22 January 2021

Putting the Venture in Adventure: One Alumnus’s Career Story

Originally from the Faroe Islands, Thomas Heri Giehm (‘17) came to the Graduate institute to study International Affairs. Opportunities from his time at the Institute opened doors for him to land a job at Aqua-Spark, a sustainable aquaculture business where he currently works as a Deal Flow Manager.


In 2015, Thomas first set foot in the Graduate Institute. His goal was to work in the field of international affairs and he was sure this was the place to do it. As a student, he was able to work at a number of international agencies, including the UN Economic Commission for Europe, as well as a summer job in Paris at the International Energy Agency. Through these experiences, he honed his idea of what his ideal job would be. 

Shortly after graduating from the Institute in 2017, Thomas began work at the Louis Dreyfus Company, enrolling in their trader graduate programme, while simultaneously studying for a second, finance-orientated master’s degree on weekends. This was an exhilarating time to be a trader as he witnessed firsthand the market solving the dislocations in global food trade caused by the US-China trade war. 

Thomas then had the opportunity to join the Dreyfus Food Innovation venture capital programme, which invests in disruptive, technology-enabled companies to better feed a growing world population. 

That experience eventually led him to move to the Netherlands to join Aqua-Spark, a fund that invests in early-stage sustainable aquaculture businesses. As a deal flow manager (kind of like an investment associate) here, Thomas found himself working for a fund that not only performed well financially, but also made a positive impact on the world. 

The Graduate Institute's Master in International Economics now has a new specialised track in Sustainable Finance and Development. Thomas is happy to share his experiences in this field. For anyone interested, he encourages you to reach out to him