A Dual Degree can seem like a daunting prospect for even the most academically gifted candidate. The Dual Degree in Philosophy, Politics, Law & Economics + Data and Business Analytics is no exception, demanding critical thinking, strong analytical skills and an understanding of complex social issues.
Isabella Ochoa is a Colombian student currently in her first year of this difficult program. We sat down with her to find out a little more about her experience. Although challenging, she tells us that, with the right mindset and a collaborative and determined approach, there’s time both for study and for other enjoyable activities outside the classroom.
What made you choose IE University?
I chose IE University because it takes a different approach to education than most universities. At IE University, it’s not about how much you can memorize, but how you can apply the knowledge acquired to understand the world around you and solve its problems. They also focus on developing soft skills. These are sometimes left out—but they’re what make you stand out.
Regarding my career, I choose the Dual Degree because it unites subjects that have both shaped and remain at the core of our societies. At the same time, it examines technology and Big Data, which will change our societies’ core values in this technological revolution. And will, in many ways, change the way economics, politics, and law are applied.
How would you describe your time so far at IE University? What have you enjoyed most?
At university, I’ve had the pleasure to be in several clubs and take part in extracurricular activities, which has helped me understand the impact my degree is having, while also enabling me to engage in my passions outside my degree. The diversity in the student body has made me challenge the way I think, and has taught me that there are multiple ways to see a single problem. And that each one is as valuable.
I have had the honor to meet passionate professors who have given me life-changing classes. I have learned not only about the world that surrounds me but also about myself as a global citizen. But in general, IE University has not only taught me but shown me that there is nothing impossible—there are only the limitations of our own minds.
What are the main challenges in your degree?
The main challenges are time management and the level of difficulty in some classes. In this degree, you have several courses that require your full attention and effort. Sometimes balancing between the different courses and your personal life is difficult. It’s essential not to fall behind in any of the classes, and that you ask for help from your peers or professor if you need it.
In the beginning, it can be scary if you don’t understand many of the things in the programming classes. Don’t get stressed about this—everyone is in the same boat, and as time passes, you will start to understand these concepts. Just resolve any doubts you have quickly; it’s best not to wait until the last minute to address them. It is essential to create a safety net in the class where you can help others with the subjects you excel in and vice versa. In this way, you can be successful individually but also as a class.
What do you want to do in the future—where do you see yourself in five years, for example?
Professionally I want to create a consulting company that promotes the creation of Smart Cities, therefore uniting all the elements of my Dual Degree to the betterment of our society. I believe that future cities will help fight many of the problems that we have created as a society. In order to get there, I want to work in a consulting firm after graduation.
This year, I’m working in the Econ DataLab, where we are collaborating with the Arcano group on a correlational analysis between GDP and population insights. At the same time, we are working with the town hall of Torre Val de San Pedro, looking for financial support from international institutions to help improve the standard of living in the community. Besides this, I will also be working with PAYC to develop a project on analytics and descriptive data.
What would you recommend other students who would study this degree?
I recommend persistence and patience. Avoid getting stressed with yourself and be patient with your learning curve. There is no need to understand everything the second you start studying it. Take time to do fun activities and get to know your classmates; they will be your support group. Take the opportunities that the university gives to you and the different resources available to you. Be persistent and, in the end, you will see the value of studying both degrees. And more importantly, do things that are fun for you outside your degree to get to know people and develop your passions.
Taking the time not only to fulfill a demanding academic schedule but also to enjoy the huge range of extracurricular activities on offer at IE University is what the IE culture is all about. Academic and personal growth combined in a supportive, experiential, and collaborative environment. We wish Isabella all the best with her own journey.