Magazine 2019: The Danish Ministry of Finance

This year we are proud to announce the Ministry of Finance as partner for our Pre-case, which will take place Monday March 11th. If your team is one of the three finalists you will have the unique opportunity to visit the Ministry, where the finals will be hosted Thursday the 14th of March. To give you an idea of how it is to be an economist in the Ministry of Finance we had a talk with deputy permanent secretary and cand.polit Lars Haagen:

“At the Ministry of Finance, we strive to make a difference in society by giving the Government the best basis for exercising a sound economic policy. As an economist in the Ministry of Finance, you have the unique opportunity to be right at the center of where major political decisions are made.”

He continues to mention a few more explicit examples: “We are at the forefront in the development of empirical analysis of microdata - both in respect to distribution and incentives; we make microeconometric analysis on behavioural effects of different types of initiatives and reforms, e.g. tax policy: we make macroeconomic analysis of economic policy, e.g. adaptation to structural equilibrium as a result of changes in demand. Finally, the Ministry of Finance is where the most systematically work with fiscal sustainability analyses of the public economy is done in Denmark.”

How participating in Polit Case Competition can help further your career

In our interview with Lars Haagen Pedersen we wanted to know his opinion on the skills you learn by attending Polit Case Competition 2019, to which he said:

“By participating, you gain insight into a concrete example of the complex issues we continuously work with in the Ministry of Finance. You will get a hands-on opportunity to apply your academic qualifications and knowledge to solve a specific problem from the real world. You will also get the opportunity to talk to economists employed at the Ministry of Finance.”

Lars Haagen Pedersen sees many similarities in the case solving method applied in Polit Case Competition and the ones used in the daily work at the Ministry of Finance. Amongst others, he mentions a versatile approach to the problems at hand, theoretical knowledge and an ability to perform under pressure as important attributes for an employee in the public sector.

“The theoretical knowledge and analytical tools obtained during your education are a substantial part of ensuring the well-rounded analyses that are the hallmark of how we solve problems and attain wholesome solutions. As a newly educated economist employed in the Ministry of Finance, you will get to use both your analytical toolbox and analytical approach, getting to know different interesting subject fields in the process, and get to apply your general understanding of economic interactions.”

“How we work is often characterized by a high pace and short deadlines. Therefore, it is essential to have up-to-date data and an analytical framework ready to apply when needed. Furthermore, the ability to collaborate across the different sections of the house is central and teamwork is of significant importance.”

A career in the Ministry of Finance

Lars Haagen Pedersen emphasizes that the skills you obtain by working in the Ministry of Finance will make for a great stepping stone for your further career. He also points out that being an employee at the Ministry is associated with a steep learning curve provided by challenging projects, accelerated development programs and close contact, feedback and dialogue with your leader.

“The Ministry of Finance interfaces with all parts of the public sector and the public economy. Solving the tasks at hand consequently requires a wide range of competencies and skills which again create a great opportunity for our employees to execute on their potential to grow as well as advance professionally and personally.”

Furthermore, he describes working for The Ministry of Finance with the following words:

“The combination of a high professional level and great colleagues is the motivating force behind many of the employees working here. In essence, we are both ambitious on our own behalf and on behalf of society. Right from the beginning you are given a large responsibility and participate in meetings and negotiations with internal and external parties. Parallel, we have a large focus on your professional development – both in respect to different subject fields and to your analytical skills and toolbox.”

Lars Haagen Pedersen highlights how working at the Ministry is a perfect match for both current and newly graduated students of economics:

“In the Ministry of Finance, many new employees are hired directly after finishing their education. Thus one of our trademarks is being a young and dynamic house with a strong focus on high professional quality and a strong culture of cooperation. No matter how busy we are, we help each other and our excellent results are - among others - a consequence of these strong collegial principles.

Working in the Ministry of Finance, you will get ample opportunity to fulfil your ambitions and strengthen your competencies. We endeavour to ensure that our employees realise their potential, and we therefore have a strong focus on both our employees’ professional and personal development.“

Lars Haagen Pedersen has been at the Ministry of Finance since 2011. Besides his title as cand.polit he has a PhD in economics from the University of Copenhagen.