“These are the kinds of experiences you can’t get enough of.”
Jessica Harmer, USA / UK
Business Innovation Project Manager, World Food Programme
When considering degree programs, one of the important factors for me was timing. At IE University, I was able to get two master’s degrees in a year and a half. Anywhere else, this could have taken up to four years. Cost compared to US was a factor, but most attractive above all was that IE offered a hub in Europe and an opportunity to build my career outside the US, where I mainly worked previously.
I’m a Management Consultant of Sustainability, which primarily means I scope, sell and implement sustainability strategies for a diverse set of organisations. My objective is to lead clients in the integration of sustainability into their strategies and workstreams while ensuring cost and operational efficiencies. Currently, I’m positioned as a Business Innovation Project Manager for the United Nation’s World Food Programme.
Prior to my time at IE University, my experience in the sustainability field was somewhat scattered. Both of my master’s degrees helped me drive direction and build expertise in the space. The program itself is robust – the amount of work and number of classes means one is forced to manage time and prioritize effectively. Working with people from all different backgrounds has certainly enhanced my ability to effectively work with diverse groups and thoughts. Everyone comes with an open mind and is ready to learn from one another. Because of this the connections you get at IE University are really one of a kind. With such a diverse group of students and professors, the conversations are really fascinating. I’d worked with diverse groups before, but this brought a whole new understanding to the benefits of diversity.
A particular highlight of my time at IE was IMBA’s Social Impact Lab. I partnered with a Madrid-based impact investment fund, CREAS, to better understand the field and how to measure & manage impact. This experience gave me hands-on experience in the impact investment spcae. It also represented an important shift in focus for me – from that of corporate management to ESG and impact. Following this experience, I was invited to attend the 2019 International MBA Summit, held in in Australia, where my workshop on Design Thinking for Social Impact won the Tim-Eisenhower award. These are the kinds of experiences and opportunities that are priceless thanks to IE.
“The connections you get at IE University are really one of a kind. Everyone comes with an open mind and is ready to learn from one another. With such a diverse group of students and professors, the conversations are really fascinating.”
Prior to IE University, I didn’t know sustainability consulting was a career path. I had some experience with social impact – mostly volunteering and pro-bono projects for NGOs and charities. During and since IE, I’ve consulted for and collaborated with a number of IE alumni who have their own start-ups and companies. This experience was crucial to build my entrepreneurial skills, because previously I had standard management consulting experience within a large corporation. IE University was really where I kick-started my focus and put all my skills into practice. It was thanks to IE’s Talent & Careers that I understood what else was out there. They helped me understand my best-fit options and pointed me toward a number of companies in this sector. I followed the organisations I liked the look of for a while and as soon as they opened a suitable a position, I applied.
Moving forward, I’ll always keep an eye on the trends and the big picture. The last 50 years has seen tremendous change and shifts in my field. ESG, sustainability, social initiatives, impact investing… These areas are still growing and developing. I aim to be at the forefront of this development, a leader in supporting the industry progress in the right direction.