Image of ITS alumna María Eugenia Rivas

María Eugenia Rivas

I am an economic consultant in the Infrastructure and Energy (INE) Sector at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington DC.

I am part of the research program team which prepared the IADB's annual flagship publication, Development in the Americas (DIA) 2020, about infrastructure services in Latin America and the Caribbean. My main duties have been to co-author chapters on transport services and author technical notes about transport affordability, stylized urban transport facts and urban transport policies. I am also part of a multidisciplinary team responsible for developing a Transport Observatory for the region about urban mobility.

My experience at ITS represented a before and after in my career. Even though I had worked in the transport sector for a couple of years before starting the master’s degree, it allowed me to make a jump in my analysis of the transport sector, highlighting the importance of developing sustainable, efficient and inclusive transport systems. The experience of full immersion in the dynamic transport environment of the ITS through lectures, seminars, trips, and corridor conversations, expanded my vision of transport problems and the need to analyse them from different perspectives. It gave me a new perspective of my experience as a transport user myself, and shaped the contributions that I can make as a transport economist.

I chose a course at ITS because it is highly recognised in the transport sector for its world-leading research and teaching, as well as for its multidisciplinary approach. The masters in Transport Economics joined both of my fields of interests, transport and economics, and it represented a perfect opportunity to study this interaction in depth.

Studying at ITS is a fantastic opportunity to learn from the best and to specialise in transport. I would advise students to take advantage of having world-leading researchers as teachers, and the opportunity to discuss and debate with them. Think and define the specific areas that you want to study and to focus on in your career, and use them to guide the selection of the specific master’s, the modules you take and your dissertation topic. Take the opportunity to expand your knowledge in the areas that are your passions.

ITS offers a unique environment full of transport experiences from amazing lectures and seminars, to job fairs and field trips. Immerse completely in all of them because each offers the opportunity to view transport issues from a new perspective. At ITS you also will enjoy being part of a vibrant and rich community of students from all over the world from a variety of backgrounds, which will expand your vision of the transport sector. Make sure to build a strong network with students from your region and beyond by enjoying all the academic and recreational activities that ITS and the University of Leeds offer.

The highlight of my career so far is to have had the opportunity to work for the development of the Latin America and the Caribbean region at the Inter-American Development Bank. Through my work I have been involved in cross-cutting areas of transport projects of different natures in the region, being able to apply my professional and academic experience, and my commitment to the transport sector as a user.

My advice to international students who are seeking work in the transport sector is to focus on the areas that you really are interested in, to gain knowledge of them but at the same time take advantage of the multidisciplinary approach gained at ITS to expand your horizons. Use the ITS network, especially the rich international student network, to explore new opportunities. You will be surprised by the synergies, ideas and creativity that arise when ITS alumni get together!