Currently a student at IE University, Abdul Salam is working towards his ambition of becoming an entrepreneur in the finance sector. He’s got his eye on the prize and is working towards his goal by seizing every opportunity that comes his way.

Originally from Karachi, the biggest city in Pakistan, Abdul Salam has made a home away home for himself at IE University. He’s currently pursuing a Dual Degree in Business Administration + Data & Business Analytics on his way to becoming an entrepreneur, while diving right into the IE University community and taking advantage of numerous internship opportunities. We had the opportunity to chat with Abdul about his experience so far at IE University and how his Dual Degree in Business Administration + Data & Business Analytics is helping him unlock his goals. 

What brought you to IE University?

I chose IE University specifically for the networking, the community and the fact that I could do a dual degree. That was really the turning point for me and why I chose my program here. I didn’t have to sacrifice anything; my academic interests, hobbies or professional growth. I saw I’d be able to really grow as a student and as a professional both at the same time here.

I’m an aspiring entrepreneur in the finance sector, with a goal to start my own bank. I think that if you want to be an entrepreneur—an entrepreneur in general, not necessarily in finance—it’s beneficial to have a background in data because it is becoming more and more important. The Dual Degree in Business Administration + Data & Business Analytics gives me a solid grounding in data, which is also something that has always intrigued me. Although I’m from the biggest city in Pakistan, for the past four or five years, I’ve been living in small towns. I’ve lived in Maastricht in Ohio—although it’s a student city, it’s a small town. I also lived in Segovia for two years, which again is a small town. So, I really wanted to come to Madrid and experience a bit of the big city life.

What do you do in your free time?

I really enjoy running—I think it gives me peace of mind and takes my head away from academics. I also enjoy reading books, primarily about finance or the economy. I love gardening as well because it’s fun and rewarding to see your plant grow from nothing. 

IE University offers a lot of extra-curricular activities. How have you got involved with the wider IE University community?

In my first year, I was involved in the IEU Student Government; as part of the Academics Committee. Then in my second year, I became the advisor to the president; and in my third year, I worked my way up to the top and became the president.  Being part of the committee offered me a lot of opportunities to meet people, including the Head of the IE Foundation and the Head of Academics. I also learned how communities around Madrid work and had the opportunity to go to networking events such as the inauguration of the IE Tower and meet ambassadors and businessmen. 

Have you undertaken any internships during your time at IE University?

One of my first internships was with IE University Marketing. The reason why I was fascinated by marketing, although my primary interest is finance, is because in today’s world, if you can’t market your idea—even if you have the best idea—it won’t go anywhere.  Currently, I’m doing my third internship with Solanas, focusing on customer success management. I’m having a lot of fun—it’s a great company. It’s very dynamic and it’s expanding rapidly. I’m glad that I made the choice to apply.

“I want to do something extraordinary. I don’t want to be an ordinary person by any means.”

What are your goals for the future?

With some luck, I hope to be one of the first sustainable billionaires. I don’t want to live an ordinary life. I want to do something extraordinary and leave my mark, so that when I’m no longer here, people know my name and what I contributed to the community. I really resonate with this quote by Rumi, the Persian poet: “If god has given you wings, then why do you crawl as ants on the floor?” It represents how I want to do something extraordinary. I don’t want to be an ordinary person by any means.