Anna Koestenbauer

MSc Comparative Politics, 2013
Policy Officer, Australian Public Service

Why did you choose LSE, and why did you choose your programme of study?

I chose LSE for its reputation and location in central London. I chose this programme of study because of the excellent and interesting set of elective course options, and the credibility and stature of the lecturers.

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

I look back at my year at LSE as one of the best in my life! It was an amazing experience, rewarding both academically and socially.

How did you arrive at your current role?

I was offered a job with Gerson Lehrman Group in Dublin, an international expert platform before graduating from LSE. This was an amazing opportunity as it ensured I walked into a job as soon as I submitted my thesis. Later that year, I was offered a position in the Graduate Program for the Australian Department of Defence, meaning I changed paths completely and moved to Canberra, Australia. On completing the graduate program of one year, I was offered a position working on International and Strategic Policy for the Department of Defence.

Why did you choose your current job?

This job closely reflects my personal interests while allowing me to draw on my academic training.

What does your current role involve?

I work in Canberra, the capital city of Australia. Day to day, I fulfil a range of responsibilities to deliver the Government's intended policy direction for the defence of Australia and its strategic relationships with countries in our region. I maintain situational awareness of political and strategic developments in Australasia and use this to support the advice I provide to Government, which can take the form of briefs, speeches and presentations. Sometimes my work involves project management skills, at other times the responsibilities focus on research and product development. Defence is one of the largest employers in Australia - I work in an office environment with a big group of colleagues. Working in the civil service, I also liaise closely with other departments and with the private sector - working cooperatively is essential in this position.

What advice do you have for LSE students who are looking to enter a similar profession to you?

Work in the civil service is very rewarding. I highly recommend seeking out graduate entry streams for various departments and streams - use LSE Careers to explore the sector, there are many ways to build a career path in Government. It is important to stay abreast of contemporary political developments in your area - read widely! Take opportunities for further professional development whenever these are offered - attend conferences, seminars and seek out further formal qualifications. A broad skillset is appealing to many employers in the Government sector as the nature of the work can be so varied, so use your time at LSE to build your 'toolbox'. Employers also look for candidates with a balanced attitude to work and life: find a sport or activity that you love and can talk about with passion.

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