IE University takes a practical approach to learning, offering hands-on experiences to help students seamlessly step into the world of work. IE School of Politics, Economics & Global Affairs teamed up with the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to give students the opportunity to participate in a summer research project aligned to their professional goals.
The OECD is an international organization focused on creating policies that will help improve lives. Fostering equality, opportunity, well-being and prosperity, the OECD works alongside governments and policy makers to share best practices and knowledge, and to build a forum for people to find solutions to social, economic and environmental challenges.
Bringing our students to the core of it all, IE School of Politics, Economics & Global Affairs and the OECD launched a joint initiative summer research program. The Econ/Finance Summer Research Program gives students the opportunity to select between two research projects and earn credits toward their degree. Beyond the academic gains, participating students also visit the OECD headquarters in Paris and take part in other in-person activities with leading economic and financial institutions.
The Econ/Finance Summer Research Program sees students developing research methodologies and crafting recommendations based on quantitative and qualitative analysis in either geopolitical risk or ESG reporting. They analyze OECD data, assess regional trends and produce a final report, giving them an in-depth look and feel into what working in the industry is like on a day-to-day basis.
Bachelor in Economics student Konstantine Tsiklauri took part in our most recent Econ/Finance Summer Research Program. He selected the geopolitical risk option, where he analyzed the vulnerability of a financial institution in the midst of our current geopolitical context. We had the chance to catch up with Konstantine to hear more about his experience and where he sees his skill set taking him in the future.
Can you share your most valuable experiences and skills gained from conducting real-world research as part of the program?
Conducting real-world research has been an invaluable experience. My team had the opportunity to delve into current geopolitical issues and analyze data for JP Morgan, providing us with a unique perspective on real-world data rather than abstract concepts. We gained a deep understanding of the links between global economies, trade and financial markets, further emphasizing the importance of geopolitical developments. This experience enhanced our skills in data analysis, risk assessment and strategic thinking, preparing us to tackle complex issues in the financial sector and beyond.
Can you explain your project and your key takeaways?
Our project aimed to assess JP Morgan’s vulnerability to geopolitical developments by using three geopolitical risk frameworks to analyze the company’s global operation strategies and performance. We identified three key geopolitical risks: the upcoming elections in the United States, the China-Taiwan conflict and the impact of artificial intelligence.
Regarding the 2024 elections in the US, we found that historical trends indicate different impacts under Democratic and Republican administrations. We provided recommendations for JP Morgan under both scenarios, focusing on policy adaptation and stress testing.
In the case of the China-Taiwan conflict, we developed scenarios for war, diplomacy and foreign intervention, offering recommendations for JP Morgan to adapt operations and investments accordingly.
We also explored the risks posed by artificial intelligence, including increased regulation, severe restrictions and cyberattacks. Our recommendations included technology adoption, operational flexibility and cybersecurity enhancements.
Our research highlighted the need for JP Morgan to proactively manage these geopolitical risks to safeguard operations and portfolios in an increasingly interconnected global economy.
With the program’s hybrid format, what strategies did you find most effective for collaborating with your team and mentors?
To effectively collaborate in the online environment, we conducted weekly video meetings where we discussed our research and findings. Each of us focused on different major geopolitical risks, and we maintained ongoing communication throughout the week before our scheduled meetings with the program coordinator. This approach allowed us to coordinate our efforts, share insights and receive feedback, ensuring the success of our research project.
How has this virtual experience enhanced your teamwork and communication skills?
The virtual experience has significantly enhanced both our teamwork and communication skills. Our research was complex and multifaceted, requiring effective collaboration to meet deadlines. As a team, we skillfully coordinated tasks, analyzed each other’s findings and maintained open channels of communication. This experience has strengthened our ability to work as a team, communicate ideas effectively and adapt to remote work environments—all valuable skills for any future endeavor.
How do you envision your research contributing to addressing issues such as geopolitical risk management?
I believe our research provides comprehensive and relevant insights into imminent geopolitical risks. These insights can be invaluable for decision-makers in the financial sector, including JP Morgan, as they navigate an increasingly complex global landscape. By proactively managing geopolitical risks, financial institutions can better safeguard their operations and investments, contributing to more stable and sustainable financial markets.
What advice would you give to students applying for this program in the future?
I would advise future participants to prioritize effective coordination within their teams and choose research topics that genuinely interest them, as the program involves substantial research efforts. Additionally, I recommend utilizing the most up-to-date and relevant data for their research, as a strong data foundation is crucial for conducting robust and impactful studies. This program offers a unique opportunity to contribute to real-world solutions, so make the most of it by being passionate and well-prepared.