Designed to be an innovative alternative to internships, the labs allow students to carry out projects for real clients from their first year.
The 24 labs offered by IE University this year are divided into three types: entrepreneurship, consulting and social projects.
For IE University, it’s of vital importance that its students engage in professional projects and come into contact with companies and organizations in the early years of their studies. For the past 10 years, the university has been promoting business labs as an innovative alternative to professional internships. These labs are supervised work spaces where first- and second-year students carry out feasible projects with real companies. Students who participate in these labs not only begin to build their professional profile, but also acquire valuable practical knowledge of the reality of various sectors, in addition to connecting with executives and managers of the most cutting-edge companies.
The goal is to ensure that, from the very beginning, students acquire the necessary skills to enter the labor market on completing their university studies—in any part of the world and backed by every assurance of success. This academic year, IE University has offered a total of 24 labs in IE University labs: a decade of successfully connecting students with top companies different disciplines such as finance, communication, marketing, law and social impact.
“Each lab is like a micro-consultancy directed by a professor, who often, in addition to teaching, holds positions of professional responsibility, that is to say, with a lot of professional experience,”
– Isabel Sánchez, Vice Rector of IE University and general director of the labs
She highlights the great appeal they have for university students, with “more than 900 students participating last year.”
The labs are divided into three types: entrepreneurship, consulting and social projects. The Start-Up Lab is designed as an incubator for students’ entrepreneurial endeavors, guiding them through the process of creating and launching a business. Students receive training in areas such as marketing, financing, strategy and legal affairs, and they are introduced to investors and other entrepreneurs who share the same experience. In the consulting labs, students carry out specific research projects and strategic analysis for companies, firms and institutions and then deliver their conclusions, guided by lab directors and experts. Consulting is conducted for clients from a wide range of industries, in fields such as urban development, city marketing, legal affairs, museum management, education, creativity and social behavior. Students also carry out external consultancy work for NGOs and public institutions in projects that have a social impact. This lab offers the incentive of being able to travel abroad to visit organizations doing field work in social or humanitarian projects.
The IE University labs run from January to June. Students carry out the projects for companies for five months, and once exams are over, they work more intensively on the projects’ completion. “Throughout this entire time, the students have been in contact with their clients. First there is a launch where the companies request of the students what is expected of them, and then over the next few months there is regular communication with the companies to see how the students are progressing or to guide them on where they need to go,” explains Isabel Sánchez.
It is in these labs that many IE University students discover their professional path, enhance their professional profile and establish contact with companies. It is, in short, the first step in building a culture of work, interdisciplinary knowledge and professional skills.
IE University’s Talent & Careers department stresses the importance of these labs, pointing out that “recruiters highly value the students having early contact with the business world. In many cases, the experience in the labs makes a difference in the recruitment processes of companies seeking talent during students’ final academic years.”
“The factor that sets these labs apart is that they are an initiative designed for very young students who, in their first two years of study, don’t have market alternatives as readily available. When a student reaches their third or fourth year, they already have internships, they have more experience and knowledge, and companies have an easier time identifying talent,” she points out. She also adds that “more than a quarter of our first-year students sign up for the labs.”
– Isabel Sánchez, Vice Rector of IE University and general director of the labs.
This success was reflected in the IEU Labs Fair, held in Segovia and Madrid, where undergraduate students came en masse to learn about the opportunities on offer this year. Directors and organizers met with the students to inform them about IE University’s 24 labs, the wide range of clients and the number of consulting projects planned for the coming months.