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Marta Santiago, IBEI alumni 2017-19

Name and Last Name: Marta Santiago

Nationality: Spanish

Master studied at IBEI: Master's in International Relations (Part Time)

Class: 2017-19

Current working company, position and city: Head of communication & contents, Cercle d’Economia, Barcelona (Spain)


1. Why did you choose IBEI Master’s?

Previous to my time at IBEI, I studied Advertising and Public Relations at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. I learned that communication helps you to advocate for things you believe in, and I was sure that the master’s programme in International Relations would provide me the background to understand how the world works.

Another key reason to choose IBEI was because of the international environment. For a Catalan like me, it was like studying abroad but staying at home.

2. What is your experience at IBEI? 

During my studies at IBEI I was working at the American Chamber of Commerce in Spain, so I needed to combine my time studying, working and travelling to Madrid constantly. It was very hard and tiring because of the lack of time. But I felt very rewarded at the end. Teachers tried to be a little more flexible with those who were doing the part-time programme. But I am sure if I would have to choose again, I would do the full-time master’s programme.

The best part about studying for two years is that you could meet more people. Although, I have to confess that the majority of friends I am still in contact with are from the first year. We made wonderful things together, for instance we created Brainstage. Brainstage was IBEI’s student-led interview platform where we discussed contemporary issues with leading actors. We talked with Louise Fawcett (University of Oxford), Branko Milanovik (Graduate Center – University of New York), Robert Templer (United Nations), among others. It was amazing that continuous learning experience: from teachers, friends, colleagues and invited teachers.

3. Describe your career path since graduating from the IBEI

While I was on my first year of the master’s programme, I got a job at an international private institution. I felt it was only the beginning of all of it. Once I got graduated, I got a job offer from a private institution based in Barcelona where I have the chance to combine communications with geopolitics. I am doing what I love, and I am close to my family. Let’s see what the future brings!

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

In a globalized world, with the constant increase of fake news and the emergence of populist and authoritarian movements, it is very important to have criteria to disentangle the information and to know what is true and what is not. Information is powerful and can do a lot of damage. I think this is what IBEI taught me the best: to analyse, assess and above all have a critical vision and not get carried away by appearances.

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

Yes, I knew that I wanted to live in Barcelona by now, and I think that everything I did helped me to get a job in my city combining my studies. 

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

My best advice and what I have learned from my experience is: If you have the chance to do the master’s programme and not working at the same time, do it. I remember my time studying at IBEI as one of the most beautiful phases of my life. Not only because of the friends I made, also because of the amazing teachers I met. I regret not having more time to read, study and meet people.

7. What do you miss most about IBEI? 

I miss all the IBEI’s environment and atmosphere. Although there were 3 or 4 different programmes at the same time, you could know everyone. They were very familiar, and I still remember the support we gave to each other in the student’s room during exams week. We were like a family.