“IE University helped me get through a wild 2020, but also helped me to find my passion in gender equality, and led me straight to my current role at Metta Space.”
Paula Koller-Alonso, Germany
Alumna Head of Research and Development, Metta Space
- Program studied
Driving gender equality and female empowerment
Even though Paula is half Spanish, she had never lived in Spain, which served as one of the driving factors when deciding to pursue the Master in International Relations. Paula also found IE University to be the best option due to its international atmosphere, course offering and its emphasis on innovation. Before commencing the master’s in Madrid, Paula completed a bachelor in dance and, later, a bachelor in international relations.
Paula’s favorite part about the Master in International Relations was the extracurricular options. From opportunities given by professors to IE clubs and events, she was able to meet ambassadors, executive leaders and other IE Community members. These options also extended her professional network and communication skills.
She also thoroughly enjoyed researching for her final thesis which focused on rape as a weapon of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Her topic served as an expansion of her passion for gender equality, and her supervisor, Dr. Patricia Gabaldón, taught her an immense amount about quantitative and qualitative research—skills she uses in her current position daily.
Every day is different in her current role. As a tech start-up, Metta Space continuously faces new challenges and problems to solve. Paula usually spends half of her day focusing on research, which includes editing articles from research ambassadors, and collecting and analyzing survey data. The other half of her day she focuses on business development or administrative tasks.
The most interesting project she’s worked on thus far was analyzing mass amounts of data from a survey. They were able to segregate data based on gender, which showed them how men and women experience sexual harassment differently. Seeing that data first hand helped Paula understand how everything—including sexual harassment—is gendered. This understanding helps her team find new ways to eradicate it. The research skills and methods Paula learned while studying the Master in International Relations are invaluable tools for her day-to-day at Metta Space.
When asked to give advice to future Master in International Relations students, Paula would tell them to throw themselves into everything the program has to offer. She believes you get out what you put in, and suggests students join clubs, attend events and networking sessions and to be sure to make their name known. All in all, she notes that IE University is a great atmosphere to focus on furthering both professional and personal development.
As for the future, Paula hopes to help put Metta Space on the stock exchange and to eradicate sexual harassment in the workplace. These are big goals, and she sees herself working toward them for the long term. She tells us that 2020 taught her patience, resilience, empathy and determination. What’s more, she believes that IE University helped her get through the wild year while simultaneously helping her find her passion in gender equality and leading her to her future career.
Paula now forms part of the IE University alumni network that she says is full of innovative, forward-thinking, open-minded and driven people. She even works for two IE University alumni, who are the founders of Metta Space.
“IE University helped me get through a wild 2020, but also helped me to find my passion in gender equality and led me straight to my current role at Metta Space.”