Meeting with our alumni at IE University – student life in Spain

Meeting with our alumni at IE University – student life in Spain

Every year, several LFS graduates choose to continue their higher education at IE University, a Spanish school of management whose master’s degrees and MBA reach the top of international rankings. Accepting their invitation, we traveled to Spain and were able to meet with several alumni who are currently enjoying the different specialties they are in. Let’s dive in the IE universe and in the lives of our former students!

  • Bachelor in Business Administration

Inès Poix: My name is Inès Poix, I am 20 and lived in Shanghai from Grade 10 till Grade 12 in 2021. I was in the European Stream (SEA) and studied the Mathematics and Economic & Social Sciences specialties. I arrived on the Segovia campus of IE in September 2021; I have been studying there for almost two years.
Aela Ribadeau Dumas: My name is Aela, I am 21. I was born in Paris and grew up in Rio de Janeiro, before arriving at the LFS in 2015. I am from the 2019 promotion, the « Shangpions ». I have been studying at IE for 4 years and will graduate in July!

IP: After living in Shanghai for three years, I really wanted to continue my studies abroad.  I had only received good feedback from IE, in terms of studies, of how involved the school was in the students’ development, of the quality of life in Spain or even of the cultural diversity present among students. Moreover, their bachelor’s in business administration seemed interesting and matched the type of studies I wanted to specialise in. 
ARD: I wanted to study business in Europe and wanted to discover a new country and enjoy the process of learning a new language. I really identified with IE’s philosophy, it is a university with very practical courses, taught by professionals, expert in their fields.

IP: My student life is very fulfilling; it has really gone beyond my expectations. Students are all open-minded, interesting, and deeply benevolent, it’s very easy to bond with them. Courses are interactive and consist in both a practical and theorical approaches, as we have courses focused on discovering concepts, and other courses where we learn how to apply them while developing new skills (“Learning by doing” – IE). I am currently in a bachelor’s in business administration (BBA). This programme enables students to discover several fields like business, finance, marketing, economy, and entrepreneurship. 
ARD: I love my student life. I am lucky to have fallen in love with the city I live in, which has been making my experience so much better than my expectations for the past 4 years. Of course, being a student is not easy every day. Living far away from your family can be difficult (even though it has its advantages), and the pandemic made things much worse. But despite all of that, I love the standard of living in Madrid, which is balanced and healthy, with a good price-quality ratio. I have the advantage to enjoy such a great and sunny city with a lot of activities and opportunities to travel. I finish a BBA this year and am currently looking for an internship for next semester, in social impact.

IP: Learning Spanish helps me a lot in my daily life, it enables me to communicate with the local population, reinforces my open-mindedness, and widens my professional opportunities.
ARD: In my daily life, Spanish is essential considering I live… in Spain! I speak it every day, at work, at uni, or in the street. From the start, I took the language learning seriously, because I knew I wanted to stay in Spain. It was thus fundamental to me, to not only enjoy my student life, but also to well prepare my professional life. In Spain, it is possible to find a job in English or even in French, but to better understand local people and the Madrid life, it is quite important to speak the language.

IP: I would tell LFS students to trust the process, and to follow their first intuition if they hesitate between several choices. I feared starting a new life far from my family, by myself for the first time, but today, I describe my years at IE as some of my best life experiences. Trust yourself and even if you are about to start a new life, which will not be easy, it will teach you many things, both professionally and personally. Once at uni, try to maintain a healthy balance between your studies and your social life. And, most importantly, don’t forget that you are not alone, and that many people are in a similar situation as you are, or have been, so don’t hesitate to seek advice from people around you!
ARD: I recommend you take the time to think and research. Talk to people who are where you think you want to be, to better understand if it is the right fit for you. When it comes to studies, there is no right or wrong answer; there is your answer, and there is others’. The most important for me is to be where I feel comfortable. Don’t be scared to talk, even if you don’t know these new people very well. With time, I have understood that people love to talk about themselves and that they are often happy to tell their experience, especially if it is to help someone.

