Engeline seeks to use the skills she gains from her MPP to help organizations provide greater welfare for people.
Headshot of Natasia Engeline
Natasia Engeline

Having witnessed scenes of extreme wealth inequality while growing up in her hometown of Jakarta, Indonesia, Natasia Engeline believes that financial security should be prioritized because of how it can influence people’s lives. “In Indonesia, if you are born into a low-income family, you are essentially disadvantaged at birth. Upward social mobility is difficult to achieve.”

After earning her bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Indonesia, Engeline promptly enrolled at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology to pursue a master’s degree in financial engineering. Engeline then went on to become a financial analyst for the Reserve Management Department for Bank Indonesia (BI). She was eventually promoted to a managerial position, where she was a part of a team  responsible for formulating asset allocation for Indonesia’s FX reserves amounting around $120 billion. After seven years at BI, Engeline elected to pivot to the private sector and began working for Ernst and Young Indonesia that works with the Indonesian government to coordinate foreign investment projects.

Even with her extensive experience in financial markets, Engeline decided to join the Harris community in order to attain a foundational education in economics and political economy that, prior to enrolling, she had only learned intermittently through her work.

“I’ve always wondered why good policies that would help people are rejected, and why policies that should be doomed to fail get passed.” Coming to Harris, Engeline hopes to better understand not only what constitutes a “good policy,” but how to make it persuasive enough to pass.

The first year of her Master of Public Policy program, Engeline said, has been transformative. “I appreciated learning about political economy through the Core curriculum in Professor Ethan Bueno de Mesquita’s course. And through Professor Steven Durlauf’s course, Social Interactions and Inequality, I gained a much better understanding of how our social networks affect our decision-making through a combination of game and network theory. Both courses have taught me about the intricacies of policy and the actors at play.”

In addition to her coursework, Engeline said she has also learned from her participation in Harris Student Organizations, including Harris Community Action. “Through Harris Community Action I assisted in coordinating the strategic plan for Chicago NORML, a cannabis advocacy organization. Working in this role has helped me learn about the cannabis industry, which I didn’t know anything about before.” Engeline also recently started working as a Global Outreach Assistant for the Harris’s Student Recruitment and Global Outreach team.

Engeline said the support of the Harris community definitely helped make her first year a success. “The professors have been extremely responsive when I had questions, and I have made some good friends in my problem set groups. Plus, the Career Development Office (CDO) coaching sessions helped me review my resume and cover letters, as well as practice mock interviews."

Her visits with the CDO, Engeline said, contributed to her securing two part-time internships this summer. "For my internship with the East West Center in Washington, DC, I will be conducting research on U.S.-Asia relations. I also will be interning at AECOM, an economic advisory firm whose work centers around infrastructure projects." 

As for her long-term plans, Engeline said she is continually motivated by those scenes of gross inequality she saw as a child. “I’d like to either work in consulting to help governments allocate funds in productive ways that will provide citizens with greater welfare or perhaps work in an NGO on economic issues involving U.S. and Southeast Asia relations. Sometimes it is harder to influence policy from within an organization, and through consulting I feel I can have the most meaningful influence on policy.”