IR graduate stories: Kamila Potočárová (IR, '20)

Hi, my name is Kamila, and I am a 2020 graduate of the International Relations (IR) 2-year MA program. After graduation, I joined Hyphen, an independent global expertise group, where I work on projects on the intersection of technology, innovation, and policy.

My role requires me to rapidly develop an understanding of complex matters that concern various actors – e.g., states, businesses, NGOs – an open-minded and multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving and an entrepreneurial mindset. The IR knowledge paired with the skills I gained at CEU such as critical thinking, writing, practice in formulating arguments, and narrative building have been an asset in my daily work. However, CEU has enabled me to go beyond IR engaging with different disciplines that have shaped my professional goals and helped me reach them.

Before joining CEU, I had a relatively clear vision of my career path focusing on opportunities in the public sector. However, as my new interests in business and technology in addition to politics developed, I realized I could work alongside the public sector as much as inside it. Thanks to the tight-knit community of CEU and its multidisciplinary approach, I found ways – like joining courses from other departments and engaging with people from various backgrounds – to tailor my curriculum to reflect my broadening interests.

In addition to IR courses like the Economic Integration in the Times of Trade Wars and European security, I took the Global Economic Strategy and Industrial Policy courses from the Department of Business and Economics and attended the BOOST program, which provided me with cutting-edge techniques of strategic management.

Unsurprisingly, my master thesis on Europe’s Global Economic strategy combined elements of various disciplines: political economy, climate change, and technology. To validate my research concepts, I conducted interdisciplinary research, consisting of interviews with public and private sector representatives during my research trip to Brussels, supported by CEU. It enabled me to broaden my research and communication skills when validating hypotheses as well as to forge new professional relationships that last until today.

In respect to networking opportunities, I appreciate that the IR department has embraced and provided enough resources and support for international internships and networking opportunities. The exchange program with Bard College in New York, through which I worked at Oxford Analytica, is a perfect example. These experiences were extremely valuable as they enabled me to challenge ideas, broaden my perspectives and understand different views, and navigate through them.

When it comes to looking for new opportunities and applying for jobs or internships, I recommend all students to engage with the CEU Career Services Office and meet with the Career advisors to discuss your CVs or motivation letters for your desired position as well as using the Career>Next  portal. I have found here my previous internship and current position as well.

In conclusion, studying IR at CEU has provided me with knowledge and a skill set that I can rely on when approaching complex problems and encountering novel challenges and opportunities. It has also taught me to welcome and understand new ideas and concepts and to question conventional wisdom. All these have contributed to who I am.