“I chose IE University because of its multicultural backgrounds—the idea of studying with people from all over the world was mind-blowing. Also, as soon as I read the curriculum of the Master in International Development, I fell in love with it.”
Astrid Bruchou, Argentina
- Program studied
Making financial inclusion a reality
Astrid already had three years’ experience of being a lawyer behind her when she came to IE University. Having completed a law degree at the Universidad de San Andrés in Buenos Aires, she moved into corporate law and then into a digital bank startup. It was there that she saw firsthand the impact that financial inclusion can have on people, sparking a passion that still endures in Astrid today.
She saw that access to credit, distanced payments and other financial instruments are tools to promote equality and reduce poverty. Her exposure to this financial field made a profound impact on Astrid, to the point where she started a microcredit loan program for first-time bankers with no credit history or access to credit. She also gave financial education talks in neighborhoods where financial inclusion was an issue, and worked to establish sustainability in the bank’s core values.
Astrid realized, though, that she needed to expand her knowledge of this field, particularly sustainable development, which is what led her to study the Master in International Development at IE University. The diversity of IE University’s community also played an important role in her decision to come to Madrid, and she describes the chance to study with people from all over the world as “mindblowing.” The program curriculum itself also appealed strongly, not only in terms of the topics covered but the program’s connection with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, its partnership with the UNSSC, and the outstanding faculty.
Astrid’s experience so far has exceeded her high expectations. Everything on the program, from econometrics to private finance through governance to statistics, relates to the UN’s SDGs. The program is holistic but also offers her the opportunity to specialize in the areas that most interest her—in Astrid’s case, gender and finance. The 18 nationalities among her class of 35 mean Astrid is continually exposed to different ideas and perspectives during class discussions—an enriching experience she has particularly enjoyed.
Astrid admits to being slightly surprised by just how practical the program is, but says that this, along with the team assignments that are a regular feature of the curriculum, prepare the students for the realities of work later on. Asked what advice she’d give to prospective Master in International Development candidates, she is unequivocal. “If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the international development world, while meeting and working with the most amazing people, this is the place,” she asserts.
The intense assignment readings and late-nights studying are all worth it, according to Astrid. Students graduate with much more knowledge, more passion for the subject and more motivation to make the changes the world needs, she adds.
Asked to sum up her IE University experience overall, Astrid describes it as a “unique experience.” It gave her, she concludes, the tools and knowledge to enter the world of international development, firmed up her passion for financial inclusion and gender equality, and introduced new, lifelong friends into her life, who have now become her family.
“I fell in love with it: the topics we were going to cover, the connection with the SDGs, the partnership with the UNSSC, the quality of the professors, and how it was focused on giving us tools to promote sustainable change. And it was actually all of this and more.”