My internship experience with the UN: Eimhin McEvoy

22 Jun 2023, 13:21

woman in a business suit

Degree subject Bachelor’s of Corporate Law and French (NUIG, 2014), Master’s CEMS International Management (UCD Smurfit, 2016)
Job title Consulting intern
Employer United Nations
Languages French

Why were you interested in an international career?

I wanted to gain a new perspective on life and to build a network outside of the typical Anglophone world within which Irish people usually travel, study and work. I wanted to broaden my horizons and increase the opportunities available to me internationally, opportunities that can only come if you speak another language.

How did your degree contribute to you working with UN?

My Bachelor’s and Master’s degree furnished me with all the organisational, legal, technical and collaborative skills required of the position as well as the pre-requisite global mind-set and international outlook to be compatible with the UN’s own organisational culture. I approached the UN through its online INSPIRA platform and applied for an internship within the procurement division which manages purchasing and logistics principally for the United Nations’ overseas peacekeeping missions. Though English is the language of choice, as with most of the international governmental organisations knowledge of French is either a requirement for entry or highly desirable in applicants.

What does your daily role involve, and what’s been one of the biggest challenges?

As a regulatory compliance intern, I work for and support the Headquarters Committee on Contracts, tasked with ensuring regulatory compliance and a strong business case in all UN purchases, on a case-by-case basis, for all purchases over $1 million. My biggest challenges were getting to grips with the UN’s overly complicated structures. But I now have the experience required to move on to obtain some private sector experience in my career to further broaden my skillset.

What’s exciting about your job?

Being able to contribute to the successful execution of United Nations’ peacekeeping missions internationally and supporting refugees while they remain under UN protection.

What advice would you have for students and graduates?

Pick a third level course that has a strong international aspect. Get your language skills tested by one of the international grading organisations like Alliance Française or the Goethe-Institut and don’t forget to maintain them – if you don’t use it, you lose it! Obtain international experience through internships, volunteering and university exchange programs like Erasmus. My course at NUIG allowed me to study French and to study abroad in France for one year and intern in Belgium with the European Parliament. My Master’s at UCD Smurfit enabled me to spend six months studying and interning in São Paulo Brazil followed by another internship with the OECD in Paris.

How do you hope to see your career developing over the next few years?

I’m entering the PwC graduate consulting programme this September in Dublin, which I’m really looking forward to. Choosing to make a language an integral part of my studies has given me exposure to some of the world’s most influential international organisations which has in turn given me leverage when it comes to applying for some of the more competitive graduate programmes.

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