Santiago Riley
Santiago Riley
About me

I was born in Houston, Texas, but I’ve also lived in Buenos Aires, Madrid, London and Long Beach, California. I first heard of IE University when I lived in Spain; my family is still here, so it was good to come back home. Now, I’m excited about my Dual Degree Master in Management & Master in International Development as it’s exactly what I was looking for. This program gives me a chance to see my impact on people's lives.

Santiago Riley
Master’s student
The US
Dual Degree Master in Management & Master in International Development
Santiago Riley

“I want to engage with people and see the direct effects of the projects I undertake.”

Santiago Riley

Connecting to make an impact

Kind, outgoing, passionate about meeting new people and making connections—that’s how Santiago Riley would describe himself, but he’s always been an athlete at heart. During his undergraduate studies at California State University, Long Beach, he was a Division 1 (D1) athlete in the institution’s water polo team. Years of coaching the 10 and under and 12 and under teams gave Santiago his first taste of impactful leadership, which has shaped his path ever since.

Santiago’s story starts in the US, where he grew up in a multicultural household with his Argentinian mother and American father. Afterward, the family embarked on a global adventure that saw them live in Argentina, Spain and the UK. However, after completing his bachelor’s degree in international relations, he felt very limited by a lack of professional experience in the development impact industry. He started searching for programs that would solve his unique skills needs.

Santiago was eager to finally be back home, around family, in the sunny city of Madrid. So when he discovered IE University’s Dual Degree Master in Management & Master in International Development, he was sold. “This is one of the few institutions I found with this exact [combination of] programs,” he admits. However, IE University’s offering stood out because to him the alternatives felt too political or high-level. “I want to engage with people and see the direct effects of the projects I undertake,” he explains. He knew the very practical dual degree program was the best place to achieve this goal. The fact that it had a January intake was even more appealing to him, as he had graduated from his bachelor’s degree in December and wanted to get straight back into studying..

“I want to create an impact in people's lives by tackling the energy transition challenge in my generation.”

Santiago Riley
Santiago Riley

“The program has been really exciting so far,” he states. That’s mostly due to the knowledge gained through unique courses he says you won’t find anywhere else. And he’s right: the Dual Degree Master in Management & Master in International Development is born from the combined expertise of IE School of Politics, Economics & Global Affairs, IE Business School and the United Nations Systems Staff College (UNSSC). As a result, students access an eclectic pool of expertise that equips them with many competitive advantages.

Rigorous and thought-provoking, the program has been everything Santiago wanted and more. “It makes you ask harder questions and provide even better answers,” he explains. Coupled with a faculty of world-leading experts—some of whom regularly fly in from active jobs in the field to teach classes—and this ambitious student knows he’s got the right mix for professional success.

“I want to create an impact in people's lives by tackling the energy transition challenge in my generation,” says Santiago. With long-term career goals rooted in sustainable change and impact, he hopes to apply his skill set in both the private and public sectors, leveraging an understanding of the needs of each to address issues holistically.

Additionally, he’s determined to give back, especially in Argentina, a place he’s lived in and visited many times. As he points out, “Seeing poverty and political disruption in a place I once called home has kept me connected to wanting to make a greater impact.”

For now, Santiago is content to spend the building years in Madrid, enjoying all the good food it offers while honing his skills and impact potential in the Dual Degree Master in Management & Master in International Development. His advice for those thinking about joining the program? “Don’t hesitate. The people you’ll meet here are truly one of a kind. I’ve never been in a classroom this diverse in my life!”