Political risk analysts examine the political climate and social conditions of a particular country, region, or market to determine the level of political risk. They provide information pertaining to government stability, crime levels, currency convertability, land rights issues, as well as other factors that would affect return on investment. Typically, analysts gather information pertaining to the area of interest, determine the causes, sources, and level of risk, and forward their findings to decision-makers. They also may provide solutions or offer recommendations for overcoming these risks.
Work in political risk management is varied. If you pursue this field, you may find yourself working for international organisations, financial companies, rating services, oil companies, consumer businesses or companies that sell political risk information. You can also work in the political risk divisions of large consulting and insurance companies or within Credit, Fixed Income, or Equities at a large bank.
|Key attributes/skills needed for the role||Where you could develop these skills or attributes|
|The analytical skills to analyse complex problems||
These are most likely to be developed and evidenced from your academic studies, especially any dissertation or research projects.
|The ability to communicate with excellence, through listening, speaking and writing, and to persuade||Presentations within your course, and mooting or debating experience. A student representative role is also likely to offer opportunities to develop these characteristics. CAPOD also offers courses on Communication Skills regularly within its Professional Skills Curriculum.|
|Research skills||Developed through your academic studies and any relevant work experience|
|Language skills||Improve your fluency in second or third languages. Evening courses are available.|
Other key attributes/skills demanded for the role: do you possess them?
Networking is particularly important and can help you succeed with your applications. If you have been in contact with someone working for the organisation then you have extra information to back up your case for why they should employ you. Use social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook (many organisations have their own page) to connect with organisations. Alumni can make extremely useful contacts, giving you an "edge" with your applications and interviews. There are several ways to make contact with alumni.
If you're interested in this field, it's helpful to develop accounting and financial skills as well as an understanding of the political process. Internships are strongly recommended for a career in political risk analysis, especially if you're looking to work at a financial institution.
Try to arrange work shadowing and longer placements or internships as this can help you to decide on your career choice and is a real advantage when applying for jobs. You can also adopt a speculative approach - see our web pages on networking and speculative applications for more advice. See our list of sample employers below for organisations that might have internships.
Many individuals interested in political risk analysis see the need to focus on a particular angle that will create a pathway to their career. If you're interested in a Banking context, take courses in Economics. If you would like to specialise in a particular region, work hard to become an expert on its politics, culture, and economy. If you know that your languages are rusty then think about experience that will help you brush up. You will probably need to be proactive and make speculative applications to organisations that you are interested in and networking in order to get your foot in the door. An up-to-date profile on Linked In would probably be helpful for this reason also.
Obtaining a job in political risk analysis is by no means a straightforward undertaking. Whatever you choose, you will likely need to create the building blocks of your career through a careful mix of postgraduate training, experience, skills and networking.
Successful analysts are people who can apply their knowledge to understand new and complex situations. They hail from all sorts of backgrounds. Analysts usually have degrees in business or international relations or have worked in intelligence, law, journalism or law enforcement. Furthermore, banking experience is useful to those seeking employment at a financial institution. All applicants must have strong research and analytical skills. They need to be good decision-makers and able to communicate well. Potential employers are looking for 'intelligent risk takers' who are well-informed and keep abreast of current events. They also want individuals who can write concise and coherent reports.
Language skills are an asset but not a requirement in the field. Some positions may expect you to know a particular region inside and out so you are able to decipher a balance sheet, understand a country's economic workings or provide insight into its politics. However, other positions will focus on several areas of the world and therefore do not expect you to be a specialist.
Banks and Financial Institutions
Useful Background Information