a source of information on markets, products or specific sectors. One can also fulfil themselves professionally in such companies conducting negotiations in the international environment. A candidate should remember that the key meaning during the recruitment process have first of all language skills, secondly preparation for work in multicultural environment.

For a long time, SGH alumni have had a perfect opinion among employers, especially those who require fluent command of English or German. Those languages are often ‘working languages’ applied in everyday communication in a company. English or German language skills are a vital condition to be employed.

Very often a condition of a success in business is not only very good command of foreign languages. Quite useful is knowledge acquired on subjects such as: management in international business, communication workshops, communication and international lobbing – that is an ability to cooperate in other cultural environment. Doing business with Russian differs from doing business with British or American, although we understood each other well speaking English. And those nuances of business in international/multicultural environment are discussed at the International Economic Relations major.

Enterprising alumni of the International Economic Relations should be also able to run their own economic activity on a foreign market. That is, however, a serious challenge even for students of business majors, while novices often focus on a domestic market at the beginning. Major completion gives them a possibility to fast and efficiently find their own, well paid business path on the foreign markets. 

Many alumni of that major decide to work abroad, if not at once after graduation, then after a few years of professional experiences. Studies at SGH for sure equip alumni in ability to work in an international, multi-cultural team, not only by its above-mentioned curricular offer, but also thanks to numerous possibilities of foreign scholarships and opportunities to contact students and lecturers visiting SGH. Studies enable gaining abilities to take managerial decisions as well as efficient actions under pressure and against the clock. Students often acquire those skills during various trainings, workshops, included in the curriculum, but also by taking part in meetings with experts in business during trainings and additional courses, which are organized at SGH by Alumni Office and many student associations.

Moreover, by applying its experiences so far and Poland’s geographic location as well, SGH offers to the International Economic Relations students a unique for a European scale, specialty executed in English: Economics of Central and Eastern Europe (Gospodarka Europy Środkowej i Wschodniej). This offer includes:

  • Transition Economics,
  • Transnational Corporations,
  • Business in Central and Eastern Europe,
  • Poland in the European Union,
  • European Economics.

Acquiring knowledge in the above-mentioned subjects provides a very specialist preparation for work in entities of companies or public institutions oriented to cooperation with entities of our region. The additional alumni’s strong point is undoubtedly good command of one of the Slavic languages, e.g. Russian.

Those who focused on learning the international environment of the domestic economy during the course of their studies (specialty: European Union as a global subject or Innovation and Competitiveness in the World Economy), can use their knowledge in different kinds of central offices (e.g. ministries and other central offices) as well as self-governmental ones. In those institutions, they would be definitely great specialists, who are able not only to perfectly apply analytical tools to research the economic problems in the international area, but also assess economy competitiveness (state, region), but also indicate the development barriers and give recommendations. The presented public institutions recruit usually for rather low positions in administration, e.g. for clerk or junior specialist. Young employees with good education are promoted very quickly, achieving specialist or even managerial positions after the first five years in public administration.

A very interesting and providing broad views work for the International Economic Relations alumni is employment in international institutions, which constantly carry out recruitment actions (e.g. EU, World Trade Organization, World Bank, many UN agencies or International Monetary Fund). Due to an interdisciplinary character of studies as well as high level of foreign language skills, the International Economic Relations alumni have great chances for a satisfying job in this kind of institutions. Everyone starts from a professional traineeship or internship. WTO, World Bank or IMF organizes recruitment for a so called Internship Programme once or twice a year. A trainee gets a scholarship and for a few months works in the organization, learning advantages and disadvantages of that job. Participation in a professional traineeship is usually connected with moving abroad, which is a deterrent factor for many, because they are not ready yet for this kind of challenge. We definitely recommend this form of professional career beginning to all those ones, who are not scared of adventures and work. The first job in a big international organization does not necessarily have to doom one’s further career exclusively to that kind of organizations. Having such experiences you can perfectly find yourself in consulting or high position in public administration.

It is worth pointing out another one possible direction of the professional development after the International Economic Relations, to be precise, work in diplomacy. This is also associated with work abroad, but the International Economic Relations alumni are very willing to search for a job in economic and trade departments of Polish embassies.

The next possible career path is research work, which followed both authors of this article, alumni of international economic and political relations at SGH. Nevertheless, they came to a decision of associating their future with the university the other way. One of them did a student traineeship in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Next she did an internship in the embassy’s commerce department, for a short time worked as a translator in the UNO agency in Poland, to finally decide that the best way to fulfil herself is the research work at the university. The other author gained experience in a private sector, working in a consulting company at the beginning, and then telecommunications company, to decide after her master’s thesis defence to come back to the research path in the end.

The possibilities of doing scientific research are also provided by institutions from outside of the higher education system. These could be a various kind of scientific-research centres in and outside the country, where International Economic Relations alumni can find an interesting job. Thanks to this major they are able to plan and carry out research or economic expert analyses, perceive and analyse research problems, formulate opinions and conclusions based on various sources and what is most important – form their further process of self-education individually. This is, however, a model of development only for those, who can be patient and determined in striving for long term objectives in the research career development.

It should be mentioned that the International Economic Relations students, whose career path is associated with mass media, experienced many situations related to economic journalism. That is the way chosen by those, who are predisposed to work in mass media, and at the same time would like to make use of their broad knowledge about the world acquired during their studies. There are many possibilities of promotion in this area: industry press, radio, TV stations or internet portals. Then get to work!

To sum up it is worth adding that, as a matter of fact, the most important thing is not only what you study, but the earnest interest in the subject matter you study, passion for what you do. Then if your choice of the International Economic Relations major is considered, and you make use of the time during studies to achieve new skills, you will not encounter any difficulties in getting a job.

Eliza Chilimoniuk-Przeździecka

Andżelika Kuźnar

Bibliography:

  1. Curriculum and bachelor study plan at SGH according to the dean’s office information[2], www.sgh.waw.pl/ksztalcenie/stacjonarne/sl/
  2. Curriculum and master study plan at SGH according to the dean’s office information[3], http://www.sgh.waw.pl/ksztalcenie/stacjonarne/sm/
  3. Prospectus of 2010/2011, SGH, Warszawa 2010



[1] On the first degree studies: ethics in business, territorial marketing, IT in a company’s strategy, Polish companies on the domestic market of the European Union, marketing law in the EU, international accounting.  On the second degree studies: euromarketing, company’s fusions and mergers, analysis of the economy and foreign markets, new technologies in marketing, strategies of the competition and development of Polish companies on the European markets, strategies of the Polish companies’ entry on the Eastern markets.

[2] Concerns students beginning their studiem from the academic year 2009/2010 and 2010/2011.

[3] Ibidem.

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