Admissions blog

Meet COLFUTURO scholar Manolo Constain (MPP 2016)

The Master of Public Policy student financed his studies with COLFUTURO and is now bringing international investment to Colombia.

We’ve partnered with Fundación para el Futuro de Colombia (COLFUTURO) to offer a full scholarship to one highly motivated student from Colombia. We’re looking for applicants with exceptional passion and commitment who will engage in the country’s growth after graduation. The awardee will receive a 100% tuition waiver worth 34,500 euros for the MPP, MIA, MDS or Executive MPA programme, as well as a loan-scholarship of up to 50,000 USD for living costs in Berlin.

What do COLFUTURO scholarship recipients do after their studies? We spoke to one alumnus, Manolo Constain, to find out more. After earning his Master of Public Policy degree from the Hertie School in 2016, Manolo joined a Berlin consulting firm before ultimately returning to his hometown of Cali, Colombia, to work in local government. Now he works in foreign direct investment. Check out the interview below.

What have you been doing since you graduated from the Hertie School?

After graduating, I worked at a consulting firm in Berlin doing expert-backed research. Then, I decided to come back to Colombia, and I landed a job in the local government of my hometown, working as an advisor in the mayor of Cali’s office and for the Secretary of Government.

Since November 2019, I’ve been working at Invest Pacific, the investment promotion agency for Cali and Valle del Cauca. I’m currently the Investment Manager for the services sector, which includes Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO), IT and software. I’ve been able to apply what I learned at the Hertie School from different angles – both in consulting for local government and public management, and now in investment attraction.

Why did you choose the Master of Public Policy?

I wanted to continue my educational trajectory in public affairs, and I thought this was the right master’s programme. The Hertie School is a great school, and I really liked the curriculum and how strongly aligned it is to current events in a practical, down-to-earth way. I also liked the Management and Organisation concentration option for students who wanted to deepen their knowledge of public management. I knew that’s what I wanted to do. The MPP is well-aligned with the public, private and civil sectors and allowed me to analyse all three.

Could you tell us more about how you integrated what you learned at the Hertie School into your work for the growth and development of Colombia?

I was able to apply the knowledge and skills I learned in the MPP while working in the mayor of Cali’s office and for the Secretary of Government – the epicentre of decision-making in the local government. I vividly remember a course on the different contexts within public policy and public management. Coming from and working in a specific context for public policy implementation, I was able to apply what I learned at Hertie to understand how I could drive and influence public policy in my local region.

At my current job as an investment manager, I’m building upon the work I started in my master’s degree, which focused on foreign direct investment in a post-conflict scenario, like the one in Colombia. The degree and my master’s thesis, written under the supervision of Professor Henrik Enderlein, gave me the necessary tools for working in a sector outside of my area of expertise. With these tools, I was able to land this great job where I can now apply that knowledge.

You were a recipient of the COLFUTURO loan-scholarship. What would you recommend to prospective students interested in applying for this programme?

I would definitely recommend applying to COLFUTURO. It’s a great way to finance your studies. But I would point out that a portion of it is an educational loan and not a scholarship, which means it’s subject to fluctuating exchange rates for the US dollar and the Colombian peso. While you do need to consider that, I think it’s an excellent option to finance your studies, coming from a developing country like Colombia. The whole idea of COLFUTURO is being able to come back to and contribute to the country’s growth and progress. If you keep that in mind and are okay that it’s part-scholarship, part-loan, it’s definitely worth it. I think you’ll be able to come back to Colombia and get a good job. Personally, I’ve been able to pay my student loans. Overall, I feel COLFUTURO is a terrific platform and financing option that will be helping you out along the way.

What is your fondest Hertie School memory?

I think my fondest Hertie school memory is… there are a bunch! We had a great time at the Hertie parties and all of the special events. But I think the most beautiful moment, and the one that I remember the most vividly, was graduation day. It was a beautiful setting in the Konzerthaus in Berlin. Just achieving the two-year goal of the master’s degree was great, and celebrating it with the new friends I made throughout the programme was amazing.

But for me, it was also a difficult day. My father was sick back in Colombia, and that day was very tough for him because he was having surgery. At the same time, my Hertie classmates and friends were there for me. Thanks to the good friends I had made throughout my master’s degree, I was able to spend the day and celebrate it as it should be celebrated. That was a very special day for me – realizing that the friendships I developed at Hertie were going to last forever, and that these were friends that were going to be there all of the way and stand with me even in difficult times.

How would you describe your Hertie School experience in one word?



You can already apply to the Hertie School's master's programmes now. COLFUTURO will start accepting applications on 12 January 2021. Learn more about the COLFUTURO-Hertie School Scholarship and apply today.

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