Universiteit Leiden

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Global Political Economy (MA)

Career prospects

Where do our graduates work?

Because of the extensive curriculum and specialisations, the career opportunities after completing the International Relations specialisation in Global Political Economy are broad. Our graduates have landed jobs in various sectors of the job market, such as financial institutes, international organisations, government bodies, NGOs and academia. Examples of the diverse roles of our graduates include:

  • Consultant at an NGO
  • Policy assistant at the European Commission
  • Operations coordinator at a consultancy
  • Client analyst at a European institution

Tariq Zaidi

Graduated in Global Political Economy (MA International Relations)

Tariq Zaidi

"Leiden is a very inspiring place to study due to its rich academic tradition. I remember when I picked my master’s degree. I decided to study MAIR to learn more about the important debates within the realm of International Political Economy and the historical development of various strands of capitalism. From mercantilism, to Keynes versus Hayek, and state versus free market capitalism. The classes challenge you in an exciting and engaging way! Moreover, debates are extra fun when your peers come from all over the world."

Career paths

"Currently, I'm furthering my practical knowledge as a policymaker, across the Dutch Ministries of Agriculture, Economic Affairs and Climate, and Foreign Affairs. Here, I'm bringing my academic and practical skills into play that I acquired during MAIR. In my current professional role, I'm responsible for affairs related to the IPCEI instrument (Important Project of Common European Interest). This state aid tool has high hopes to solve various forms of market and system failure across the European Union. The knowledge I gained from MAIR helps me to navigate the political-economic context I operate in and to see the urgency of implementing efficient policy instruments to solve contemporary societal problems.”

Vivian Ng

Graduated in Global Political Economy (MA International Relations)

Vivian Ng

I have always been interested in how political decisions affect the economy. I personally love the humanities-based approach Leiden University takes when teaching GPE, and the variety of electives offered. The possibility to specialize in a region and/or a topic of your choice was perfect for me to combine my interests and career prospects. In my case, I was particularly interested in the connection between politics and illegality in Southeast Asia and Europe. Although it is a niche topic, professors at Leiden University have the expertise and I was able to grow and develop my knowledge in this area - eventually, I achieved my goal to land a job in the financial crime field.

Tip: I benefited a lot from the workshops provided by the Career Service Humanities. From CV/LinkedIn checks to interview workshops, I not only learnt about all the do's and don'ts of job hunting, but also the strengths and points of improvement about myself. 

My current position

I currently work as a Forensic and Financial Crime Consultant at Deloitte Nederland. I analyze financial crime risks, give advice and implement solutions in risks related to money-laundering, sanctions, terrorist financing and tax evasion. All these topics are closely related to GPE, as they are mostly the result of political decisions and political ideologies. My team consists of forensic accountants, lawyers, criminologists and data scientists. However, as a GPE graduate, I have the advantage of understanding these political dynamics very well and this helps my investigative work tremendously!

I am often approached by my clients with different problems related to financial crime. In order to solve these problems, I must apply a high level of analytical skill and possess the ability to select and process complex information. This is no different from how I proposed my thesis to my supervisor back at Leiden. First, I zoom out to have a helicopter view of the problem; second, I process all available data; third, I draw main points and come up with a plan of approach; lastly, I present my proposal to my managers and clients to receive feedback before any implementation.

My favorite memory in Leiden

The Humanities Buddy Programme is definitely my favorite memory of my time in Leiden, as it brought so much laughter and color to my life here. As an international student, this was the perfect way for me to get to know new friends and Leiden as a city. In the first semester, I took part in the programme as a participant. I was paired with a buddy who assisted me in integrating into Leiden and the University. During the second semester, I was chosen to be the Humanities Buddy Programme Coordinator. I organized plenty of events, such as a bike tour around local tulip fields, museum visits and social events, all for the participants. It was tremendous fun and I highly recommend this programme to everyone, especially international students!

In which sector do students find jobs?

The graphs below are based on alumni data from the MA International Relations - Global Political Economy 2016-2020.

  • 30 % Government and semi-government organisations
  • 30 % Consulting
  • 20 % Financial institutions
  • 10 % Non-profit (e.g. at an idealistic organisation)
  • 10 % Other

Alumna works at Deloitte Nederland

MA International Relations alumna Vivian Ng now works as a Forensic and Financial Crime Consultant at Deloitte Nederland: "I have the advantage of understanding political dynamics very well." Read more.

Career preparation

Find out how this programme prepares you for your future career and check our career preparation activities.

The Master's programme in International Relations at Leiden University equips you with a range of transferable skills and knowledge that will help you stand out in your future career. Your specialised knowledge is complemented by a broad and contextual understanding as well as critical-thinking skills that can be applied to complex conceptual problems. Other skills you may encounter in the various International Relations courses are:

  • Research
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Collaboration
  • Intercultural skills
  • Persuasion

You have the opportunity to do an internship at an organisation in the Netherlands or abroad. This experience is highly valued within international organisations. Organisations that our students have interned at include:

  • Dutch Ministry of Defense
  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and embassies around the world
  • Media outlets such as EenVandaag
  • Netherlands Permanent Mission to the United Nations
  • Netherlands Institute for International Relations ‘Clingendael’
  • The International Centre for Counterterrorism
  • The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies

Please note that you will need to find your own internship and have to follow an internship procedure for approval. Pursuing an internship may have consequences for the date of your graduation.

Our staff can help you identify both the career that is right for you, and the necessary steps to get you there. Our team at Humanities Career Service provide all Leiden University humanities students with professional advice and guidance on everything from internships and career planning to job applications. Humanities Career Service also organises regular workshops on topics such as effective interview skills and creating a successful CV.

The Humanities Career Service offers you various (online) workshops, webinars and info sessions. Check our overview of career activities

The Leiden University Career Zone is an online career portal that helps you to prepare for the job market. Here you can find information, tools and tips to help you gain more personal insight, learn about the job market, develop your application skills, plan your academic and professional career, find job vacancies and discover what the Career Service can do for you.

Join the Mentor Network to contact alumni with experience on the labour market and ask them for advice. More than 1200 alumni are happy to help you!

Jelle on finding an internship via Leiden University's Mentor Network

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Student-Alumni Networking Events

One of the many ways the MA International Relations prepares you for your future career is the Student-Alumni Career Networking Event. Practical advice, a panel discussion, and an informal networking reception are key ingredients for this successful event. Read more about the Student-Alumni Networking Event in 2023 or watch the video for an impression of the Networking event in 2022!

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