As an incoming student, it’s normal to have questions! Giulia de Palmas and Pedro Marietto, current IE University Bachelor in Economics students, answered the most frequently asked questions to help clear up any of your doubts.
Why did you decide to study the Bachelor in Economics?
Giulia de Palmas, a Bachelor in Economics student said, “economics is useful for a wide range of careers. You can use the analytical and problem-solving skill set for almost anything. I was most intrigued by economics because most public policy decisions are based on economic theory. One of my favorite things about economics is that it teaches you how the world functions and how an incredibly complex system can be understood based on individual incentives. I chose the Bachelor in Economics at IE University because I found it to be the most innovative and unique program I had come across. I wanted to learn and apply economics in today’s world with the cutting-edge tools offered at IE University.”
Pedro Marietto, also a Bachelor in Economics student told us, “I decided to study the Bachelor in Economics after I realized engineering school wasn’t for me. During my last year of high school in Brazil, my mentor was trying to help me find the bachelor’s degree that suited me best, and economics was one of the options that seemed to fit my personality. While at engineering school in Brazil, I was in the finance club and I instantly fell in love with the topic and realized I needed to make the switch.”
What are the main topics in class?
Giulia: “We study both micro and macroeconomics. Microeconomics covers how markets work, the economics of the public sector and labor markets, behavior of different firms, and the organization of the industry. In macroeconomics, we measure macroeconomic data, long-term economy and prices, international economics, and the macroeconomics of open economies.”
Pedro: “We’ve learned a lot about data programming and economics applications. This will be helpful for our future classes because there are a lot of different applications of the various theorems to learn. It may not seem like a lot, but those two topics make up the majority of the first year of the program.”
What was your favorite class and with which professor? Why?
Giulia: “My favorite class this year was International Trade and Monetary System. I found the class fascinating, especially because today’s news is more and more driven by the interdependence between nations. Professor Juergen Foecking’s lectures were engaging and we were given the opportunity to be active in his class discussions.”
Pedro: “My favorite class so far was Probability & Statistics because we were able to use the programming skills we learned during the first semester to further understand data. Plus, I think it’s really fun to program, and Andrew Bertoli is one of the best professors I’ve ever had. I also loved my Impact Writing Lab with Pedro Gete, International Trade and Monetary System with Juergen Foecking, and Game Theory with Borja Mesa.”
Tell us about an average class. How long is it? What’s the workload like? Do you do more group or individual work?
Both students agree that lectures are different with each professor, but they all have a similar structure and grading system. They are usually two hours and 50 minutes with a 20-minute break halfway through. The lectures will likely include a powerpoint presentation, which will later be posted on the online campus platform. In most lectures you will listen and take notes, but you’ll occasionally have to give a presentation or participate in a class debate. There will most likely be group projects and individual work throughout the semester, but this also depends on the professor.
Do professors place more emphasis on practical or academic learning?
Professors use both approaches to learning. They usually use powerpoints to guide their lectures, but there will always be a practical portion of class that includes student interaction. Sometimes they will recommend readings and other times we will discuss a topic as a class during our sessions.
How many hours will I spend doing homework or studying?
You will probably average three to four hours of studying per day. That may be individually or working on group projects. There also will be readings or a homework assignment to do before lectures.
What are finals like?
You will take finals at the end of every semester. They will cover the entire syllabus from the specific class. Finals are normally written exams held in the classroom, but you could be assigned an individual or group final project instead. If you study and pay attention in class, finals are just like the normal exams you take: simple and straightforward.
How do you prepare before class?
Both Guilia and Pedro told us that it’s really important to read all of the assigned readings for the lectures. This way you have an idea of what is going on in class and you can participate more in class discussions. They both also suggest reading the news a lot in order to stay up to date on current events and reviewing the material from the previous lectures.
What is a typical Bachelor in Economics student like?
The students agree that IE University is such a unique and diverse place that there isn’t a correct answer to this question. However, a typical Bachelor in Economics student is easygoing, fun to be around, and always open to talk. Students from other degree programs tend to say that we are considered to be the smart ones.
What are the exchange-student program opportunities?
Pedro told us: “There are plenty of opportunities to go on exchange as there are more than 160 available partner universities. I am so excited about it. I want to go to the United States since there are excellent universities there, but we have the chance to go to Asia, Australia, South America, or around Europe as well.”
What are the internship opportunities? Are they easy to find?
IE University offers a lot of different internship opportunities. The Talent & Careers office provides guidance and resources to help you find the perfect match for your professional interests. They send out weekly emails with updated opportunities. At the moment, Giulia is part of the EconData Lab, which was organized through the University. Most students find their internships during their second or third year in the program.
Additional tips from Giulia and Pedro on how to succeed in the Bachelors in Economics:
- Read the readings before lectures—it will be obvious if you don’t.
- Read the news constantly and make sure to keep yourself informed—your professors will use current events in the classroom.
- Come into the bachelor feeling comfortable with Excel and with a basic understanding of programming.
- Practice derivatives and other mathematical concepts continuously and prepare yourself to interpret a lot of data.
- If you are struggling in one of the classes, stay behind and ask the professor for help. They are there to help you succeed.
- Form positive relationships with the other students in your class.
- Don’t be afraid to share and defend your opinion, but be sure to listen to the opinions of others as well.