Pictured: Current EMPA students: Mr. Fiel Vanthemsche and Ms. Susan Carroll
5 November, 2018 (London, UK)
LSE’s cherished on-campus pub, the George IV, was busier than usual this Monday night. Students, professors, and alumni from the School of Public Policy’s two executive programmes - the Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) and the UK Civil Service and LSE Executive Master of Public Policy (EMPP) – were gathering for a well-earned rest. This week marks the start of the executive degree programmes’ option module in Global Market Economics. Nearly thirty five students from the EMPA and EMPP programmes are on campus to complete the module, which analyses the geographic and macroeconomic factors of world trade.
Students have travelled from across the world to complete this week’s module, including Fiel Vanthemsche, a Belgian diplomat based in Brussels. As a diplomatic representative of Belgium, Fiel has spent seven years overseas, including three years in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and four years in Jordan. While stationed in the Jordan, Fiel was responsible for economic policy and analysing the country’s response to the Arab Spring. After leaving Jordan, he served in the DRC, where he analysed human rights and conflict dynamics in Eastern Congo.
On the topic of this week’s module, Fiel believes, “it is important to a Belgian diplomat to be able to read international trade patterns and understand a country’s aggregate economic data. By following this course, I hope to gain additional insight into how international trade works and what signs to look for [in the future].”
Also in attendance for this week’s module was Susan Carroll, who serves as the Head of Communications, Governance and Training, for the European Commission’s Executive Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). As part of her post, Susan leads a team responsible for implementing parts of the EU Commission’s COSME programme, which is aimed at boosting competitiveness in European SMEs. “Part of my work at the European Commission’s Executive Agency for SMEs involves helping companies to make the most of international trade opportunities,” said Susan. “Only around one in five European SMEs trade outside their own borders, so this option module was a natural choice. I wanted to expand my knowledge of international trade and how the global economy works,” she said.
Before working for the European Commission, Susan worked as a journalist for 10 years in Dublin, London, Sydney, Singapore, and Brussels. A native of Ireland, in addition to her native English, Susan speaks German and French.
With regard to their overall experience at LSE, Susan and Fiel cited world-class academia and classroom debates, among the SPP executive programmes’ greatest attributes. For Susan, the programme “has been a period of intense learning - both from the teaching staff and my fellow students.” Despite the programme’s challenging nature, Susan feels extremely satisfied. “I’ve expanded my horizons and improved my critical thinking skills,” she said.
In many ways, one of the most rewarding aspects of the executive degree programmes is the diversity of its participants. “We all chip in a lot to the debate, making the classes really intense, but extremely fruitful,” said Fiel. “Network wise, the EMPA has been a great as well. The combination of the international EMPA cohort and the British civil service EMPP cohort is also a very interesting match,” he said.
Following this week’s module, the executive degree programmes will resume in December.
To learn more about the Executive Master in Public Administration (EMPA) and Executive in Public Policy (EMPP) degree programmes, please visit School of Public Policy’s website.