Juliana Torres, MSc Political Economy, University of Essex
Why did you decide to study your course at Essex?
I was a Chevening Scholar-the CheveningSecretariat recommended me to the University of Essex for its expertise in quantitative methods. So I checked the Essex website and I really likedthe MSc in Political Economy programme.My mind was made up.
What did you enjoy most about your studies? Which modules or areas of research did you particularly enjoy?
The general research approach using mainly quantitative methods was great. In relation to specific modules I think my favourites were macroeconomics and advanced research methods.I also took macroeconomics and development economics and I really liked those two modules. My BA is in Government and International Relations which is also interdisciplinary, so for me it is very important to have that approach.
Can you tell us about your current job, and how you got there?
I have been working for the Colombian government for almost four years. My current job title is Chief of International Affairs and I’m also Adviser of the Director General for Public Innovation. Before obtaining my MSc degree I worked for 5 years in the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so after I got my degree I returned to Colombia and began working in the Administrative Department of the Public Function as Chief of International Affairs. My knowledge of the field, due to my degree and my previous position, got me the job.
Could you describe a typical day?
I arrived at the office at 7 am and review the emails that I did not manage to review the day before. I then have a small meeting with my work team to identify the issues that are pending and make a distribution of tasks and deadlines.A typical day then includes a lot of meetings; both internal and external.
What advice would you give to someone looking for a similar role?
It is not always easy to work for a government, but it is truly important to change the general perception that citizens have of public servants and it is rewarding to be a part of that.