Lluís Torrent, IBEI alumni 2008-09
1. Why did you choose IBEI Master's programmes?
After working for several years in the environmental field I wanted to approach new opportunities and start working at international level. With little experience studying or working in other countries I thought a good way to start the 'internationalisation' of my profile would be by enrolling in the Master in International Relations that IBEI was offering.
2. What was your experience at IBEI?
I have very good memories of my period at IBEI. I really enjoyed studying there (even though it was quite tough due to the intense dedication that the Master's required) and meeting people from all over the world. I think the academic level was quite good, the activities provided were interesting and the facilities were great, but the most interesting part of it was debating topics and exchanging views with people from diverse origins and having different perspectives. I think that was really enriching.
3. Describe your career path since graduating from IBEI
A few months after graduating from the IBEI I had the opportunity to live for one year in Argentina where I worked for the Environmental Protection Agency of Buenos Aires and started working as a blogger on my free time. In Buenos Aires, I decided to start an online and collaborative project named 'United Explanations', which is still running today 6 years later. The following years were full of different experiences, working as an environmental consultant, marketing manager and business developer. I lived in the city of Hangzhou (China) for three years, where I worked in the field of energy saving and energy efficiency. It was a tremendous experience and it definitely made my profile more interesting. Afterwards, I had the chance to work for a couple of years in the International Technical Assistance sector which had been to me one of the target sectors I wanted to approach since graduating from the IBEI. As a business developer and projects manager I had the chance to work for multilateral organisations such as the European Commission, the IADB, the UNDP and the AFD, in a variety of projects in countries such as Montenegro, Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Palestine and Brazil.
4. What is your professional experience (your current position, your main functions)?
In June 2016 I decided to quit my job and start my own project. I am currently acting as a Director of two online media projects (United Explanations and muhimu) in close cooperation with a dozen collaborators. I am also working as an Environmental and Climate Change independent consultant for several organisations.
5. How did the master programme prepare you for the work you're doing now?
The master gave me the foundations and a good theoretical framework and knowledge to successfully work in the development field, being able to understand how the international system works, giving me the capacity to analyse public policies across various sectors, the role of the different players in the international field, how policy making takes place, how policies are delivered and evaluated, etc. It also widened my mind and switched my criticism on, and made me realise about the importance of questioning things. Since the master was quite demanding in terms of delivering outcomes I also learned to work fast, to become more efficient, to better work in groups and specially to work in a multicultural environment, something that later on proved to be very important
6. Is this more or less what you pictured yourself doing after the Master’s program?
Yes and no. What I pictured after completing the master's was me working for an international organisation. And I really had the chance to do so. Last April I was accepted to work in a multilateral institution in Budapest, but I finally declined the position for personal reasons. I have now become an entrepreneur and freelance consultant, and to be honest, I am quite happy about it, but this was not something I was expecting in the beginning. As somebody told me many years ago: 'you know where your career path starts but not where it ends'.
7. What advice would you give to current students who want to follow this career path? Some advice to future IBEI students?
I would strongly suggest them to build a unique profile, that distinguishes them from the rest, and then to promote it smartly. I would encourage them to be brave and ambitious, to work abroad for some time, to change job from time to time to see different environments -to make them grow as professionals-. Grow a good network of (quality) contacts. Never stop learning and specially love what you do. Studying is important but working is even more important. Employers and work colleagues need to see what your abilities actually are, not only what your CV says they are. If people remember your touch years after you leave your job, then it is a good sign.
8. What do you miss most about IBEI?
I miss the friends I made at IBEI, who are currently living in other countries. I miss being a student and the lifestyle around it! I enjoyed a very good time with my pals there. I also miss the conferences I used to attend and being so up-to-date on international affairs and analysis. Unfortunately this is something I can't keep up anymore because I am busy managing processes.