The Centre experience: Sebastian Pfaffen

06 Aug 2014

Sebastian Pfaffen describes how his academic background helped in writing an internship report on the economic value of public sector risk solutions in mature markets.

Click here to learn more about Sebastian Pfaffen
More from the series: "The Centre experience"

What initially brought you to the Centre?

After finishing my master's degree in economics at the University of Zurich, I was looking for jobs. I attended a recruiting event organised by Swiss Re. The presentation and the presenter left me with a very good impression. I found this internship, applied and luckily it worked out.

What business are you working on?

I am writing a study to demonstrate the economic value proposition of Global Partnerships in mature markets. The main findings would be used in marketing the public sector services offered by Swiss Re. I worked with colleagues both from Global Partnerships and the Risk Research Relations team, based in the Centre for Global Dialogue. Receiving input and support from two teams with different perspectives was particularly valuable.

Will we be able to see the results of your work?

My report's main insights will be summarised into a brochure for public use. The full report will be used by client marketers in their public sector pitches.

How have you found your time working at the Centre?

I spent most of my internship at the Centre and it is a privilege to work there. It has a unique working atmosphere. Being at the Centre enabled me to attend conferences and discussions with exciting visitors and speakers such as the chief economist of the WEF.

What are the next steps for you?

I would like to continue to work in the insurance industry and am currently looking for jobs in that sector.

Would you recommend a similar internship?

I enjoyed the ability to use my economic background to construct a thesis moving from the economic value of re/insurance for the public sector. For me this was a perfect fit at the intersection of business and academia. Others may prefer an internship closer to the business.

How can such an internship prepare you for the future?

I acquired three essential skills with the internship that will serve me well in the future: Firstly, the ability to manage a project across a global matrix organisation; secondly, to develop editorial skills in isolating and communicating the key messages of my study; and lastly, to learn more about re/insurance and disaster risk financing. 

Academic background: Master or Arts in Economics, University of Zurich, Economic growth and inequality - Economics of human capital

Professional experience: Internship Swiss National Bank, Financial Stability Department, Term Assistant University Zurich at the Chair of Public Finance and Macroeconomics

Personal interests: Boyscouts, politics and sports


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