10 Apr 2017
MILE Alumni Profiles: Nadia Vassos
Canadian Nadia Vassos, who graduated from the MILE programme five years ago, has since carved out a career in international trade policy. In this interview, she says the legal knowledge and negotiation skills she acquired on the MILE have proved particularly useful in her current role with the Canadian Competition Bureau.
Tell us about where you are working now and in what capacity?
I’m a Senior Competition Law Officer in the International Affairs Directorate of the Competition Bureau Canada (Bureau). In this capacity, I’m the lead officer responsible for negotiating competition policy provisions in Canada’s free trade agreements, and also support the Bureau’s broader international work. I negotiate cooperation instruments to help facilitate cross-border competition enforcement and capacity building with international partners. I support the Bureau’s bilateral engagement with partners such as the United States, China and New Zealand. I also support Canada’s engagement in multilateral fora, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Competition Committee.
How did the MILE programme help you to get to where you are now?
The MILE programme was instrumental in providing me with the economic and legal foundations to pursue a career in international trade policy. Before entering the MILE, I had already been working as a trade policy officer in Canada, and was looking to gain a better understanding of all areas of trade. The MILE programme increased my expertise in trade policy and provided greater career opportunities in Canada. The legal knowledge and negotiating skills I gained on the programme have been particularly useful in my current role. The MILE is an intensive programme that prepares participants for working in demanding roles.
Looking back, what were the best (and the worst!) aspects of the programme?
The best part of the programme is definitely the people. The MILE programme enables you to work closely with a variety of talented individuals from around the world. That is essential for career development and networking, but is also immense fun! During MILE 12 we celebrated our diverse cultural backgrounds and shared experiences from our own countries. MILE 12 was supported by the amazing team at the World Trade Institute, as well as academics and practitioners from around the world.
From a substantive perspective, the programme gives an overview of the legal and economic aspects of trade policy. This enabled me to be a better negotiator with a deeper understanding of the multifaceted dimensions of trade. The combination of these factors made the programme unforgettable and truly the opportunity of a lifetime.
For me, the worst part of the programme was the lack of support provided post-graduation for career development opportunities. I found that there was little support to help recent graduates pursue new careers. It is essential for graduates to network during the programme, reach out to alumni and make their own opportunities.
How would you sum up the MILE course in one sentence?
The MILE can be long and challenging, but it’s definitely worth the journey!