From SGH to UN

Year of graduation
Title/ degree
Field of studies

After completing my bachelor's studies in July 2009, and before starting my master's degree, I wanted to gain some professional experience. It resulted not so much from necessity, but from pure curiosity, what the world of work looks like (I do not take into account my previous experience with odd jobs), and from the lack of a clear vision of what exactly I want to study, in what form, where, etc.

Just before defending my BA thesis, I got an internship at the Economic Mission of the French Embassy in Warsaw. After completing the internship, I found a job in a private company in Warsaw - a start-up, where I did not find myself. My applications in Poland did not bring any effect, and, what is more, it was the moment when I became convinced that my professional interests are increasingly moving towards international organizations. Hence, I directed my efforts towards... Geneva. In May 2010, I was able to get an internship at IATA (International Air Transport Association), after 6 months I received a contract, and when after the next half-year I was offered a job for an indefinite period (with a raise), I decided to... resign. What was the reason? My ambition to continue my studies was very strong, the initial plan to take a gap year between studies had already become a 2-year period, and professionally everything was going too well... At that moment, the risk of not taking up Master's degree studies (at least not in the form of full-time studies - the only one that interested me) seemed too high to me. This is how in September I started studying economics at HEC Lausanne with an exchange at the University of Sydney and graduated in 2013 with the title of Master of Science in Economics. At the same time, during my studies I worked as a Research and Teaching Assistant.

With a strong feeling that my studies provided me with solid technical skills (modeling, econometrics), rejecting the option of continuing my academic career, I accepted a job at Madrid's Frontier Economics office - a British consulting company specializing in proposing solutions based on economic theories and models. Unfortunately, even though the issues I dealt with at work suited me, I felt again that the private sector is not for me. After several months of efforts, I got an internship at the International Labor Organization (ILO) and thus in May 2014 I was in Geneva again. For family reasons I stayed in ILO for only 3 months and soon I went to Amsterdam, but at the same time my perspectives changed significantly.  At the end of July, I was informed that I had gone through all the recruitment processes and was entered on the list of the Young Professionals Program (YPP) of the United Nations (UN). I got interested in the YPP exam at the beginning of my master's degree and in the 2013 edition I was invited to take the Statistics exam. After the written exam, I didn't have much hope, as the competition was very strong, I was still in a group of about 3,000 people taking the exam (all fields) from about 40,000 initial applicants. To my surprise, a few months later, I received an invitation for an interview and an oral test. Two months later I was one of the 100 people who got on the final list with the chance of getting a long-term job at the UN.

My adventure with the UN began in April 2015, when I got the position of Junior Economic Specialist at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN ECA) in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. The offer both surprised me and made me feel excited, because I've never been to Africa before. Moreover, refusal would result in removal from the YPP list. Undoubtedly, it was one of the best changes in my life, both professionally and personally. After two years, I took part in the obligatory mobility program and since July 2017 I have been the Junior Specialist in Population in the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

My biggest success

I think that each subsequent step in my career was a kind of success for me. After all, they led me to the next, more important stage. If I had to choose only one thing, I would of course distinguished passing the UN YPP exam and getting a job at the UN, because it was my long-standing dream.

My advice for SGH students

Good knowledge of foreign languages opens up many ways, it is a ticket to success.