At IE University, the IEU Student Government does exactly that, ensuring the channels of communication between the student body and the university are open and consistent. Johanna Jakobi, current president of the IEU Student Government, recently joined us on the #GoingtoIEU podcast, where she told us about her role, as well as her internship within the institution itself.
Building on the IEU Student Government’s role in campus life
Johanna, originally from Germany and Switzerland, is studying a Dual Degree in Business Administration + International Relations. Johanna became president of the IEU Student Government in April 2022 and she has spearheaded efforts to broaden the organization’s work at IE University. She has also continued to build on the previous IEU Student Government’s commitment of spreading students’ athletic involvement through the work of a committee.
As president, a key focus of Johanna’s initiatives has been to enhance the channels of communication between the IEU Student Government and the student body. “We want to broaden these channels to include more things. One of the things that we’re working on right now with the administration is to see if we could get a page on Blackboard that the IEU Student Government, and only the IEU Student Government, can use to keep students updated on what’s happening in the university,” she told us. “Class representatives sometimes get excessive amounts of messages to pass on. We want to alleviate that sort of pressure and change it to something we can do better, given our direct access to information with the administration.”
“One of the things that IE University does is give you room to work on things that are not just academic, like people skills or organization, and on things that really interest you. We want to use our channels to promote these things—I think the student government has a responsibility to cater to everyone, and that means highlighting things that would broaden or fulfill their student lives.”
With such a huge number of ideas on the current government’s manifesto, Johanna is also considering making proposals for refinements to the university’s attendance policy, examining class scheduling and trying to make things “just a little bit better” for everybody, leaving everything in “the best shape possible” for when the next student government takes over. “We serve as a middle ground between the student body and the administration, like a bridge, to facilitate closer relationships.”
Broadening her own horizons in an ecosystem of opportunity
Johanna sees her responsibilities as president of the student government as part of a personal development process she’s going through at IE University. She cited an ability to listen to the great variety of ideas and worldviews as one of both her and the institution’s greatest assets. Patience, a collaborative approach and resilience have all come to the fore as qualities she’s going to need to draw on over the course of the government.
Perhaps that’s why she took up an internship at IE Business School in the Strategic Engagement and Communication team, in a role that on the surface has little to do with her dual degree subjects. Her responsibility was reaching out to recent alumni, keeping in touch and seeing how IE University can be of help. She pointed out that her “internship is a reminder for me that there are so many things IE University has to offer students and alumni. Many people don’t know about them or don’t know how to use them. My internship is literally helping them to close that gap.”
A key personal benefit of her internship has been the ability to fit it around her studies. Johanna understands that few employers would be keen to take on an intern who had classes throughout the day, but at IE University she has simply been trusted to take care of her responsibilities and manage her time and workload accordingly.
Looking for a balanced future
Understandably, Johanna was asked if she wants to go into politics. She doesn’t. But nor does she want to go into finance, accounting, or what she calls “hard business.” Somewhere in the middle is fine for Johanna, which is why she chose her dual degree—business for the head, and international relations for the soul, as she put it. While she doesn’t have a clear career path in mind yet, IE University is providing the perfect opportunities to experiment, with her studies, her student government role and her internship all playing a part. “Things like the student government is itself a little bit of an experiment, figuring out what it is that I would like to do a couple of years down the line. But right now, this is the perfect in-between,” she explained.
Asked for tips for other students, given how busy she is, Johanna echoed her earlier thoughts on the balance that her two degrees provide. “It’s important to be well-rounded,” she told us. “I can’t do the things I want to do professionally if I don’t do the things that are important to me socially and personally. It’s important to carve time out for yourself, for the head and for the soul. Find something you enjoy and you’ll never work a day in your life—I wouldn’t be doing these things if I didn’t find them interesting. Take the time to find things that interest you; it’s a little investment toward your aspirations.”
To hear Johanna’s full conversation with host Ida Nydelius, check out the eleventh episode of #GoingtoIEU.