Maria Alejandra Cantuarias (MSc Psychology of Economic Life 2019) is passionate about reshaping businesses for sustainable growth and developing natural climate solutions. She has seven years’ experience in business strategy and marketing consulting and is Chief Marketing Officer at Bosques Amazónicos (BAM).
Tell us about BAM and its mission
BAM is a Peruvian forestry and environmental services company whose purpose is to protect and restore the value of Amazonian ecosystems to fight climate change, preserve biodiversity and contribute to the sustainable development of Peru.
It was founded in 2004 to reduce and prevent deforestation.We do that by restoring the economic value of forests while generating tangible and sustainable opportunities for local communities. Our work is based on three pillars: protect, restore and fund natural climate solutions.
What made you decide to develop a career in sustainability?
I was in business consulting before coming to LSE. In my work, I witnessed how companies of all types and sizes promoted development but did not follow a purpose beyond the commercial one. This motivated me to rethink the way we do business and to rethink the general (mis)conception of traditional economic success.
I wanted to redefine my professional purpose to one with a greater impact on society and the environment. At LSE I found the answer I was looking for and beyond, and this led me pursue a career in sustainability.
What led you to study at LSE?
University prestige, specifically in the academic area of my interest: social sciences. LSE is the number one university in Europe and second worldwide for social sciences and its 125-year reputation is admired worldwide.
I was also attracted to the multiculturalism of LSE alumni, and to the opportunity to live in a vibrant international city with people from all around the world. I was convinced that sharing knowledge and experiences with students from over 140 different countries would provide a truly global, competitive experience to grow both personally and professionally.
How has LSE influenced your life and career?
The School’s motto – know the causes of things, for the betterment of society – drives my professional career every day.
LSE, and specifically the master's degree I completed, teaches students to understand and shape economic behaviour, beyond homo economicus (economic man), for making the world a better place. I am convinced this is exactly what we need right now, more leaders rethinking human development to create a better world for future generations.
Besides professors such as Saadi Lahlou, Frédéric Basso or Kate Laffan, and the LSE spirit in general, what influenced me the most were undoubtedly my classmates. They are a group of extraordinary people and brilliant professionals from all over the world with one thing in common: they put their capabilities and experiences to contribute to a greater purpose. Their selfless approach to success and genuine ambition to make a real impact, combined with a disruptive vision for the future, was what inspired me to take a professional turn towards environmental sustainability.
What contribution LSE alumni can make in creating a more sustainable world?
LSE is known for bringing together outstanding professionals and leaders from all over the world who specialise in different areas of science. Graduating from such a diverse and cosmopolitan institution, LSE alumni can drive knowledge, experiences and relations for creating science-based sustainable solutions to build the world we envision for the future.
If you are part of the PBS alumni community and would like to share your experience, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org