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Alice Storniolo

March 11th, 2024

LSE Brussels Career Fair: In the heart of the European Union

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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Alice Storniolo

March 11th, 2024

LSE Brussels Career Fair: In the heart of the European Union

0 comments

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies student, Alice Storniolo tells us about her trip to Brussels for the LSE Careers Fair aimed to support students and alumni looking to work for EU institutions and the organisations that work with them.

As part of the LSE Brussels Career Fair in February 2024, I went to Brussels for two days, the heart of the European Union. My first day started very early with a 6 am direct train from London to Brussels.

 

Day one office visits: ACUMEN public affairs and RPP group

 

The first stop of the day was participating in office visits! Participants to this career event had multiple options of offices to visit, such as Acumen Public Affairs, Politico, Lighthouse Europe, RPP group, and Rud Pedersen Public Affairs.  

 

My first office session was with Acumen, an independent public affairs consultancy focused on health and sustainability. During the session we were first presented with the main projects of the company, presenting what a public affairs agency does, and an idea of an everyday workday. Then, we were split into two groups to do a case study exercise. Both groups received an imaginary case study with a client and objectives, one group for a sustainability client and the other for a health client. Our main task was to behave as a consultant and analyse the two cases, figuring out opportunities for the client, stakeholders for our case, opponents, arguments to promote the case and how to apply them. This first office session was the perfect opportunity to practically learn what it means to be a consultant whilst also learning more about this interesting young company.  

 

My second visit was just a 15-minute walk from Acumen, with the RPP group. The Rhode Public Policy group is a company which focuses on advocacy in the health sector and how to promote good in the world. The session here started with a presentation of the company and their role in EU political advocacy. The team presented us with examples of cases they had worked with before, clarifying that to work at RPP a background in health and science is an advantage, but that the only necessity is wanting to promote good change. We also had an interesting conversation on one of their newest projects on the EU parliamentary elections happening this June and on the importance of these elections for the EU as well as the rest of the world.  

 

These sessions were an incredible opportunity to be able to talk with people from similar backgrounds and early in their careers about opportunities in public affairs and how to land a job. It was invaluable to be able to honestly talk about vacancies and people’s diverse backgrounds and to have them tell us how an actual day on the job unfolds to understand if a career in policy affairs consultancy would be suited to us.  

 

The day ended with a short visit to the city centre, where, despite the rain, some of us were able to enjoy a waffle or some fries whilst exploring the city.

 

European Parliament, Brussels. Image credit: Alice Storniolo
Manneken Pis, Brussels. Image credit: Alice Storniolo

 

Day two: Career Fair and alumni panel  

 

My second day started with a pastry from a Belgian bakery and a short walk to the Renaissance Brussel Hotel where the Career Fair was held by LSE in collaboration with Science Po and the College of Europe. The fair was an amazing opportunity to connect with European institutions, lobbying organisations, strategic communication and public affairs agencies, think tanks and international organisations. Some of the organisations attending were the European Parliament, EU institutions, Global Counsel, Wavestone, ThinkYoung, Rud Pedersen Public Affairs, Teneo, NATO, POLITICO, Lighthouse Europe, Deloitte, the Council of the European Union and the Brunswick Group. The fair gave us the possibility to ask questions and have one-to-one conversations with recruiters from these organisations, while also allowing students to discover smaller organisations and career options.  

 

After a quick lunch, the day continued with the alumni panel organised by LSE at the European Economic and Social Committee. At the panel, attendees were able to discover more about the LSE Alumni Association in Brussels, which organised the event, and its very active role in Brussels to promote a community for LSE alumni. During the panel, previous students who currently work for public or private organisations related to the EU described their current roles and backgrounds and answered questions. The presenters talked about opportunities for traineeships with EU institutions, touching upon the Cicero traineeship, the Schuman traineeship, and others. They also talked about EPSO and how, in order to get a career in the institutions, it is important to start somewhere, even if roles are not permanent at first, as well as the importance of networking. They also noted how essential it is to broaden one’s perspective and not only focus on the institutions for a career in Brussels.  

 

The short trip to Brussels ended with a train ride back to London. Although this was a short trip, it has been essential to my personal growth as a student thinking about working in the EU bubble. It allowed me to dive into both the public and public sectors, to receive first-hand advice, and to explore possible roles and companies I had not considered or heard of before. My recommendations for anyone interested in working in Brussels would be to first look at other events organised by LSE on the topic and at the many info pages LSE career has written. Then, I would start to look at entry-level roles, such as internships and traineeships in the institutions and the private sector. Finally, all that is left is to make your CV stand out and apply!


The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect those of the International Development LSE blog or the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Featured image: The Future is Europe Mural. Image credit: Alice Storniolo

About the author

Alice Storniolo

Alice is a part-time student from Italy in the International Development department. She studies International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies. Before coming to the LSE, she completed her BA at SOAS in International Relations.

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