IEU Experience

14/03/2024

Internships can serve different purposes for different students. Some see it as the best way to learn new skills and gain practical work experience before completing their program of study. For others, it’s a time to start building professional networks that can help with their job search after graduation. However, for another subset of students, an internship is the perfect tool for exploration, allowing them to delve into various facets of their professional field to narrow down their options as they choose their future career path.

Jessamine Hamilton falls squarely in the last category. A third-year student of the Bachelor in Design, she went into her internship experience determined to figure out which field of design she wanted to pursue long term. What she didn’t expect, though, was how transformative the experience would be, and how much her time in IE University had prepared her to excel.

Business and Design Combined 

Jessamine lived in Switzerland all her life before coming to IE University. With her Swedish and Pakistani heritage, she took to the new, diverse environment like a fish in water. Beyond making friends and forging professional connections, though, Jessamine was searching for a program that would incorporate her interest in business into her design studies—and what better way to accomplish that than by joining an institution that’s renowned for its business education?

I chose IE University because it offered a program in design that was broader than most other universities across Europe.

Jessamine Hamilton

When she entered the Bachelor in Design, Jessamine didn’t have a specific preference in terms of the design field she’d like to focus on. But she found that the program was “an excellent option for someone who wanted to get a more holistic, all-round introduction to design.”

Into the Thick of Things

And that’s exactly what she’s gotten here. Apart from building a solid foundation in the fundamentals of design, the program has taken Jessamine on a deep dive into the creative and scientific aspects of the discipline. Similarly, its focus on project-based discovery has created numerous opportunities for her to apply her learning to solving design challenges in the real world.

Jessamine says the most challenging aspect of the program was the technical side. She faced a steep learning curve during her initiation into advanced software like Adobe After Effects and Rhinoceros 3D in her Digital and Interactive Tools course. However, with the guidance of her instructor, María Esteban Casañas, she perfected her grasp of computer-aided design—a skill that came in handy during her internship.

On the other hand, the course she enjoyed the most was Material Applications, led by Lucas Muñoz Muñoz. Jessamine explains, “This unique course gave us complete creative freedom and encouraged us to explore various machines,” taking advantage of the FabLab to gain hands-on experience in design. Jessamine completed a challenging but exciting project that involved crafting a wakesurfing board out of wood and epoxy.

A Day in the Office

One of the most rewarding parts of Jessamine’s IE Experience has been her internship at CUBRO, a design agency that helps its clients personalize furniture purchases from IKEA. Focused on quality and accessibility, the company produces custom kitchen, bathroom and wardrobe fittings.

Jessamine chose to complete an internship there instead of going on an exchange semester abroad for various reasons, but it was mostly because she wanted to stay in Madrid while gaining hands-on design experience. More importantly, she wanted to see if this area of design was the right fit for her.

Given my uncertainty about preferred design disciplines, I hoped this experience would help me narrow down my choices and provide insights into the type of company I might gravitate toward in the future.

Jessamine Hamilton

At CUBRO, Jessamine’s official title is design expert. Every day, she gets to her desk at 9 a.m., ready to tackle various tasks for her role. These include reviewing documents on closed deals—that is, deals where the client has already cleared their invoice—to ensure that each detail is correct. She also plots numeric values and codes to prepare the projects for the production team, and even creates English and French tutorial videos to take clients through the furniture assembly. Sometimes, she handles one-on-ones with clients, online or via phone call, to finalize project details. 

“The knowledge I acquired from the Bachelor in Design has helped me become used to multitasking and working on multiple projects at a time,” she says. The program’s project-based approach has helped her become resilient, adaptable and flexible, capable of working in high-pressure settings skillfully and efficiently. Jessamine has the right mix of competencies to respond to unique client needs, a key requirement for professional success.

The Home of Enriching Experiences

With one more year to go in the Bachelor of Design, Jessamine is sure she’ll continue building essential knowledge and skills for the future. And while she hasn’t made firm plans for life after graduation, she knows traveling, gaining more proficiency in Spanish, or perhaps pursuing a master’s degree may be on the cards. 

For now, she wants to learn as much as she can from her more experienced colleagues at CUBRO, as well as the faculty and her peers in the program. And when the days get especially stressful, she’ll turn to her hobbies—basketball and swimming—in Madrid or Segovia, or enjoy a relaxing netball game with the local women’s club at Retiro Park.