Career Paths


Studying economics at higher levels can be challenging and demanding. But, as three alumni of the Master in Applied Economics revealed, pursuing a postgraduate degree in this field can unlock a whole new world of wide-ranging professional opportunities.

4 min read

Recently, alumni of our first-ever Master in Applied Economics cohort participated in a webinar designed to highlight not only the different backgrounds they all had before coming to the program, but also how valuable its content has been in their varied career paths since graduation.

Speaking to an audience of professionals considering their own postgraduate options, Sichen Zhou, Konrad Gritschneder and Grace Ripley demonstrated that the diversity of IE University’s student base isn’t just confined to nationality. They all chose different specialized tracks during the Master in Applied Economics—and have secured very different roles after the program.

A wide range of career paths

Our three alumni are originally from China, the UK and Germany. Sichen Zhou works in strategy and advisory as a sector consultant for IT multinational NTT DATA. After completing her bachelor’s degrees in business administration in Spain, and her Spanish and Economic Studies in Shanghai, Sichen returned to Europe to pursue a master’s degree in international management before joining IE University.

Konrad Gritschneder has a similarly diverse background. Now working in private equity at ARCHIMED, he started his career with a Bachelor of Science in Economics earned in Germany. Konrad has worked in various sectors since then, from internships in corporate finance and investment banking to leveraging AI in river clean-ups at a German startup.

On the other hand, Grace Ripley was already a seasoned IE University alum before she applied for the program: she had just completed the Bachelor in Business Administration. Now the managing director of Asociación Vellmari, Grace champions sustainable conservation in the marine environment.

“Theory is important up to a point. But being able to actually do the things you’re learning is a lot more useful.” Grace Ripley

Diverse professional paths: Master in Applied Economics alumni share their successes

Why the Master in Applied Economics?

During the online event, our three alumni began by explaining what drew them to IE University’s Master in Applied Economics. Konrad was attracted by the program’s practical approach and business focus, since it applies its fundamental theories to real-life scenarios.

Diverse professional paths: Master in Applied Economics alumni share their successes

“A very particular thing about IE University is that it makes you grasp concepts in a very, very short space of time and apply them very specifically.” Konrad Gritschneder

Grace wanted to specialize in strategy and consulting, particularly in sustainable development. Sichen, despite already having a job offer, was keen for an on-campus university experience: she secured her previous master’s degree during the COVID-19 quarantine. All three confirmed that the experience exceeded their expectations.

Reshaping professional futures

Despite holding very different roles, our graduates were unequivocal about the program’s relevance. For Grace, the “eye-opening” diversity of her cohort made her more aware of different perspectives and offered a strong international network. What’s more. specializing in Economic Consultancy and Market Regulation has really fast-tracked her career growth.

Sichen chose the Economics for Public Policy specialization. The “intense 10 months” of the program taught her how to multitask and tackle stressful situations at work—a skill that’s proved vital now that she deals with C-suite-level clients worldwide. Sichen found IE University’s international character and the rigorous nature of the program to be highly beneficial.

Konrad credited the technology skills imparted via the program for his rapid professional growth, especially the coding and data science elements of his Economic Analysis for Corporations track. These, he said, will “help you impress” workplace peers and superiors straight away.

“Enjoy the experience. Meet people and enjoy all the events organized by IE University like Immersion Week. Enjoy the journey.” Sichen Zhou

Diverse professional paths: Master in Applied Economics alumni share their successes

Lessons learned, applied in the real world

For Konrad, the professors’ real-world experience enriched his learning. He found subjects such as AI and coding extremely challenging but “worth it, intellectually and professionally” for the new technical skills he learned and the very specific, highly relevant feedback he received. “They really know their stuff,” said Grace, agreeing with Konrad’s assessment of our faculty.

Though Grace remembered how demanding some of the content was, she pointed out that learning how to value a company was “super practical” and directly relevant to her daily professional life. “I couldn’t have done it without that class,” she said. “I’ve used all the materials and even emailed a professor for help!” Grace’s overarching goal was to build a career in consulting and, having already studied data analysis as part of her Bachelor in Business Administration, said the mix of finance, valuation and strategy in the Master in Applied Economics suits anybody looking for that type of role.

Similarly, Sichen has directly applied what she learned in the Economics for Public Policy specialization in her work. As she noted, the humanistic and quantitative elements of the program complemented each other perfectly in real-life scenarios.

Advice for Future Students

Finally, our three alumni were asked for some general advice for anybody considering IE University and the Master in Applied Economics. “Enjoy it,” was Grace’s succinct reply. “Study, yes, but have fun.” Grace met and learned from a lot of interesting people while finding enrichment from events like Immersion Week.

Sichen and Konrad also strongly recommended the extracurricular opportunities provided by IE University, including relevant events, networking opportunities and—particularly in Konrad’s case— the many student-run clubs. For Sichen, going to Paris and Luxembourg for her Immersion Week and visiting Saudi Arabia for the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit were the highlights of her IE Experience.

All three also answered questions from the audience, ranging from specifics about extracurricular choices to queries about the work-life balance in the program. Overall, our alumni provided enlightening insights into the Master in Applied Economics and how it imparts relevant and immediately applicable skills for a variety of career paths.

Indeed the program opens doors in tech, consultancy, marketing, data analysis, private equity and more. With specialist tracks in Economics for Public Policy, Economic Analysis for Corporations, and Economic Consultancy and Market Regulation, it’s really up to you where you want our Master in Applied Economics to take you.