04 Feb 2013

A MILE Ahead: Alumni Profile

Anirudh Shingal recalls his experiences as a MILE student and shares how the Programme helped him kick-start his career.

Which year(s) did you participate in the MILE Programme?
I was part of the MILE 2 Programme, which took place in 2001-2002.
What drew you to the Programme?
I saw an ad in The Economist and realised that the MILE Programme provided the opportunity to learn from academic experts from around the world and from leaders in the field of trade and economics. It was also a new concept with a different way of conducting evaluations. Rather than offering general exams at the end of each semester, the MILE Programme consisted of weekly course modules with case studies or take-home exams and the opportunity to write short papers on a weekly basis. While the structure was more taxing, it provided a different way of learning.
What is your fondest memory of your time at the WTI? What stands out as having been a particularly positive experience?
On a personal level, I saw my first snowfall! While pursuing the MILE Programme, I had my first experience living abroad which brought along its own challenges and pleasures. It was a time of self-discovery. Professionally, I found the teaching here to be a form of ‘learning by immersion’. You learn a lot and digest a great deal in a short period of time. The MILE Programme gets you ready for the professional life that lies ahead. I was fond of writing and enjoyed writing short weekly papers. The international faculty and students were another plus.
What would your advice be to potential MILE students?
You need to be pragmatic about the choices that you make. It is important to think about what you will learn in the MILE Programme and whether or not it could help you to achieve your learning objectives and professional goals.
What position(s) did you obtain after having completed the MILE Programme? What do you do in your current role? What makes it interesting?
The MILE Programme really helped me kick-start my career in the direction that I wanted to take. I am very grateful to the people in the Programme for making it happen. I was interested in a career in an international organisation and was fortunate to land an internship at the World Trade Organization in their Economic Research Division. After the internship, I worked as a Consultant at the World Bank for three years. My first project was in Berne working with Professor Simon Evenett. Thereafter, I took on another project with the World Bank in Delhi with Aaditya Mattoo. Finally, I worked in Washington at the Chief Economist’s Office. It was the WTI’s network that enabled me to meet Professor Evenett, Aaditya Mattoo and Bernard Hoekman, who have been both mentors and friends since then.

After three years at the World Bank, I was interested in a PhD and began pursuing my doctoral studies at the University of Sussex. It was great working with Dr Peter Holmes, Professor Alan Winters, Mike Barrow and other experienced faculty members at Sussex. A great learning experience in addition to the PhD was becoming an Associate Tutor in the Department of Economics and a Research Affiliate at the Centre for the Analysis of Regional Integration at Sussex (CARIS), researching trade agreements. I found it beneficial to do a PhD and develop my professional skills while gaining research experience.

After having completed my PhD, Professor Thomas Cottier offered me the position of Senior Research Fellow at the WTI in January 2010. In my current role, I contribute to different research programmes and co-manage the Work Programme of the NCCR Trade Regulation on the impact assessment of trade. I am also part of the faculty of the MILE Programme.
Where in the world are you located now? Is it where you grew up?
I grew up in Delhi, India, whereas I am now located in Berne, Switzerland. Its central location makes it quite convenient to travel to academic conferences worldwide, where I can present my research.

Is there anything else you would like to say?
Living in Switzerland has been amazing! I was here from 2001-2003 and after having spent the last three years here, it is like a second home to me now. I still can’t get enough of the mountains and of the sheer beauty of this country. The other advantage of living here is that you can backpack across Europe – with cities like Paris and Milan only a few hours away by train!

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© Alexander Jaquemet