Tobias Gehrke

International Law LLM

The prospect of being based in Brussels and using it as a launchpad for my future was a big selling point.

Why did you choose BSIS?

After studying EU Politics and International Relations, I wanted to further specialise in the space between politics and law by completing an LLM programme. With my heart set on EU politics, coming to Brussels always seemed worth pursuing. After discovering BSIS and its versatile curriculum, which allowed me to shape my syllabus according to my interest (International Economic Law and International Political Economy), I was quick to apply. 

The prospect of being based in Brussels and using it as a launchpad for my future was a big selling point. Brussels is a truly international city like few others, with all the perks that come with it: lots of young people, English in wide use, great professional prospects, an international cultural scene and great travel connections.

What are you doing now?

I found employment right after my time at BSIS. I answered a call for applications for a position at the Egmont Institute which was funded by an EU scholarship for PhD students. The grant allowed me to do lots of great stuff, from attending international conferences and receiving valuable training opportunities to meeting interesting people all over the world. After my scholarship came to an end, I was taken on by the Institute. 

I’m working as a research fellow in a Brussels foreign policy think tank (Egmont Institute) and I am also working to complete a PhD programme at Ghent University. This double track between the two worlds is quite exciting. The PhD allows me to build the academic grounding in my field of research, while the think tank offers me a platform to offer relevant policy analysis and recommendations which (one can at least hope) do their small part in the big EU and Belgian foreign policy machinery.

There’s lots of exchange with policymakers, experts and different stakeholders by way of conferences, seminars, brainstorming or just chats over coffee. This makes the job very dynamic, which I enjoy.

What advice would you give current students?

The Brussels job market is exciting – but it is also very competitive for graduates. Young, well-educated, multilingual talent flocks to Brussels in a continuous stream. Most get a few internships under their belt before getting into more stable employment. Don’t be dismayed by it, there are a lot of applications to fill out.

Use your time at BSIS as a transition period towards your career. You should start early by familiarising yourself with sectors, job profiles and potential employers on offer. Get on LinkedIn and Twitter, subscribe to newsletters, attend the conference circus. Reach out to people, even if just to flag your interest or your research. It can help you plant little seeds across town. You should also take advantage of the BSIS career service!