Made in HEC: Yannick Joller

It is the great multiplication of the productions of all the different arts, in consequence of the division of labour, which occasions, in a well-governed society, that universal opulence which extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people.

Adam Smith

As things change, economics enables us to understand people, businesses, markets and governments, and hence respond better to threats and opportunities. So, economics is one way of looking at the world. Mastering your knowledge in economics, on the other hand, means being sure about what you see. By teaching you how to interpret and influence the world around you, the Master of Science in Economics (MScE) program at HEC Lausanne is aimed at supporting you with this goal.

In his interview with us, Mr.Yannick Joller, who graduated from the Master of Science in Economics program in 2019 and is currently working for the World Trade Organization, told us more about his journey through his study.

Could you please introduce yourself, when did you graduate with the Master of Science in Economics at HEC?

My name is Yannick Joller and I graduated from HEC’s MScE program in 2019. Before that, I completed a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Economics at the University of Basel. Originally, I am from a village in the Swiss alps.

What is your current position and how did the Master of Science in Economics at HEC prepare you for your career?

For the master thesis I had the opportunity to do an internship at the International Trade Centre (ITC) in Geneva. In my thesis I analysed how temporary trade measures affect trade flows. And then after my graduation I got offered a position within ITC’s Division of Market Development where I currently work as a Market Analyst. ITC, the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, mainly assists small and medium-sized companies in developing countries to become more competitive in global markets. My role is to collect and analyse data related to international trade (e.g. tariffs, non-tariff measures, etc.) and prepare the information so that it is accessible in a transparent and comprehensible way.

The MScE prepared me to gather economic data from various trusted sources, think about methods of how to translate and process the content and present this information concisely for evidence-based policies. Also, as a non-native speaker, the environment at HEC was perfect for me to further improve my French skills which are crucial for working in the multilateral field. And in general, Lausanne’s proximity to the international organisations in Geneva helps a lot for those who aspire to a career in such a setting.

What skills or knowledge did you learn throughout the MScE program that you found most useful in your career?

Definitively the way we learned to process data and understand policy and research papers. I remember how difficult it was for me at the beginning of the first semester to process this enormous flood of new methods and information. Then, after many exercise sessions, a lot of self-studying and now with my professional experience, such concepts became part of my daily work.

How did your experience at HEC’s MScE program help you find your first position after graduation?

As described above, in the fourth semester I applied for an internship position at ITC. Certainly the workload of writing a thesis and being an intern at the same time was challenging but an experience I would choose again without hesitation. This setup gave me some valuable additional months of work experience and on the other hand my thesis followed a clear structure and setting.

What is something at HEC that you absolutely loved being a part of?

We had our little study group where we used to work early in the morning or late in the evening in the libraries on campus. I loved this feeling of studying together, to exchange and to challenge ourselves. In addition to that, I really loved a course about economic communications. For that course, we hosted our own radio show at Fréquence Banane and discussed current global challenges in the field of economics.

How did your time at HEC’s MScE help to prepare/impact you for your current career, activities, friends, etc.?

I really appreciated the fact that the program has a relatively small number of participants and therefore a rather small student-faculty ratio. This allows you to interact with all your classmates and easily approach the professors. I continued to have lively exchanges with some of my fellow students and I cherish coming back to Lausanne to visit some friends who still live in the area.

What would you advise undergraduates who want to pursue a Master’s degree in economics?

At first sight, the MScE seems quite theoretical, with a wide range of concepts, data and models. Only with time did I realise the elegance of these concepts, the significance of the data and what we can read from it, as well as the beauty of the models. The study of these cornerstones is worth the effort as it helps to understand the challenges of today and shape the world of tomorrow.

We thank Mr. Yannick Joller for his valuable time, advice and ideas!

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