Alejandro Peña

Country of origin: Argentina

Lecturer in International Relations, Brunel University

Before coming to the UK, I was a senior marketing analyst at Temium, one of the major multinational steel companies in Latin America, based in Buenos Aires. I had previously qualified as an Industrial Engineer at the Technological Institute of Buenos Aires, and then completed a Masters in Sociology and Political Science, also back in Buenos Aires. So, as an engineer who also writes fiction and has contributed to a literary magazine, my range of interests are quite broad!

In looking to do a Masters degree I applied to five British universities that I considered had interesting programmes and high academic quality. Lancaster University then offered me a full scholarship for the Human Resource and Knowledge Management programme and that made my decision final.

What I really enjoyed was the intellectual and disciplinary flexibility of the topic and of the Department of Organisation, Work and Technology, as well as the support and advice I received from the faculty.

An environment of intellectual challenge

For me, the MA in HR&KM opened doors to a whole new world that I previously ignored: a world of academic freedom, support and excellence. Prior to my arrival I hadn’t even considered doing a PhD but a couple of months later I was convinced that I wanted to keep progressing in my studies. This was my response to the support, encouragement and the environment of intellectual challenge that I found on the programme, and in the University in general. In particular I was also attracted by the acceptance of multidisciplinary backgrounds such as mine, as well as by what I found in the lectures and in the programme in general. It really made me feel that I belonged to the academic community, even though I was just doing a Masters. At all times the lecturers gave their support and recommendations, not only on intellectual aspects of study but also on personal ones which for me, being married, was quite relevant.

Whilst I was at Lancaster I was the President of the University’s Latin American Society which was reconstituted in 2009. I also played football for one of the Graduate College teams.

After finishing my Masters at Lancaster, I started a PhD at City University in London, in the Department of International Relations. What I’ll do after that is not yet certain, but ideally I would like combine positions within academia – either in the UK or back in Argentina – with participation in the public sector in Argentina.