SPP Student Offers Personal View of a European Commission Traineeship

February 8, 2017

During a recent presentation, Fabian Steuer (Mundus MAPP ’18) shared his experience of being a European Commission trainee with CEU students. The session, part of the “Careers in the EU / European Affairs” series organized by career services staff serving the entire CEU community, was scheduled in advance of the January 31 traineeship application deadline so that attendees could incorporate Steuer’s advice as they prepared application materials.

Speaking via video conference to an audience of students from SPP, the Business School, and other CEU departments, Steuer provided tips to students considering applying to the program and shared insights based on his experience as a trainee in the Commission’s Secretariat-General.

Steuer walked attendees through the application process, renowned for its selectivity. He shared insights, including information regarding the number of applications received for these traineeships each year, and practical suggestions for applicants who make it through the various stages of the recruitment process and are preselected for inclusion in the so-called “Blue Book.” As Steuer explained, only those who are included in the Blue Book are eligible to receive an offer to serve as a trainee in a specific Directorate-General or Commission agency. Candidates adopt different strategies to secure a good traineeship, including networking with individuals serving in the units where they would like to work.

Steuer closed by speaking about his own very positive experience as a trainee working in the Impact Assessment Unit of the Secretariat-General, where he is involved in the process of evaluating the quality of major Commission initiatives. The work he is doing builds on some of the coursework he did as a student at SPP, though it is less quantitative in nature than the material covered in the Impact Evaluation courses taught by SPP Professor Alexis Diamond. As Steuer pointed out, specific duties and tasks as well as overall satisfaction with the traineeship experience depend on placement. Overall, Steuer highly recommended the trainee experience and cited the opportunity to gain insights into the EU decision-making process and to work alongside Commission officials in important projects as highlights. Steuer said he was also taking advantage of training sessions organized for Commission staff in addition to enjoying numerous after hours free-time activities with members of his trainee cohort.

Ann Gagliardi, Director of SPP Career and Alumni Programs, commented that she was very grateful to Steuer for sharing tips and insights. “We’re so fortunate that public policy students and alumni are eager to volunteer their time to share information with each other,” she commented. “This says a lot about the School and the community we are building here.”