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QTEM Exchange Programme

Testimonial Anna Bessomo

Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels Belgium

QTEM experiences from our Economics & Business students

Dear potential QTEM student,

When I left for my QTEM exchange I had just completed my master’s in economics. I’ve always been very interested in international affairs and so I followed the specialisation in International Economics and Globalisation. So, I was very excited to learn that QTEM could give me the opportunity to go abroad one more time and experience another country, culture and university; all while furthering my education and learning valuable skills.

I chose to go to the Université Libre de Bruxelles which proved to have been the absolute right choice for me. On the one hand I chose Brussels because I wanted to work on my French. On the other hand, the Université Libre offers a wide range of courses, especially economics courses. As a QTEM student I had access to all master’s and some PhD level courses the economics department offers.

Experiencing Brussels and the university

I was surprised by how much I liked Brussels. It is a lovely city, comfortable to live in and with its own charm. Also, the chocolate, fries and beer are spectacular. I did not expect to like it as much as I did.

A lot of the classes were very small, so it was very easy to make friends and I quickly felt like a was just a normal student. The courses were quantitatively challenging and interesting. I decided to focus on the QTEM module Quantitative Techniques and Tools. This module might sound a little dry, but I got the chance to take classes ranging from theoretical econometrics to quantitative policy evaluation in development economics. In the end, all my classes taught me something and allowed me to broaden my horizon, academically and culturally. I made the effort to choose classes that complemented the ones I had already taken before but were not the same. I wanted to take classes I did not have the chance to take in Amsterdam.

I felt very lucky to get to study at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, or ULB as it is called for short. Studying at ULB was a very interesting experience: the atmosphere seemed very different from all other universities I had every experienced. The administration does not always work flawlessly and sometimes the organisation becomes a little stressful. But everyone knows that it can be confusing and tries to help. I found everyone very helpful and welcoming. Since the ULB was a founding member of QTEM, they show great interest in their QTEM students and you receive all the support you need.

At the end of my stay in Brussels, I had made some great friends, studied at an interesting university and taken challenging classes.  

Gaining work experience during my internship

For my QTEM internship I worked for NERA Economic Consulting in the competition economics team in Berlin. NERA is one of the largest and most prestigious economic consultancy firms worldwide. From early in my internship I was given interesting work. I stayed with NERA for around five months. I am very happy I worked there for longer than the two months required by QTEM. By staying longer, I could learn much more and form a better-informed picture about the work and the industry. 

Life after the QTEM programme

Now, after my QTEM experience, I decided to continue my education with a PhD. I think the QTEM programme and the courses I could take during it were a great help and asset in the application process. Because I got to focus on my quantitative knowledge during my QTEM experience, I can now start a PhD programme with confidence. 

Kind regards,

Anna Bessomo, QTEM student at The University of Amsterdam (UvA).