As a Londoner with Italian, English, and Indian heritage, I have always felt stimulated in multicultural environments that inspire and push the boundaries of learning. Having completed my undergraduate degree in Modern Languages at Oxford University, I was eager to understand how to tackle the world’s most pressing issues in a more practical way at a world-class institution. What better place than the LSE?
I wanted to learn somewhere where strong opinions, in Madeleine Albright’s words, were used ‘to start discussions, not to end them’. The diversity of thought and cutting-edge research at the European Institute and LSE overall is unparalleled, and I knew that on a personal and professional level, this Masters’ degree would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Unlike many of my classmates who forged careers in Brussels, my professional path has been somewhat unconventional in comparison. I attribute this to the EI’s inter-disciplinary approach: I combined a focus on migration with a deeper understanding of the EU institutions and Single Market, and the role of law and national parliaments including the UK. Having the opportunity to listen live to Heads of State, global thought leaders, and experts every week also helped me to think laterally about what my future career could look like.
Since leaving the EI, I have worked in Corporate Affairs for Tesco plc, as a policy adviser and diplomat in the UK government (in the Cabinet Office, 10 Downing Street and the Department for International Trade). and in a start-up. The common thread? Sustainability. Over the last twelve years, I have focused on securing capital from corporates and investors, forging partnerships and shaping policy to drive the green economy and progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The EI’s inter-disciplinary approach was the perfect training ground to help me navigate and succeed in these complex institutions – each with its idiosyncratic set of norms and stakeholders. The ability to research, evaluate and strategize issues through a variety of lenses – political, economic, cultural, sociological, philosophical – has been immensely useful. It allows you to understand a diverse set of private and public sector actors – business, investors, entrepreneurs, NGOs, government – and forge more meaningful partnerships, policies, initiatives and investment decisions as a result. It is this multi-disciplinary learning that has also helped me to manage major crisis: whether during the early post-recession years, during the EU referendum or most recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ability to draw on a variety of disciplines inspired me to confront questions that may not otherwise have occurred to me.
As I prepare to take a short sabbatical, take up part-time consultancy, and continue my pro bono work as an Advisory Board member of the Women of the Future Southeast Asia Awards, I feel truly fortunate to be part of the EI family and wider LSE alumni community. This is a global network for life: one that continues to nourish and inspire me through talented peers, incredible teaching staff and informative programme of events and podcasts. Taking some time out from one’s career can seem a little daunting but the confidence that my EI experience has given me, coupled with the tools to explore new intellectual horizons, is helping me to maximise this period of reflection and relish new challenges.