William Hynes, Senior Economist, Organisation for European Cooperation and Development (OECD)
What is your role?
I work in a programme that was established to think about the roots and lessons of the economic crisis, and to think about the OECD’s policy approaches, its objectives, and the tools it uses.
What are your main tasks?
My role involves drafting reports for ministers, which try to look at the work across the OECD and highlight where we’re taking a new approach.
What was your career path?
My career began in Trinity College with an undergraduate degree in Economics and Business, followed by a masters in Economics and a further, more research focussed masters. I went to the London School of Economics, where I undertook a fellowship, and then went to Oxford where I completed my PHD. I worked in the International Organisation for Migration and the World Trade Organisation. Through the WTO we established a programme so that OECD donors could provide support to the poorest countries engaged in the WTO discussions. This programme evolved into a joint programme between WTO and OECD.
What’s the best thing about your job?
At the OECD the best thing is that you learn a lot about different subject areas and the differences between countries and institutions and what makes them similar.
What are your main daily tasks?
It’s difficult to define a typical day because the various demands change based on what’s on the horizon. The day usually starts by looking at what’s going on in the OECD, checking out various meetings, committees and seminars.
What skills are required?
To work at OECD you don’t need perfect French but to live in the city, language skills are extremely important. Although the OECD does provide a community, for Irish people the big thing is really learning the language.
What advice would you give to students?
The OECD doesn’t hire people without experience, so internships are vital and played a key role in my getting the career I wanted. You need to be motivated by policy. It’s important to get a strong academic foundation. Economics is good but the hard sciences also give you a very good background. Being broad and diverse will give you a more interesting career.
What type of person is the role suited to?
For an open minded person with broad interests, the OECD is a great place to work. For those who are most specialised and focussed on one issue, OECD provides lots of opportunities also.
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