Alumni Portrait

Ira Stanic-Maruna, VUM Verfahren Umwelt Management GmbH

[Translate to English:] Ira Stanic Maruna

© VUM Verfahren Umwelt Management GmbH

Ira Stanic-Maruna, MSc is a graduate of the first class of the MSc Environmental Technology & International Affairs (ETIA). Already during her studies, she started to work at VUM Verfahren Umwelt Management GmbH, where she still works in the field of environmental and project management. In the Alumni Portrait, she tells us why she owes her current job directly to the MSc ETIA.


What career stages have you completed since graduating from the MSc Environmental Technology & International Affairs?

Shortly before graduating from the ETIA programme, in June 2009, I started working for VUM Verfahren Umwelt Management GmbH (formerly Verbund Umwelttechnik GmbH), a subsidiary of VERBUND, Austria’s leading electricity company. Since then, I have been working at VUM as an environmental and project manager. My main tasks have included the coordination of environmental impact assessment procedures for large infrastructure projects, above all, transmission lines, hydropower plants and wind farms, as well as drafting climate and energy reports.

When you look back on your studies: What do you still benefit most from today? How did completing the MSc ETIA contribute to the realization of your career goals? 

The ETIA program provides the perfect foundation for my work, especially the second year at the TU Vienna, but also lectures on environmental law and economics during the first year at the Diplomatic Academy. The interdisciplinary curriculum includes numerous important subjects related to climate, environment and energy, covered in sufficient depth. When coordinating EIAs and approval procedures for infrastructure projects you don’t need to have profound expert knowledge for every environmentally relevant topic, but it is of great benefit to know enough about as many environmental and legal aspects that need to be covered as possible. During my work at VUM, I have encountered almost all topics studied during the ETIA-programme in one form or the other. Also, I have profited a lot from practicing scientific and argumentative writing during the first ETIA-year at the DA for writing reports and statements.

In fact, I owe my job directly to the ETIA programme. In the spring of 2009, just at the right time, VUM had a job opening and its CEO was lecturer at the ETIA programme. He noticed my work during class and invited me to a job interview.

What particularly positive memories do you associate with your postgraduate studies and with the CEC? 

Studying at the DA and the TU Vienna is among the most exciting times of my life. During the two years I learned so much, I had the best lecturers and I was surrounded by interesting people of all formations from all over the world. The sense of community that we had during our studies was something special. I also very much enjoyed the study trips across Europe and field trips to large infrastructure facilities like the Viennese sewage treatment and the waste incineration plant. 

Suppose you could repeat one day in your life – what would it be?

There is no one day that I could pick out. There are so many days with my family that I would gladly relive. Among the days that I remember particularly well during my work for VUM are those when I stood on top of a wind turbine or when I got the opportunity to take part in a helicopter exploration flight over the Tauern mountain range or when we had our VUM team meeting high up at the Kölnbrein dam.

From today's perspective, what advice would you give to your 25-year-old self?

When I was just about to turn 25, I worked as a translator for a consulting company and was thinking about applying for the Diploma Programme of the DA, which would mean lots and lots of studying for its difficult entrance exam. I chose to do it and I never regretted it; it was the best decision as regards my career. However, I would advise my 19-year old self to reconsider the decision to enrol in translation studies, even though this education brought with it many positive aspects and acquired competencies.

What book would you definitely recommend to other alumni?

Every day at work I read and write specialist texts, so I strike a balance at home by rather reading fiction. However, a book changed my life 10 years ago: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.