UCL European Institute


Alumni profile: Krisztina Zálnoky

Wondering where your studies might take you? Our alumni profiles look at where former UCL students are now, and how they got there.

Krisztina Zálnoky

Current position: Senior Research Project Manager - Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)
Course studied at UCL: MSc Public Policy 
Class of: 2019

A profile image of young white woman with glasses and blonde hair smiling.

Meet UCL alumni: Q&A 

What has your career path been since you graduated from UCL? 
I moved to Brussels following my graduation and completed the Blue Book traineeship at the European Education and Culture Executive Agency. In the summer of 2020, I joined the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership as policy intern, where I have worked ever since. My current role is Senior Research Project Manager. Alongside my professional commitments, I am also part of the Global Shapers community in Brussels, where I recently took on the Impact Officer role. 

How did an MSc Public Policy degree prepare you for professional life? What skills have you needed to succeed? 
Two elements of the programme helped me immensely. The first is the outstanding research methods and writing training. Research is an integral part of my work and I use the knowledge and skills I acquired at UCL on a daily basis. Having completed both quantitative and quantitative research modules, I am confident in delivering research on complex policy questions. The second is the dissertation process. Although I had previous work experience, a dissertation teaches you how to work independently and manage a long-term, complex project. 


Having completed both quantitative and quantitative research modules, I am confident delivering research on complex policy questions.

Why did you decide to study at UCL?  
My undergraduate studies in International Relations was quite theory focused, and so I wanted to pursue a master's in public policy to gain practical knowledge of how to create and implement policy towards a sustainable future. 

My best friend recommended UCL to me as she completed her bachelor's degree there and had a wonderful experience. I checked out the programme description and soon decided that it was the place I wanted to study at. It fit the profile of what I was looking for. And just like that, I applied and got an offer shortly after! 

It goes without saying that London is a fascinating place to live and study. UCL’s Bloomsbury campus in centrally located, and yet you can always find a quiet spot to read, which I appreciated a lot. 

My advice would be to open your mind to unexpected opportunities and trust yourself on your path. 

What was your student experience like? Is there anything that stands out when you look back now? 
I completed my bachelors in Hungary, so I had to adapt to a new education system at UCL. The first couple of months were quite challenging, but UCL truly lives up to being a global university and with friends from all around the globe, I found a ‘home away from home.’ 

I appreciated the variety of modules we could choose from, the small group discussions and projects in seminars, and the dissertation process. I graduated some years ago now, but if anyone were to ask me what achievement I am most proud of, I would say my master’s dissertation! The range of associations and societies at UCL is also astonishing - I joined one association which led to participating in the Hult Prize competition for ideas addressing major social issues. 

If you had to do your studies all over again, would you do anything differently?  
My studies at UCL, with all its highs and lows, contributed to who I am as a person now. I take forward many lessons learned, but I wouldn’t change anything. 

What advice would you give to students embarking on their careers post-graduation? 
My advice would be to open your mind to unexpected opportunities and trust yourself on your path.