IE University, Madrid, Spain!
My first stop in Europe is at IE University in Madrid with a trip to their campus in Segovia.
IE is named after its owner Instituto de Empresa SL but you could easily mistake it for Innovative Education. There's so much to say at IE, this is one of the longer blog posts, but worth the read!
Madrid as a city to study in is perfect for the student with a creative, go-getting, inquisitive mind. It was here in Madrid that I realised just how important the surrounding city is for your personal student experience. Artistic flair was evident in Madrid, both contemporary and traditional. You could spend all of your spare time at one of many museums or galleries: the Museo del Prado, Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza to name a few. When you need to recharge you can fuel up at one of Madrid’s many restaurants - there’s plenty to choose from! Madrid is evolving into one of the leading culinary capitals of Europe and the city is fast becoming recognised for its creativity and innovation in the Spanish gastronomic revolution. An appreciation for culinary and historical tradition combined with innovation was evident in Madrid but it seems effortless and in lots of ways it feels like part of the fabric of everyday life! The city itself should be taken seriously, and as for the university it gets so much better. Read on!
IE University was a very good reflection of the city itself. It certainly came across as contemporary and you could tell that there were firm foundations based on tradition and appreciation for its heritage, but with both eyes on the future. The commitment at IE University for the role technology has in helping students prepare for the future is evident with their 25 million euro investment over the last 15 years in technology. Innovation is its middle name!
After visiting 12 universities so far, you develop a knack for asking questions. One question I’ve been asking of late is, "describe your institution in 3 words". When I asked this question at IE, both students and staff replied with the same words – 'innovative', 'diverse', and 'entrepreneurial'. There was also a 4th common word: 'personal'. You can tell IE is very personal, each student has access to their very own careers counsellor who is responsible for helping students navigate their way through labour market information, applications for internships or jobs, and understanding career decision-making processes. Now that’s personal and a 1st class student service!
The WOW (Window of the World) room is a fine example of innovation at IE University, something which I had been made aware of online and my visit to IE University was the perfect time to see it myself. The futuristic learning space is the result of a combination of IE’s teaching excellence and latest generation technologies aimed at inspiring the class of the future. The learning space takes IE to the next level for their commitment to technology immersion. The WOW room provides students with a Window to the World and, rather than me tell you what it's all about, you can learn everything you need to know here
The culture of innovation at IE gives justification as to why their programs are continuously present in the world rankings, as well as being among the top 30 universities for global employability according to the International New York Times. Student Labs means students get real world experience in a supportive environment to work on real life projects, preparing them for the very best employment opportunities and with the ability to create.
The thing I really liked about IE University was that there are over 100 nationalities which make up the student body. Just talking to staff members and students I learned that students bring their own international experience to the classroom and actively learn from each other as well as their professors. IE University is connected to the rest of the world through its student body, through innovative partnerships with some of the best employers in the world and through its attitude towards developing global citizens.
As for programmes, IE offers degrees in Business, International Relations, Law, Architecture, Communication, Psychology, Information Systems Management, Design, Politics, Law & Economics (PLE) as well as three dual degrees through which students can study two degrees at the same time.
IE has two distinctly different campuses - one slightly north of the centre of Madrid and the other a short 20-minute train ride in the beautiful city of Segovia. Unesco World Heritage–listed, Segovia is nothing short of breathtaking and is the perfect setting for learning. Words do not do it justice, you simply have to visit Segovia! Just check out some of my images below - I can’t say any more than that!
The Madrid campus is very sleek and a perfect example is the level of thought behind the design of the internal and external fixtures and fittings. It’s actually quite provocative, there are intriguing and inspiring quotes everywhere. The line between students and staff is non-existent; classrooms are opposite staff offices on each floor, which means students, can access teaching staff at almost any time. This tells you a lot about how open it is as a place of learning. It’s an easy place to study. IE has some impressive expansion plans and will move to a building next door to KPMG, PWC and Deloitte soon enough.
Before I go, organisational design is something of great interest to me and one thing that stuck out at IE was the level of effort that has gone into ensuring IE has a truly international feel and is internationally-minded. Staff members had a story to tell about where they were from, how many languages they could speak and where they were off to next to meet with students. What was really interesting to me by the end of my second day was the “light bulb” moment of the true impact of a diverse and internationally minded student body has at the individual and collective level. On the individual level students get exposure to other perspectives 24/7 and at the collective level students are working hard to have an impact on a global scale. There are examples of this through the work done in their Student Labs – a group of students from the Comms Lab were tasked to help Athletico Madrid rebrand and engage audiences around the world. This international mindedness allows for a deeper level of empathy and an understanding that people will always have different perspectives, especially those from other cultures. Students and staff often started a point with “in my opinion..." - that’s very telling about how somebody is able to distinguish the difference between reality and their own perspective, which is often hard to develop, and spot, yet essential for the global world we are now living in.
Just click the link and register to one of our shows, if you’d like to find out more about studying abroad:
Study Abroad Roadshow - Monday 12th March - Thursday 15th March
International Education Week in the UK is a platform that aims to connect UK Students with universities outside the UK. It is the first official week dedicated to studying overseas.