By combining different but related disciplines, IE University’s dual degree programs give participants a deeper and broader understanding of a complex, changing world.

The Dual Degree in Economics and International Relations is a prime example of this, intersecting two fields that are key to understanding how the world works—and how it’s going to work tomorrow. We spoke to Borja Santos, Executive Director of Undergraduate programs at IE School of Global and Public Affairs, and Patricia Gabaldón, Academic Director of the Bachelor in Economics. Both members of this dual degree’s outstanding faculty, about why it has so much to offer future leaders of global change.

Patricia, could you give us a brief overview of this dual degree?

Patricia: The Dual Degree in Economics and International Relations is a degree that combines all the foundations and skills you can get from economics and data, and all the knowledge and understanding of the complex changes happening in and between countries.    

Borja, can you tell us about this dual degree? What makes it unique?

Borja: This is not just the sum of two different degrees. It’s actually an integration of courses that allow students to follow a very interesting and unique career path.

How do you do that? How does this dual degree achieve the integration of two disciplines such as Economics and International Relations?

Borja: We create a narrative every year that a student is going to follow, and we’ve also developed particular courses that combine both degrees. The first year focuses on global challenges, so the student is going to learn micro-and macro-economics, statistics and so on, but also the history of International Relations. They’ll examine the economic dimensions of the global 2030 agenda. In the second year, the student will become a financial and data-driven economist. They’ll study finance, capital markets, etc., but also international trade, which is very important in International Relations. They may take a course that combines both disciplines, like sustainable finance.

In the third year, students will become political and social economists, taking courses on economic development and the economics of climate change. They learn to understand political science better, and this combination will allow them to focus on those matters.

And the last two years?

Borja: The fourth-year student will become a policy and digital economist—many students like to understand the economics behind new digital platforms, like Google or Amazon. At the same time, we look at how to design better policies that work at the international level. Other students will take courses on negotiation, or policy trends for global transformation. By the final year, students are more mature—they have a very well-consolidated knowledge, and they’ll become managerial economists. These students will go on to manage global governance or multinational corporations and build partnerships at the intersection between economics and international relations.

So can you describe the profile of a great Dual Degree Economics and International Relations student?

Borja: Someone who works hard, who likes economics, who’s very good with statistics and data, and feels comfortable with technology. On the other hand, they’ll want to change the world. They’ll enjoy understanding political relations between countries, and the history of those relationships.

Can you give us some examples of that type of person?

Borja: One would be Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian economist who studied economics and international relations. He is a former Secretary-General of the United Nations. He was one of the founders of the Millennium Development Goals—economic goals that countries are adopting worldwide. And another Nobel Prize winner, the French economist Esther Duflo. She created the Poverty Action Lab, and works in many different countries creating the best strategies to solve poverty.

What are the characteristics of a graduate from this Dual Degree?

Patricia: The typical graduate from this bachelor will be a professional who will be able to see the complexity of the economic world from an analytical point of view, but in terms of the bigger picture. They will be able to understand the biggest challenges that are going on in the world right now, such as resource exhaustion, and everything that is happening with poverty, inequality, hunger, and the big problems that the world is facing, but they will approach it analytically. They will also be able to analyze this data with very complex models—and this data will come from governments, companies, institutions and so on—so they can actually implement big solutions to these big problems. For more information on the Dual Degree in Economics and International Relations, click here.