In late January, 18 Johns Hopkins SAIS students traveled to Vienna to participate in what would be the first ever career trek to the Austrian capital. The two-day initiative featured visits to seven employers in the private, public, and multilateral sectors allowing students to explore a wide variety of future career paths in the heart of Europe. Thanks to the school’s sizable network in Vienna, students had the opportunity to connect with numerous alumni and to get exclusive insights into fields as diverse as international development, energy, and central banking. To round off the professional agenda, trek participants were invited to delve right into Viennese culture, discovering its art treasures and waltzing at one of the city’s famous balls.
Due to Austrian neutrality, Vienna boasts many international organisations and attracts a large number of professionals with multidisciplinary profiles. In this spirit, the career trek included a visit to the UN Office at Vienna as well as the headquarters of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Students were eager to learn both from alumni currently working at these organisations, as well as from alumni who look back on an accomplished career in the multilateral sector.
Next up were visits to the local World Bank office and the Austrian National Bank where students were again cordially received by alumni. Sipping coffee, the guests listened to informative employer presentations and engaged in conversations on development initiatives in the Balkans and the future of the European Monetary Union.
Austria’s two main energy companies, OMV and Verbund, represented the final stops on the agenda. Through interactive sessions, both employers gave students a sense of what a career in oil, gas and renewables may look like.
As the official program came to an end, trek participants were treated to a guided tour of the Belvedere Palace before meeting alumni for a cocktail reception. Yet the highlight of the Vienna trip was still to come as the next day students put on their dancing shoes for the Vienna Ball of Sciences. Waltzing until the early hours of Sunday, the SAISers did as the Viennese do.
Written by MA candidate at SAIS Europe, Daniel Frey