The IEU Lab program offers participants an alternative to traditional work placements. It provides practical opportunities for participating students to gain real-life insights into the business world, confronting real challenges in the process. In the latest addition to the initiative, the Behavior Lab, they apply their knowledge of human behavior to address a range of organizational issues.

Tangible benefits for students and clients alike in the Behavior Lab

IE University’s innovative Lab system has long been providing our students with unique opportunities to connect with world-leading businesses. The newest addition to the initiative is the Behavior Lab, a program that offers participants the chance to bring their knowledge of human behavior to real-world issues being faced by businesses. The aim is to put students in a position to address a broad range of organizational and societal challenges, such as business development, change management, market research and consumer behavior. Moreover, there are cultural challenges and people engagement matters to deal with, which are increasingly important in the modern business ecosystem.

Diversity of thought and experience

Given its core approach, the Behavior Lab is primarily aimed at those who are taking the Bachelor in Behavior and Social Sciences at IE University. That said, students on all kinds of programs are strongly encouraged to apply, as the initiative serves as an ideal environment for collaboration between people with different backgrounds. As Alistair Fildes, the bachelor’s Academic Director underlines: “We wanted a Behavior Lab here at IE University for two reasons. First, we wanted our students to apply what they have learned about human behavior to business problems, giving them an insight into what it feels like to work as a human behavior expert. Second, we wanted students to be exposed to working with students from other programs, to create better solutions by collaborating with people that have different areas of expertise.”

So of course, the Behavior Lab is open to students from any bachelor’s program at IE University, with a maximum of 45 individuals accepted each year. The institution’s emphasis on diversity is plain for all to see here, with three out of four students applying to the Lab coming from other programs, bringing with them a broad base of experiences, skill sets and knowledge. It’s an approach that works: IEU Lab head Daniel Laya reiterates that the more diverse the team, the better the results. He says the challenges being addressed often require knowledge in marketing, business, data analysis, and many more areas besides.

An intensive program with top collaborators

As for the format of the Behavior Lab, the academic course is split into two periods. From January to May, participants spend time understanding and researching the organization they are working with, and the challenges or issues they face. Then comes an intensive period running throughout June, when students are expected to develop recommendations for their assigned business based on the research they have conducted.

The program features collaborations with partners that bring their projects to the Behavior Lab for assessment. Companies and organizations from all kinds of sectors have been involved already, including real estate firm CBRE, banking group Bancolombia, consultants BeWay and Neovantas, and the IE Center for Social Innovation and Sustainability. Our students have helped them address a whole host of challenges, such as exploring the future of work, transforming consumer behavior, developing new products for B2B clients, improving hybrid work possibilities and increasing engagement with certain communities.

Enhancing knowledge and building confidence

The Behavior Lab is the perfect chance for students to develop hugely valuable skills that will benefit them throughout their future careers. Daniel Laya notes that the participating teams are in constant coordination with their sponsor organizations, giving them the opportunity to communicate directly with real-world business stakeholders. Working alongside these experienced professionals serves to enhance students’ knowledge and competencies, as well as building their confidence by allowing them to apply their skills to an organizational scenario. 

The successful completion of one of the IEU Labs comes with the award of three ECTS credits, and students who enroll in the Behavior Lab are evaluated on two main criteria: their commitment and contributions during Lab sessions, and the quality of the recommendations they deliver to the partner organizations on conclusion of the project. The assessment is based on the opinions of the professionals they have worked with, which helps ensure that the content is relevant and also allows constructive feedback to be given to boost students’ expertise.

The Behavior Lab is just the latest element of IE University’s efforts to provide our student body with unique and innovative experiences. Human behavior and the social sciences are vital elements of the business world, and now students on any program have an unparalleled opportunity to put their learning into practice in an authentic environment and really make a difference.