Stories from Our Community

Lina Herrera

I am a proud and outgoing Colombian who loves meeting new people and exploring new cultures. I also love to read and all things food—both cooking and eating! Sustainability is what I am truly passionate about. It is becoming increasingly more important in the world, and I want to be a part of this fundamental change. When a friend recommended the Master in International Development to me, I was immediately interested, and decided it was the next step in my professional career. I eventually want to use my career to contribute to my home country, helping to devise better solutions for sustainability.

A desire to empower communities through sustainable change

Lina’s academic background is in industrial and environmental engineering. Having studied both these two sides of engineering at the University of The Andes in Colombia, Lina gained a well-rounded skill set, allowing her to assess how an environmental solution should be implemented in a way that is economically attractive to those involved.

After finishing her undergraduate degree, Lina went on to work for Alpina, one of the largest dairy companies in Colombia. For almost two years she worked on Alpina’s sustainability team before moving to the Bavaria Foundation, a large multinational drink and beverage company funded by AB InBev. There, she also worked on the sustainability team, focusing on community-based projects related to water security, circular economy, renewable energy, and volunteer programs with the company’s staff.

When a friend recommended the Master in International Development, Lina instantly took an interest. She was drawn to the program’s partnership with the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) and decided that going to IE University would be a natural next step in her career. The program is well-aligned with her goals since she wants to migrate to a more community-based job, working with NGOs, UN agencies or multilateral organizations. Lina believes this kind of work will strengthen her skills, eventually using her knowledge to help solve issues back in her home country of Colombia.

Lina Herrera - Student Story | IE GPA

Lina has enjoyed the Master in International Development program for multiple reasons. She has been impressed by how diverse the student body is and enjoys the exposure to the world of international development drawn from the ongoing partnership with the UN. Some of her professors even work at the UN currently!

In terms of the program content, Lina says that her classes challenge her to question key issues in international development. This ranges from policies that have been established for foreign aid and debt relief, to the role that certain organizations play in the international context. This requires Lina and her classmates to go a step further in critical thinking, and reevaluate ideas and information they have known to be true for their whole lives. For Lina, this process has been highly interesting, analytical, and enlightening.

After she finishes her master’s, Lina plans to seek work with an NGO or a multilateral organization like the UN. IE Talent & Careers has been helping her achieve this goal by setting up networking events with different organizations, helping candidates to understand their job openings and hiring processes. In addition, she has received assistance to improve her CV and cover letters, as well as preparation for hiring processes commonly used by recruiters. Lina praises the student services offered by IE Talent & Careers and feels confident that their support will help to fully showcase her talents to potential employers.

In the future, Lina sees herself working for an organization in Colombia, developing solutions for the country’s most pressing issues. In her view, this would include reducing inequalities and strengthening communities so that they have the tools to empower themselves. All of this, of course, must happen with sustainability considered at every step of the journey. We at IE University are excited to see what Lina will go on to achieve!