My experience at IE: 5 life lessons learned at university

@IE University

Here are some of the things I have learned during my 5 years at IE University, both inside and outside of the classroom.

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In addition to being an impactful and extensive educational experience, going to university can be truly life-changing. You learn about your capabilities, talents, and interests while having access to new and exciting information that will challenge you to grow intellectually. This can be absolutely overwhelming (shoutout to anyone staying up all night working on assignments), but academics is just one part of the university experience. It’s important to be open to all the experiences you will encounter at university, the new personal connections, the mistakes you will make, and the fun you will have!

Here are some of the things I have learned during my 5 years at IE University, both inside and outside of the classroom:

1. Listen

experience at ie active listeningThe cotton-swab industry will appreciate it.

Active listening is one of the skills that, in my opinion, will help you the most when it comes to pursuing your goals for the future. Life at IEU is hectic, fun, and engaging. You want to be able to do well academically while also participating in all the activities and experiences happening on and around campus.

After some months at IEU, I learned that if I truly listened and paid attention during class, taking notes and participating in the conversations, I was able to learn more efficiently and take less time to do my assignments and study for exams. This allowed me, in turn, to spend more time with my friends without compromising my academic experience.

Becoming an active listener will also help you later in life to become a successful professional and a good friend able to cultivate and maintain strong relationships. Listen, and your life will get easier.

2. Talk to everyone

experience at ie talk to everyoneMegaphone not included with tuition fees.

My favorite aspect of IEU was the diversity of the student body. There are so many countries, cultures, and personalities represented on campus, and everyone wants to learn from one another. A large portion of the student body have lived in many different countries, and have some fascinating cultural knowledge to share.

As a Spaniard going to IEU, I was initially tempted to hang out with other Spaniards or friends that I already had. Once I started meeting other people, I understood the value that this diverse community had to offer. This made me more aware of how IEU’s multi-cultural environment has shaped my mind to think more globally and challenged me to question my previous assumptions.

You can learn so much from the people around you, especially in an environment as diverse as IEU. Although it might feel intimidating at first, engaging with people from different walks of life will greatly enrich your own perspective.

3. Keep an open mind

experience at ie open mindThough I wouldn’t let my mind free fall.

It’s easy to gravitate towards like-minded individuals in order to stick to what you know. With that said, stepping out of your comfort zone is as rewarding as it is enlightening. You’re sure to find that things aren’t as challenging or intimidating as they seem, and you’re guaranteed to discover new things about yourself.

This applies to everything that you may encounter during your university years and, most likely, in your professional and personal life later on.

Here are some tips that I learned at IEU by keeping an open mind.

  • Try starting in Segovia. Most people that go to IEU (myself included) come from big cities and metropolitan environments. For these individuals, the easiest, most familiar option is to start out at the Madrid campus. However, in Segovia, you’ll be in an environment that you’re not used to. The Segovia experience is highly unique, and something city-folk should try out.
  • You are coming to a completely new place with new people and new opportunities. This means that you’ll have a chance to learn more about who you are by exposing yourself to your new environment. Whether it’s getting into a new hobby, cooking a meal for friends, or hitting up the theatre scene in Madrid, you’ll be learning more about yourself and who you want to be.  

4. Strategize your risk taking

experience at ie risk strategyWho knew finance classes could teach life lessons?

We all know how it feels like to come up short or fail to meet expectations. As bad as it may feel, it’s important to take risks and try. I’ve come to believe that calculated risk-taking will lead you to better results across the board.  

When you push yourself to take small risks in your day-to-day life, you’ll end up surprising yourself with what you’re capable of. It might not always work out how you want it to, but you’ll be able to say that you tried!

So take on that extracurricular activity your professor recommended, or ask that burning question that’s been on your mind during the whole class. Taking these risks is a way of pushing yourself to be better and face challenges head-on. This will make you more resilient when things don’t work out as planned, and become more successful in those ventures that matter most.

5. Question everything!

experience at ie question everytingEven your mo… err… no mom, you are always right.

From the moment we come into this world, we are conditioned by our culture, social circles, and environment. We make sense of the world around us using the frameworks we’ve been presented with, causing us to feel comfortable with what we understand to be true.

Thanks to the inspirational individuals I’ve had the pleasure of meeting at IEU, I’ve learned how to challenge my assumptions. At first, this can be destabilizing and uncomfortable. Ultimately, this thought process is highly rewarding and necessary in order to grow intellectually and personally. You have to question everything and arrive at your own conclusions by comparing ideas from a variety of sources as well as your own impressions and perceptions.

It’s important to challenge everything, even this blog post! The experience that I’ve had at IEU is specific to my own context, and whatever you find at IEU will be unique to you. Whatever discoveries you make at IEU, I guarantee they will challenge you to grow on so many levels.

Nacho Maiz is a Class of 2015 BBA graduate from IE University, specialized in Branding & Marketing Strategy. He spent his first two years at IEU in Segovia, then moved to Madrid to finish his degree.


Discover more tips for new and prospective students from some of Nacho’s classmates.