IE University student, Felipe Espinosa, shares his first-year experience in the Dual Degree in Business Administration & Data and Business Analytics program. He is looking forward to his second year already. Check out his journey with IE University.

What made you decide to study the Dual Degree in Business Administration & Data and Business Analytics?

Out of all of the different university degree programs I looked into, the Dual Degree in Business Administration & Data and Business Analytics was the first one that made me feel excited about what I was going to study. The degree gave me the feeling of wanting to study rather than having to do so. I also feel that this degree doesn’t limit me to a specific career upon graduation, and that was important to me because I’m not sure what I want to do. There was no amount of hesitation when it came to selecting the degree I wanted to study at IE University.

What are the main topics of the degree?

The main topics covered in the dual degree are the same ones you would study in both individual degrees. A few of the Business Administration topics are accounting, economics, finance, and business management. In the Data and Business Analytics courses, you cover programming languages and statistics. The dual degree also explains the relationship between Business Administration and Data and how they work together in the real world. IE University furthers your studies by then teaching you how to apply what you are learning in and outside of the classroom.

What was your favorite class and with which professor? Why?

I must say that most of my classes were great; however, my favorite was Modeling and Simulation to Understand Change with Professor Alex Martínez. Admittedly, at first I didn’t like the class at all because I couldn’t understand anything and I felt lost. As the semester progressed, something clicked and I began to understand. The feeling I got when I was finally able to solve a programming problem after such a struggle was incredibly rewarding and I realized I loved this class that I once didn’t enjoy.

Tell us about an average class. How long is it? What’s the workload like? Do you have more group or individual work?

Each class is divided into sessions of one hour and 20 minutes, but we usually have double sessions, which are two hours and 40 minutes with a ten-minute break. The class size is around 30 students, which fosters a more personalized teaching style where we can ask questions and move at a pace that works for the majority of us. We work in groups that we choose and can be creative with our projects, as long as we stay within a few guidelines. Some classes require you to do a lot of homework, and sometimes there won’t be an assignment, but you should be ready to read quite a few chapters per class per week from your textbooks.

Do the professors use a hands-on or academic approach?

Most of the classes are taught using a Powerpoint presentation. Then, professors will write problems on the board for us to solve as a class as a way to reinforce what we are learning. Whether a class at IE University is more academic or practical really does depend on the degree, the class, and the professor. I can only speak for the classes I’ve taken, and I feel that they tend to be more academic because of the amount of theory we have to learn before we can practice and apply it.

How many hours will I spend doing homework or studying?

Most of our professors recommend that we spend about two to three hours reading the textbook outside of class in order to understand it fully. The amount of time spent studying depends on the class. You will have classes that you find easier, and there will be others where you struggle. I personally haven’t spent more than two hours finishing one homework assignment. Projects, however, take longer to complete—but the deadlines are reasonable.

Is there a lot of preparation before class?

To prepare for classes, you will have to read textbook chapters or solve problem sets to help you understand what the class is going to cover. Class runs more smoothly and there is more time to ask questions if you come having done the readings and assigned problems.

What are finals like?

Finals are usually either a one or two session time period. They cover everything we worked on in that class. Some classes require a minimum grade of 5 out of 10, while others require a minimum grade of 3.5. Students from the same degree all take the final exam for each subject at the same time. For example, all BBA first-year students from both the Madrid and the Segovia campus will take the Marketing final at exactly the same time. If you have a final project, it is usually turned in before finals week and will be a presentation and a written report. Some classes will have both final projects and exams, so try to manage your time wisely to avoid stress.

During finals, the campus stays open later to provide students with the facilities and resources needed to study in effective ways.

What is a typical day for a Dual Degree in Business Administration & Data and Business Analytics student?

Even though the Dual Degree in Business Administration & Data and Business Analytics is a double degree, our schedules still allow us to have a day-to-day life that is similar to the other degree programs. We have classes in the morning and then have lunch at home or on campus. Later we go to the Student Hub, one of the campus study rooms, and do homework. I usually have dinner and finish homework by 8 p.m. and then I am able to meet my friends in Plaza Mayor. We are hardworking students who will pull all-nighters, but also have developed effective time-management skills.

What are the internship opportunities? Are they easy to find?

IE University offers a variety of choices for internships. In January there is an IEU Labs fair—labs are similar to internships, but instead of working directly for a company, you work with an IE University teacher and other students on a project for it. Apart from this, IE University helps students find internships in a variety of companies in Spain.

Additional tips from Felipe on succeeding a Dual Degree in Business Administration & Data and Business Analytics

  • Have a computer charger with you at all times. It sounds simple, but it is so necessary. Especially for Data classes as your computer is your best learning tool and it would be horrible if it died during class.
  • Practice the programming languages. Practice really makes perfect when it comes to learning programming.
  • Learn the study method that is most efficient for you. Knowing how you study best will save up so much time and help your exam scores.
  • Find hobbies. It is vital that you have something to do to take your mind off your studies, otherwise, it is quite possible the degree will become unbearable.
  • Ask your classmates for help. Sometimes it is refreshing to look at what you learned in class through another student’s perspective.
  • There’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition. Be competitive so that you push yourself to try your best every time; however, stay close to your classmates. They are the only people who understand exactly what this degree is like, and you will be together for 5 years. When classes become challenging, it’s really important to have someone who understands.