“My experience at IE University was a wake-up call for me. It made me realize my potential and gave my career path the boost it needed.”
Mia Gevelt Urie
Mia Gevelt Urie, Norway
- Program studied
Playing an impactful role in global sustainability solutions
Before she started her journey at IE School of Global and Public Affairs, Mia was trying to decide the most strategic next step for her career. She was working at a Danish startup in Copenhagen where she held three different positions. At the same time, she was engaged in entrepreneurial ventures with the aim to create opportunities for youth during the pandemic via a multi-purpose volunteering platform.
Mia knew she wanted to make a difference by working on high-impact multinational development projects, an interest that began budding during her undergraduate studies in Politics and International Relations and Philosophy at Royal Holloway University of London. She was moved to seek out a master’s program that would enable her to live out her passion for environmental conservation and sustainable development.
Deciding that the world was her oyster, Mia applied to highly ranked schools all over the world. Before long, she found what she was looking for in the Master in International Development— and being accepted to a globally acknowledged university on scholarship felt like pure magic to her.
As a passionate environmentalist, Mia has always held Greta Thunburg as a role model. She celebrates the young climate activist and believes that the world needs more people like her, noting that it’s time to take the climate crisis seriously. Mia is also intrigued by intersectionality, especially the overlap between sustainability and feminism. She strives to develop businesses and institutions that make our world robust, sustainable and beneficial to the most vulnerable—truly working toward an inclusive world.
Mia was especially drawn to the Master in International Development because of its partnership with the United Nations System Staff College and its focus on the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The links between the SDGs and the program gave Mia the sensation that she was part of the solution simply by studying and sharing her newly acquired knowledge to other networks.
Acknowledging that some of the subjects taught were unexpected, she quickly realized she had nothing to fear. Mia explained that she’s learned that competing against yourself gets you further than competing against others. She also told us that learning new skills she previously thought were beyond her capabilities has been a great boost in confidence, adding that:
“Because IE University believed in me, I believe in me too—and this has helped propel me forward.”
As for her day-to-day life as a Master in International Development student, Mia relies on scheduling. Every morning with her coffee, she time-blocks and plans out her day. When things get extra busy, she schedules her upcoming weeks very carefully to be sure she doesn’t get stressed—there are a lot of readings, group projects, meetings and deliverables that have to be prioritized equally.
Learning how to be a versatile team member has been another big part of her IE Experience. She experienced a true fusion in regard to age, academic and cultural background, and how to navigate these differences and adapt her own behavior to maintain a strong group dynamic. She describes her time so far as a wake-up call, explaining that the program has helped her realize her true potential and has given her career path the boost it needed.
Mia also numbers among the students who received the Kistefos Young Talented Leaders Scholarship, an opportunity available to students from Norway, Ethiopia, Liberia and South Africa. Informed about the scholarship during her interview process, Mia decided to apply immediately. In her application letter, she wrote about her mission to make an impact and how she planned to implement her newly developed skills in a future role back in Norway.
Without any expectations, but with genuine remarks about how she would use the benefits from the scholarship, Mia was incredibly honored to be selected as a recipient. She understands that strong candidates for this type of scholarship possess work ethic, genuine drive to implement change, and a strategy for responsible use of funds, meaning she would work alongside colleagues who share her values.
As for advice for those considering pursuing the Master in International Development program, Mia says it’s important to gain relevant experience and have a passion for development. She also highlights the importance of spending some time getting to know yourself by asking yourself about your own passions and academic struggles ahead of time in order to stay on top of them throughout the program. She also notes that future students should prepare for long nights and intense schedules—but to also prepare to truly transform.
Mia’s future vision includes advocating for the environment and working on high-impact projects that directly contribute to climate-crisis mitigation. She’d like to work in international multi-stakeholder situations alongside top decision makers, hopeful that the problem will be less acute in ten years. She is currently in the process of finding a job that aligns with her principles in an industry where she can make a difference. One job she has in mind is sustainability consulting, an adventure she hopes to start soon!