Testimony from a MPA graduate
- Laura Macias, MPA graduate
Can you describe your academic and professional background before the Master of Public Affairs (MPA)?
I studied Communications at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia, and I am a fellow in Public Leadership from Universidad de los Andes. Before the MPA, I worked for 4 years for the UNICEF Colombian office in fundraising and private sector partnerships, where I implemented different types of projects and campaigns along with companies to advocate and guarantee children’s rights. Before, I worked in communications and project management at a B corporation and an international NGO which focused on poverty alleviation. In 2016, I had the opportunity to live in Kenya and work for a community-based organization in women’s empowerment.
You graduated in June 2019. What is your current professional situation? What are its main features?
One month before graduation, I started working as a public policy consultant at the OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation, where I mostly researched innovation trends, the link between diversity and innovation, and gender biases in artificial intelligence. I also coordinated relations with Latin American governments. Today, I work for BSR - Business for Social Responsibility - a global consulting firm in Paris dedicated to sustainability. I am part of the women’s empowerment team, where I focus on a project that seeks to improve the conditions of working women in global supply chains.
What were the contributions of your training to the function that you hold today?
Given the fact that the MPA offered by the School of Public Affairs has a global and flexible curriculum, I was able to focus my research on gender-related topics in the different subjects offered, such as macro/microeconomics, politics, and public policy. My graduation project was centered on identifying gender biases in tax systems worldwide, working very closely with the Tax and Administration Directorate from the OECD. Both the academic and practical experience I have aquired during the MPA have helped me specialize in gender policies and, coupled with my existing professional experience in project management and knowledge of the private sector, they make a perfect mix and fit for the role I hold today at BSR.
Why would you recommend the MPA to other young professionals?
If I had to choose one reason, it would be without hesitation the people you study with. The program was enriching in every class and every project because the students in the MPA are experienced professionals with different cultural, professional and academic backgrounds. I felt out of my comfort zone every minute, but challenged to think beyond my own beliefs and values. I truly believe that interacting with people who are experienced and passionate about today's most challenging social and political topics is the best training and curriculum a master program in public affairs can offer, and I definitely found that at Sciences Po.