Linda Kumasi graduated from the bachelor IRIO in 2016. Since then, she lived in Egypt, did an internship at the Dutch Embassy in Saudi-Arabia and recently became the co-founder of Kumasi Drinks. Below she tells us how she started her career, how she finally ended up at Kumasi-Drinks and gives some advice to current IR students.
Could you shortly tell something about yourself and your current company? My name is Linda Klunder (25), and I am the Co-Founder of Kumasi Drinks. We make drinks out of a waste product of the cocoa fruit, namely the pulp, to increase the income of farmers as well as fight food loss at the beginning of the supply chain. What did your career path look like? After the Bachelor International Relations & International Organization (IRIO), I was not sure about the Masters that I wanted to pursue. Therefore, I decided to move to Egypt for a year where I focused on learning Arabic, rugby and eventually got offered a job at the Non-Governmental Organization MasterPeace. During this year I realized that I wanted to work in the sustainability and development sector, however, I also felt the need to improve my quantitative skills. Therefore, I decided to move back to the Netherlands (Utrecht), where I continued my work for MasterPeace on a part-time basis and started the Masters Management, Economics and Consumer studies at the Wageningen University & Research (WUR) where I specialized myself in development economics. During my Masters, I learned about the importance of measuring impact as it can help organizations to steer decisions and intervention strategies as well as inform policy makers (about whom I learned a great deal at IRIO). Eventually, as a result of a research project at the WUR, I became interested in the cocoa industry and the great inequalities within this sector. This interest eventually lead to my current position within Kumasi Drinks.
Was this the kind of job you imagined to have when you started studying IRIO?
As many IRIO students, I thought of becoming a diplomat! That’s also the reason why I accepted an internship at the Dutch embassy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the second year of my Masters. I had a great time there, but realized that I might be a better fit within other sectors. Therefore, I explored several options by becoming active at De Kleine Consultant as well as start a job in the Non-Governmental Sector. Now I am combining many of the acquired skills within these different sectors at Kumasi Drinks.
What aspects from your IRIO-background helped you in your current job?
The Bachelor International Relations & International Organization (IRIO) taught me to look at challenges from several perspectives due to the fact that IRIO is such a multidisciplinary study. Next to that, I have learned to communicate effectively and diplomatically with different types of partners and organizations.
Do you have any advice for IRIO students reading this?
Yes! Make use of the fact that this study is offering you the opportunity to learn more about different fields and combine this with extracurricular activities that will help you to define your passions and topics of interest. Especially the latter has been of great importance for my personal and professional development, as it gave me the opportunity to put theory in practice. So, take every opportunity you get to explore what excites you!