“I will carry my experience at IE University with me for the rest of my life. Thanks to my year at IE, I have made friends from all over the world who continue to inspire me every day.”
Julie Krols, Belgium
Business Development Associate, Salesforce
- Program studied
Following her heart and playing her part
Julie started her academic career in Business Economics because it matched her interest in macroeconomics. It also left her with a choice to go in different directions after graduation. A naturally empathetic person, she has always put herself in others’ shoes and listened actively—thus, it isn’t much of a surprise that, during her first master’s at the University of Antwerp, she began to think deeply about fundamental global challenges like inequality and environmental issues.
Unjustified discrimination and the different pace of nations’ development was keeping Julie awake at night. So she started actively seeking both theoretical knowledge of these issues and the practical experiences that would help her tackle them. After graduating, she completed an internship at the United Nations OHRLLS in New York, conducting research and statistical analysis of clean energy projects in some of the world’s least-developed nations. The internship left Julie determined to study a master’s related to international development and sustainability.
The Master in International Development at IE University was a great fit for Julie’s goals. Structured to address 21st-century challenges, the program’s business focus also connected with her background in economics. She was specifically drawn to the specialization tracks, which offered her the chance to focus on finance and technology. The program includes electives that examine issues like the role of the private sector in sustainable development and finance, big data for development, smart cities and more. Julie believes these topics are vital in reaching the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
The practical aspects of the master’s degree were also a big influence in Julie’s decision. The hands-on experience offered with the Capstone Project, and IE University’s collaboration with the UNSSC were, she says, unique features that added great value. Her own Capstone Project allowed her to work alongside a Spanish healthcare NGO that was looking to build a strategic framework for mutually beneficial cooperation with the private sector. She calls this an important part of her journey toward choosing her career, pointing out that the private sector, governments and NGOs cannot reach the 2030 SDGs alone; such partnerships are essential.
Her overall experience at IE University has certainly confirmed that she made the right choice. As well as the program itself, Julie speaks highly of the unmatched experience of the faculty, the incredibly diverse nature of the community, and even the Madrid location.
She says that every single person she met during her time at IE University played some role in helping her find out what she wanted to do. She learned a lot from conversations with her peers, her professors and her career coach as she laid out her professional path.
Her career has already led her to a traineeship at the European Commission’s Department for International Partnerships. The important soft skills Julie learned through her group projects at IE University were showcased as she worked directly with stakeholders on risk analysis and internal control protocols.
Julie used the skills she gained at IE University to land her current role as a Business Development Associate for Salesforce in Dublin, Ireland. During the Master in International Development, she got the opportunity to work on real cases based on her professors’ professional experiences—truly preparing her for her new position.
Looking forward, in ten years’ time Julie sees herself working to close the gap between the private and public sectors in making the world a better place. It’s important to her to do something that’s close to her heart, makes her feel valuable and offers her the chance of lifelong learning. Her advice for like-minded people who are considering studying the Master in International Development is that, if they believe that the challenges the world is facing right now make room for creativity and innovation, “Go for it!”