UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


Meet our alumni: Spotlight on MPA alumni…Juan David Garcia Gonzalez

15 September 2021

Meet our MPA alumni: Spotlight Juan David Garcia Gonzalez, 2019 graduate of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP).

juan david
  1. What have you been doing since you completed the MPA?

While being part of the MPA class of 2019-2020, I worked as a Research Assistant at UCL IIPP on projects on fiscal and innovation policies. Simultaneously, I worked as a Research Assistant at Fedesarrollo (one of the top think tanks of Latin America). Both experiences were a great chance for reflecting and applying the MPA lenses to real challenges.

At the beginning of 2021, I joined the Ministry of Housing, City, and Territory of Colombia as an Advisor to the Minister’s office. It was a beautiful challenge to enter such a young and bold public institution. The Ministry plays a key role in the post-pandemic economic recovery of Colombia while aiming to shape a prosperous and fair country by democratizing the access to housing throughout Colombia.

  1. How did the MPA prepare you for what you are doing now?

I am currently in Dubai (UAE) participating in the final part of the 2071 Moonshot Apprenticeship program. The program selected 10 top graduated students worldwide to think and pilot bold solutions for defining the core aspects of governments in the future. I am working on the GovTech stream, where I constantly make use of core IIPP concepts like mission economy, public value, government platforms and design thinking.

I will return soon to the Colombian Ministry of Housing. Working at the Ministry gives me the opportunity to use the IIPP lenses in my daily work and have a real impact on my country. In particular, the mission economy approach from the IIPP makes me critically reflect on the Colombian housing policies, as well as the concept of public value makes me dream and work for building a better country.

  1. What was the biggest challenge of the MPA?

The MPA makes you think out of the box and, mostly at the beginning, it might go against your previous thinking. Throughout all the MPA, you are motivated to rethink and redefine core concepts like value, policy design, or innovation. However, once on board, it is precisely this radical thinking about the policymaking what makes UCL IIPP a unique place to study.

  1. What was the greatest reward?

People. The greatest rewards are always related to people.

I have met incredible friends, including classmates, tutors, and professors with whom I can discuss not only academic topics but also our personal and professional journeys, and get inspired by each other.   

  1. What advice do you have for someone considering an MPA at IIPP?

Be yourself and enjoy the journey!

By its nature, the MPA is a flexible and multidisciplinary program. At UCL IIIPP, you will find a wide variety of cultures, backgrounds, and interests. This is such an ideal place to express yourself, exchange ideas with classmates and professors, and focus on what you want to do for the rest of your life. Of course, it is important to meet the academic requirements, but it is even more important to enjoy the IIPP experience.    

  1. What have you been reading, watching or listening to recently?

The book I am currently reading is called “Humble Pi”, by Matt Parker. It is an amazing comedy that shows how math errors, even small mistakes, can have devastating consequences. A thing that really caught my attention is the fact that the pagination is inverted. It starts on page 313 and ends on page number 1. It made me think that some things can function perfectly and be useful despite seeming weird at first sight.

  1. Do you have a favourite quote that inspires you to keep going?

I always use the following quote on my social media accounts: “Simple Things Matter”.

I believe some of the most standard and simple things in our daily lives really make the difference. From having informal discussions with classmates after classes, sharing a coffee, or just smiling while saying hello is where I get the inspiration to pursue my objectives.  

Connect with Juan David Garcia Gonzalez

Twitter: @IamJuanDGarcia

LinkedIn: Juan David García González

ResearchGate: Juan David García González