31 Aug 2016

MILE Alumni Profiles: Thalis Andrade

MILE was a watershed in my life.

Thalis Andrade, a graduate of the MILE 14 intake, is a trained lawyer who works in foreign trade analysis for the Brazilian government and also lectures on international trade law. He says the MILE programme allowed him to realise a dream of living abroad while studying a subject he loves.

Tell us where you are working now and in what capacity?

I’ve been working at the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Trade since 2009 as a civil servant with the title Foreign Trade Analyst. Within the Ministry, I had already worked on dumping investigations, trade negotiations, and judicial matters of foreign trade before the MILE. After the MILE I started handling duty drawback and import licences procedures, especially import tariff quotas. I was always addicted to trade procedures and regulations!

What led you to the MILE?

I remember that I was looking for a PhD position because I already had a Master’s Degree in International Law from Brazil. However, right in the middle of the application process, a friend of mine told me about the MILE programme. When I had a look at the course flyer, I got very excited about it because my previous experience was not focused on international trade. I had never seen such a sophisticated curriculum combined with a ‘dream team’ of professors! I thought, definitely, I should go for it.

In what ways would you say you have benefited from following the MILE programme?

MILE was a watershed in my life. I had always wanted to have an international experience. However, I never thought I would have the chance to combine living abroad and studying the subject that I love. MILE provided me with both in the best possible way. Besides the deep international trade knowledge I’ve acquired, I had priceless opportunities to stay connected with professors and people in the trade field. The hardworking environment also pushed me to a higher level of resourcefulness, writing skills and speaking in public.

What career goals do you still have?

Teaching is my ‘second wife’. I cannot leave it. I had started teaching before going to Switzerland. After observing professors who lectured during the course, my teaching skills have improved miles. This is the main reason I want to start a PhD on International Trade Law as soon as possible. As a Brazilian researcher, I cannot deviate from my passion, which is to lecture and work on international trade law.  The highest degree of academic achievement is mandatory for me. Maybe it will be WTI again!

Did you have any memorable experience during the MILE?

This is a difficult one. I had plenty of them. Professionally, one remarkable moment was the Moot Court. The MILE director divides you into six groups, taking students’ grades into account and bringing balance to the teams. You have a mix of the least and the most hardworking students and have to coordinate people. It’s quite challenging. Surprisingly, my group managed to make it through to the finals! After the oral hearings, Professor Arthur Appleton told me that I had delivered one of the top-ten best rebuttals he had heard. This is something that you do not expect even from your boss and it makes you believe that you can achieve any position you want in life.

What message would you give to applicants?

You can study international trade or you can be part of it. It is not easy. It´s almost a ‘trade deal’: you may leave friends and family behind, but you’ll get the ‘MILE family’ and make friendships for life. Embracing such a journey, you will never be the same again. Trust me, this is a good thing!