  • Bachelor in Human Behaviour and Social Sciences

Mila Petragallo: My name is Mila Petragallo, I am 20 and I started the LFS in kindergarten. I am from the 2021 promotion. I was in the International Chinese Stream (SIC) from kindergarten to Grade 10, then I chose to change to the Oriental Chinese Stream (SOC) for my last two years. In Grades 11 and 12, my specialties were LLCE, HGGSP and SES. I joined IE in September 2021.

I chose IE for several reasons. Firstly, my sister had the opportunity to study there, which allowed me to visit it and have a clear look at the campus life. I was impressed by how dynamic and stimulating the environment was. I was also attracted to the quality of teaching and the academic resources available, it convinced me that IE was the right choice to follow my higher education, especially in my fields which are psychology and sociology. The university welcomes students from all around the world, which offers the unique occasion to interact with different cultures and develop an international network. Finally, the fact that courses are in English also played a key role in my decision. I consider this opportunity a way to strengthen my English and prepare myself to a professional career more and more internationally oriented.

My student life exactly looks like what I was imagining. The international aspect of IE enables me to communicate and work with people from different cultures on a daily basis, which is a real asset. I realise that my years at the LFS really put me in the best conditions for international studies. Beyond that, living a student life in Spain and at IE are both incredible, whether it is on the Segovia or Madrid campuses. I find my student life pleasant and full of entertainment.

I am currently studying a 4-year bachelor’s degree in Human Behaviour and Social Sciences, which focuses on research, psychology, sociology, business, consumer behaviour, personalities, emotions, and other topics.

Learning Spanish makes communication with the local population and some classmates a lot easier. It also widens professional opportunities. IE offers 2 years of free Spanish classes, and it allowed me to strengthen my cultural immersion in Spain, knowing that I had never taken a Spanish class before.

Here are a few pieces of advice I would give students who are getting ready to leave the LFS: explore your options and all the opportunities that present themselves. Improve your time management, university can be demanding when it comes to work and dedication. There will be stress but don’t forget to enjoy your student years, they are the best! Try to maintain a healthy balance between your studies and your social life. Finally, one last thing which I believe is the most important of all, don’t be afraid to seek help. Nobody is expecting you to know how to do everything, especially as a new adult, so don’t hesitate to ask for advice.

  • Master in Finance

Michel Tian: My name is Michel Tian, I am 23 and I am studying a master’s degree in Finance (MiF) at IE. I belong to the 2017 LFS promotion. I have been studying at IE for about 2 months. I chose IE for several reasons; truly speaking, the first reason is that the programme is in the top 10 on a global rank. The MiF programme is very advanced and enables us to differentiate ourselves from the others on a technical aspect. The third reason is that MiF students come from everywhere in the world and are between 21 and 30 years old. There is a lot to learn in class but also outside of class thanks to people coming from different horizons.

Some days, we can leave campus around 3 p.m. to have a beer, go go-karting (for example), etc. But most of the time, we must stay put and work until 7 p.m. (sometimes 10 p.m.) on projects, prepare for exams, and apply for jobs. Depending on the job chosen, it can be similar to the time schedule of a professional in Finance. Some have more free time; others really don’t have free time but get a very good salary.

I love my student life. We have time to have fun and travel, people are nice and intelligent, we also study many useful and practical things. I follow my education in finance and want to specialise in capital investment.

Spanish is important but not vital in Spain. Very few people speak Fench or English, but we can use Google Translate or DeepL without a problem in a conversation. Spanish people are really nice and patient.

Don’t forget what you learn, and don’t listen to those who tell you that you will never use what you learn in a topic or another in High School. It’s too early to tell yourself that kind of things and reject future opportunities you don’t know about yet. Some courses will probably be less useful to you (based on the job you want to do), but many will be the basics of several academic concepts and methods you will learn. Generally speaking, you have to communicate well and know how to do mathematics. Not being able to do one nor the other will be a disadvantage later. Use your general knowledge to discuss with students and professionals, you will have better chances to really understand their expertise and/or job, and to know whether you want to do that yourself!