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Alumnae-i
28 March 2022

Setting the Stage for a Future Career in Economics: One Alumna's Story

Signe Krogstrup earned both a master and PhD in International Economics in 1998 et 2003, respectively, at the Graduate Institute. Currently, she is Governor at the Danmarks Nationalbank.
 

Could you briefly trace your career path?
Before starting university, I knew I wanted to experience the world, travel and learn languages. I was also interested in understanding social and political issues, besides enjoying math. My choice of university studies fell on economics. After undergraduate studies at the University of Copenhagen, I started at the Geneva Graduate Institute in 1996, where I obtained a master and subsequently a doctoral degree in international economics in 2003.

After a brief posting in 2002–2003 as economist with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia in Beirut, Lebanon, I returned to the Institute where I spent another three years as a postdoc and lecturer. I learned a lot from working closely with Professors Charles Wyplosz and Alexander Swoboda.

In 2007, I joined the Swiss National Bank, where I spent eight years which were marked by the aftermath of the great financial crisis and taught me the importance of finance and monetary policy in driving economic outcomes.

My family and I moved to Washington, DC, in 2015, where I spent a year as Visiting Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and at the Federal Reserve Board. In 2016, I joined the International Monetary Fund as Advisor to the Chief Economist.

In 2019, after 23 years abroad, we moved back to Denmark and I joined the Danish central bank, Danmarks Nationalbank, where I am now a Member of the Board of Governors.

How did your studies at the Graduate Institute help you in your career?
The years I spent at the Institute were formative and set the stage for my subsequent career as an international macroeconomist. They gave me a sense of purpose by emphasising the value of economics for solving important economic policy problems and formulating evidence-based policy recommendations to the benefit of society as a whole. They strengthened my international perspective, and my appreciation of how interdependent economies and societies are. They underlined the importance of international collaboration in meeting the big challenges of tomorrow. I also experienced first-hand how much we can learn from people with different cultural and political backgrounds.

What advice could you give our students?
My career may seem very linear and planned, but this is far from the truth. My career path is what happened while I was planning for something else. Rather than planning, my advice would be to seek out jobs that are meaningful to you in the moment, and that allow you to equally learn, develop personally and contribute. Keep a student’s mind, stay curious, learn by doing, and – by consequence – don’t be afraid of taking on assignments that you do not yet know how to accomplish.

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This article was published in Globe #29, the Graduate Institute Review.