The 2018 MIA graduate knew early on that she wanted to pursue an international career.
It took a little while for Raphaëlle Arino to find her dream job. Since the beginning of 2020, more than two years after she graduated from the Hertie School, she has been working as an associate in the Berlin office of Finsbury Glover Hering, a leading public affairs and strategic communications consultancy with a worldwide reach.
She is currently working on a sustainability project, which ties in with her personal interest in the European Commission’s Green Deal. But Raphaëlle says the scope her employer offers to dive into new sectors and get immersed in a variety of topics is enormous.
“You could get thrown into anything – artificial intelligence, IT, mobility or healthcare,” she says. The firm also offers secondments in its offices in Frankfurt, Dusseldorf or Brussels for employees to learn, for instance, about crisis communication, or mergers and acquisitions.
Brought up in Italy by French parents, Raphaëlle was drawn to politics early in life, but instead chose to study applied economics at Paris Dauphine University and spent a year in Buenos Aires as part of her course. She values the “critical mindset” and quantitative approach her studies gave her.
“If I compare myself with other colleagues with a more literary background I have a different approach to problem-solving,” she says. “That doesn’t mean it’s better, but it’s good to have a combination in a team.”
With fluency in French, Italian, English and Spanish and good German (“it’s not at the polished level I wish it would be, but it’s getting there,” she says), it was clear her career path would be an international one. Her choice of the Hertie School, where she joined the first intake of students on the Master of International Affairs programme, was in part a strategic one, taking into account Germany’s leading role in Europe.
Raphaëlle was particularly interested in courses by Andrea Binder and Professor Christian Traxler, with a focus on economic and financial crime. But she also loved “the wide array of events on topics ranging from international law to green politics or tax evasion,” she says. “You could go and get a taste for it. For me, this was even more important than the classes.”
Another key benefit of studying at Hertie was her classmates. “We all came from very different backgrounds and had different perspectives, but we were bound by an overarching ambition to change the world, to have an effect,” she says.
Many of her classmates remain in Berlin and when they meet, the conversation often revolves around politics, governance, and what she terms “the big questions: how do we engage, how are we politically active?”
Raphaëlle doesn’t see herself moving on from Finsbury Glover Hering any time soon – there is way too much still to learn there. But she can imagine working at the European Commission at a future point in her career.
“An overview of businesses and a deep understanding of how they work is really important in the public sector too, so I wouldn’t mind staying in the private sector for a while,” she says.
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Views expressed by the author/interviewee may not necessarily reflect the views and values of the Hertie School.