Allen Monks, Economist, European Commission
What’s your role?
For about nine months now, I’ve been working in economic and financial affairs. I work as a desk officer for the Czech Republic. The desk officers are the people who work with and monitor the countries.
What path brought you to your career?
I did my undergrad in Dublin City University. I did a joint programme between DCU and a French business school, so after two years in DCU I went to study in France. Then I went back to Dublin for a masters in economics in UCD, and straight from there into the traineeship programme in the European Commission. I was always interested in the European Union and its structure. I had some knowledge of the European institutions from having worked there. The European Union launched some special competitions for economists, and EPSO, the recruitment area of the European Commission, came to Dublin and gave a presentation, which I attended. I saw the profile they were looking for was quite close to mine so I applied to that competition.
What are your main tasks?
It’s really quite varied. The forecast is quite analytical but for something like the European semester it’s a much longer process, which can last nine months. The common element I would say is that it’s quite intensively teamwork. I would work very directly with two other people on the desk for the Czech Republic.
What are the training options?
The training possibilities are quite strong. There is a lot of in-house training and you are also encouraged to undertake external courses sourced by yourself. The options for career development are huge because you are in this very large organisation and it’s quite easy to change between different jobs.
Would you recommend your career for Irish graduates?
Irish people have an advantage in being native English speakers, and in most parts of the commission it’s the main working language. Irish people are quite well viewed because there are a number of higher officials who are Irish
What do you find most interesting about your job?
The different elements you are exposed to. I wasn’t previously working in this area so it’s a learning curve for me to get up to date with all these different elements. It’s also an extremely pleasant working environment. You’re working with all these different people who have left their home countries and now live and work in Brussels, so it’s a very pleasant and multicultural working environment.
Who would your career best suit?
Anyone interested in public policies is going to be interested in the work of the European Commission.
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