July 21, 2013 11:30 pm

The MBA turned lobbyist

Jimena Bernar is an ESCP Europe alumna and lawyer-turned-lobbyist who now works in Brussels for Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa.

Why does a lobbyist need an MBA?

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I wasn’t looking for help with lobbying techniques when doing the MBA. But I needed to learn the general knowledge and language of business. I need to be able to convince the different businesses in my company of the relevance of policy making, how it will affect them and what is at stake. My MBA has also enabled me to go deeper into policy areas, because my level of understanding is now greater.

What are the key skills of a good lobbyist?

Increasingly it’s about being able to provide quality information to policy makers, and help them see the bigger picture. I think those things can be taught. Yes, personal skills are important, but you have to know at which point of the decision-making process you have to talk to whom and know where the real power lies at which stage of the process.

Is it a job you would recommend?

The beauty of a career in lobbying is that there are no prototypes. It has nothing to do with the background that you have had, whether you are a lawyer or a scientist. It has to do with the your interest – not in politics, but in policy making.

I would recommend it if you are a curious person and want to understand both worlds, the businesses and the policy making, and how they match together. It’s about strategy too: the companies that take lobbying seriously view it as a strategic function. However, if you’re the type of person who needs to achieve immediate results today or tomorrow, it’s probably not the role for you.

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