From ETIA to European Industrial Federations

DA alumna Jasmin Ploner on his career since graduating from ETIA 07 in 2015


DA: Following your studies at the DA, you became International Relations Advisor at BusinessEurope. What exactly are your responsibilities on the job and how did your career path look like so far?
Jasmin: After my studies at the DA I started the trainee programme of industriellenvereinigung (iv) in Vienna, which also gave me the opportunity to work for BusinessEurope, the European association of national employer and industrial federations, as a secondment for (initially) nine months. While working on energy and climate at iv, I did my secondment in BusinessEurope’s International Relations department, where, in addition to the usual trade topics, climate issues started to become increasingly more important (e.g. the debate on sustainability in trade agreements or later the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism). So having benefitted from ETIA’s interdisciplinary approach has very early on in my career created opportunities, both because this made my profile interesting for employers, but also because it facilitated my work in areas that get more and more interlinked. I then changed job internally and after having spent four years in the cabinet of BusinessEurope's Director General, I am now working as Associate Manager in the Brussels Office of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. In a multilateral development finance institution with a focus on private sector development, transition and sustainability interdisciplinary knowledge is again a big asset.

Have you always been interested in this specific career, or has this interest developed over time?
I’m not entirely sure if I ever had a very clear-cut career plan – I think it’s helpful to be open to (worthwile) opportunities that arise along the way and see how these experiences can be incorporated/taken advantage of to shape a career. At least in my case, especially those experiences where I first thought I wouldn’t be interested in doing this for too long have proven to be the decisive ones for me to get where I am today – a job in an institution that interested me for a long time and where I hope to have plenty of opportunities to develop on the job. While remaining flexible and pragmatic, I think one should still always check in with him-/herself where the landing point could be on his/her path.

How has the DA helped you develop your career?
Probably name and network are the biggest assets – the DA is well known and can definitely be a door opener. Also the network, mostly friends made during our time at the DA, has proven helpful and will for sure do so even more when careers develop further over time.

Is there a specific skill set taught at the DA that is particularly useful for your current job?
Apart from the interdisciplinary approach I think the social experience of two years at the DA definitely helped to maneuver in the diverse melting pot of Brussels. 😊

Is there a specific skill set learned during the second ETIA year at TU Wien that is particularly useful for your current job?
For those coming with a non-technical background I think what was a great asset is to learn the technical basics, not only on content and specifically on the various sectors (e.g. waste), but also on language and expressions. Sometimes you start noticing unconcise or even wrong language on the more technical files in your daily work because of this background.

Where do you think the future will take you?
For the moment I am enjoying my time here in Brussels and at EBRD, but I would definitely be open to work some time in another country and work a bit more closely on project implementation on the ground.

[April 2022]