What’s it like to be a diplomat working in Brussels?

MPP alum Tim Nover shares his experience with prospective students in Brussels.

On a recent Friday night in Brussels, prospective Hertie School students had the chance to chat with Tim Nover (MPP 2008) and other Hertie School alumni and staff at Grand Central.

Tim is a graduate of the Hertie School’s Master of Public Policy programme. Originally from Essen, Germany, Tim joined Germany’s Federal Foreign Office in Berlin in 2009, after serving as the acting Head of the Hertie School’s Executive Education programme for mid-career professionals. Building his career within the foreign service, Tim worked as a desk officer in the European Policy Department and then as a press attaché at the German Embassy in Buenos Aires.

In 2017, Tim moved to Brussels as a diplomat, seconded to the European External Action Service (EEAS) for a few years. At the headquarters of the EU's diplomatic service, he currently works for the strategic planning division, and as an adviser to Helga Schmid, the Secretary General of the EEAS.

“The EEAS puts the foreign and security policy of the EU into practice - from mediation to military missions, from sanctions to human rights dialogues,” says Tim.  The strategic planning division focuses on the "bigger picture," looking at the long-term and strategic foreign policy issues.  Tim has come to realise how important it is for individual member states’ governments to consider how their national foreign policies play into wider EU foreign policy.  “In the future, national foreign policy can no longer be effective if it is not closely embedded into a larger European effort.”

How did the Hertie School prepare Tim to work in a large international organisation like the EU?

“Hertie helped me a great deal in understanding the policy-making process in general and in the European Union in particular,” says Tim. And all of those nights spent writing memos during his studies paid off: “I continue to benefit from the Hertie skills of factual analysis and concise writing - analysing complex challenges and then proposing solutions in a three-page memo is still hard, but the hours of late night memo writing at Hertie were excellent practice.”

Brussels has become a “hub for Hertie alumni, according to Tim, who was happy to share his Hertie School experience with those who are considering applying. “It's also fun to delve into my memories as an MPP and reconnect with the Hertie community.”

Learn more about the Master of Public Policy programme.