17 Feb 2015

MILE Alumni Profiles: Iryna Polovets

"The WTI is second to none as a place to study international trade."

MILE 12 graduate Iryna Polovets works as a dispute settlement lawyer at the WTO and at the same time is studying for a PhD at the WTI. She talks here about her professional journey from Odessa to Geneva, from maritime law to international trade.

What made you decide to join the MILE programme? I always wanted to build an international legal career. After earning a Bachelor's degree in Maritime Law in Odessa (Ukraine), I started a Master's programme in International Economic Law in Kyiv. As a graduate student I participated in the ELSA Moot Court on WTO Law, where I first found out about the WTI and its MILE programme. Having spent one year delving into the intricacies of WTO law while preparing for the moot court, I could not but choose a career in international trade. Upon graduation, I spent a year practising trade law in a leading Ukrainian firm and preparing my MILE application. I was elated to get an admission and a full scholarship to attend the programme for which I am very grateful to the WTI and SECO. The hallmark of the MILE programme is that unlike other graduate schools where international trade law is taught as a single module, MILE is a comprehensive interdisciplinary programme covering virtually all aspects of economics, law and policy of international trade. Tell us about your current job and about what you have been doing since graduating from the MILE programme three years ago? After graduating from the MILE in 2012, I studied in the US for one year, interned at a law firm in Brussels and at the Appellate Body Secretariat of the World Trade Organization, and worked for the International Centre on Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD). Currently, I am working as a Dispute Settlement Lawyer at the Appellate Body Secretariat of the WTO. In this capacity, I am tasked mainly with delivering advice and assistance to the Appellate Body in connection with all aspects of appeals of panel reports. I also recently came back to the WTI in Bern and started a PhD in International Economic Law. How did the MILE equip you for your current position? The WTI is second to none as a place to study international trade. Although the MILE programme is very intense and daunting, and Bern is not the most fun city in the world, by the end of the programme you have a broad understanding of the mechanics and rules of international trade. It also needs to be stressed that MILE boasts an international faculty of top-notch experts in the field who could help you launch a career in international trade. I found the language support particularly helpful. What advice would you give to MILE students and those considering joining the programme? I think, while studying, it is important to have a clear vision of where you want to end up and to focus on the relevant subjects.