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Mariona Oliva Escudé, IBEI alumni 2018-2019

Name and Last Name: Mariona Oliva Escudé

Nationality: Spanish /English

Master studied at IBEI: Master's in International Relations

Class: 2018-19

Current working company, position and city: Head of the Department of Environmental and Social Studies at WSP Colombia, Bogotá (Colombia)

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1. Why did you choose the IBEI Master’s?

When I decided to do the master, I was the Business Development Manager for the EMEA region in my company (a Spanish Engineering company focused on Environmental and Water projects) and I felt that, to be able to sell the services we offered and to carry out good projects I needed to know much more about the countries I visited, from an economic and political point of view. I doubted a lot whether I should take a Master’s in International Commerce or in International Relations, but I finally decided I could have a much more complete and interesting experience at the IBEI’s Master’s in International Relations.

2. What is your experience at IBEI? 

I come from a technological background (I am an Engineer specialized in Environment) and It was a little hard for me in the beginning to understand what was expected from us when presenting our papers or exercises. However, the experience at IBEI was like a new opened window that helped me to better understand the problems I was facing as an Environmental Engineer who wanted to work anywhere in the world, from many other points of view.

3. Describe your career path since graduating from the IBEI

In my particular case I already had more than 10 years of working experience when I began the Master’s and my path after finishing it, has been to continue doing a similar job to that I already did but in much more interesting conditions. I think the master helped me a lot to get an interesting position in one of the most important and recognized engineering companies in the world, where I am working right now. A company who cares for the accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals and has a programme called “Future ready” that tries to anticipate to the needs of the clients from a sustainable point of view.

4. How did the master programme prepare you for the work you're doing now? 

I think the master helped me to better understand many of the problems the existing problems in Latin America and the EMEA region, and particularly the reasons why it is so difficult to progress in the infrastructures Field. I also prepared me to understand the social aspects of the Environmental problems and how to deal with different cultures, backgrounds, etc.

5. Is this more or less what you pictured yourself doing after the master programme?

Yes, I think I am where I pictured myself after doing the master programme. But, I think it could also be nice to have the opportunity to work some day in the future in an international organization such as the United Nations or a Multilateral where I could see the same problems but from another point of view. And where I could contribute with all the knowledge in the Environmental Field that I acquired working during all these years in different countries.

6. What advice would you give to current students who want to follow this career path? / Some advice to future IBEI students?

My advice would be to take as many courses as you can be related to this field because every teacher will present things from a different point of view and you need to know as much as possible. Also, I think it is important to take some time to discuss with your fellow students, with your teachers or any person that you can meet at IBEI and can have an opinion on the subject. Being at IBEI is a unique opportunity and you have to make the most of it. You will not only learn in class but also while talking to people from different backgrounds.

7. What do you miss most about IBEI? 

I miss the interesting courses and talking every day to people who have the same interests as I do. In general, I miss the atmosphere that you breathe every day when doing the master; that feeling of being in that place where you always wanted to be.