Amal Safi

MSc in Comparative Politics, 2011
Trade Finance Officer, Credit Suisse

Please describe your career path to date

After having finished writing my dissertation early September 2011, I intensively looked for a good graduate program for 4 months. I eventually got selected for trading at Credit Suisse in Geneva, despite having a background in political science.

After a year there, I got the chance to be transferred to Singapore for 6 months; living in Asia was full of unexpected adventures and crazy situations. Back to Geneva since a year now, I'd like to further my career in international trade adding politics, macroeconomics and gender in my daily work.

Has your career path developed as you planned?  

My aspirations did not change since LSE: I still want to make a difference and be satisfied in my job and career. However, I wish I had invested more time and effort in continuing studying besides work: learning new languages and new skills. I wish I knew earlier all the rhetoric to negotiate my salary and to get assigned more responsibilities! But I guess you need this time to learn anyway!

Tell us about your current job   

I work with multinationals and trading companies to help them export commodities and products all over the world, especially to emerging countries. I communicate daily with other banks in the whole world trying to secure our transactions as much as possible. I had to adjust to a very rigorous working environment, I would have preferred more relaxed dynamics but I guess it is how a bank functions!

What do you like most about your job? Is there anything that you dislike? 

I like the fact that what we do has international implications, we see what is being produced, sold and consumed at the world level. We understand which company can impose its conditions, which countries have the coercive power to impose their political sanctions on world trade. I dislike though the bearish dynamics of the banking sector and the budget constraints that are to be taken into account in my career development.

What career plans do you have for the future?  

I would like to go on with an MBA in the upcoming years and further my career development in international trade.

Thinking back, why did you choose your degree subject and why did you choose LSE?  

I chose the LSE to have some credibility as a person passionate about political science. I chose my degree in Comparative Politics, Politics and Market stream, because I am very curious to analyse and understand the relationships between the state and the market and assess how it can be improved for more justice and sustainability.

How has your time at LSE helped you so far in your career? 

It helped me getting to know a lot of different people with enriching backgrounds at the cultural and intellectual level. I enjoyed meeting people with genuine ambitions, often with a developed sense of justice as well. It enriched my personal reflection and boosted my growth.

What advice would you give to prospective or current LSE students?   

First, be sure of what you want so that you don't lose time working in a field you will eventually dislike. Try to look for a job early by using the LSE network, when you get a job, be sure to impose your conditions if you know you work well.

Overall, how do you look back on your LSE experience?

It was definitely the best year of my whole life because I learnt so much. Despite the fact that it was stressful, intense, scary when I used to think about the final exams, I miss it so much now and I wish I can go back 3 years earlier.

Amal Safi