Mathias Qwuist Fenger graduated in 2013 in International Politics from City, then did MPhil at University of Cambridge. He now works as a Business Development Manager at Novozymes.
Novozymes is the world leader company in biological solutions. Together with customers, partners and the global community, Novozymes improves industrial performance while preserving the planet’s resources.
The company is listed as a top20 company on the Danish stock exchange and has more than 6000 employees globally.
Why did you choose City?
I applied to multiple universities in the UK, but in the end I decided on City due to its unique campus location right in the heart of London and because of its particular strengths in foreign policy and international political economy, which are my two favourite subjects.
What modules did you enjoy doing the most?
My favourite module was American Foreign Policy. I joined city in the context of the Obama presidency, multiple global wars, a recent financial crisis and widespread racial injustice, and the professor was simply outstanding in shaping conversations around these topics by bringing in multiple historical, structural and theoretical perspectives. It was the one course, which has shaped my way of thinking about issues the most.
What sparked you initial curiosity in your current field? How did City help you realise/push you towards this?
Honestly, I did not have any idea that I would end up working in consumer products and biotech when I was at university. Initially I thought I wanted a career in research, but I also discovered during my studies that I have a strong bias for action and an urge to make a fast impact, which pulled me in the direction of a business career.
City of course helped me cover some basics of business through micro- and macroeconomics electives as well as the bigger picture within political economy. But above all, City taught me curiosity, analytical thinking and a whole range of other transferrable skills, which I apply every day to my job and life?
What’s a piece of advice you’d give to prospective International Politics students?
Be very conscious about the transferability of your skillset. Subject-matter expertise is great to have, but to have a successful career you first and foremost succeed by applying your unique way of thinking across subjects. As a personal example, I wrote my thesis on territorial conflicts in the South China Sea, but my first job was launching consumer products in the Middle East.
What has helped me succeed was not my subject knowledge, but my structured way of approaching the issue, understanding market dynamics, analysing consumer behaviour and bringing a story to life. And if you think about it this way, launching a consumer product is not all that different to launching a political campaign.