IE Talent & Careers works relentlessly to provide real-world experiences and extensive resources for our students to feel confident when they step into the world of work. One such example is the Young Corporate Program, designed for first- and second-year bachelor’s students ready to start their corporate experience right from the start of their IE University journey.

Connecting students with a wide range of companies, the Young Corporate Program (YCP) allows first-year single degree and second-year dual degree bachelor’s students at IE University to dive into the world of work. From multinationals and startups to nonprofit organizations, these companies benefit by securing talented young professionals before they graduate, and our students benefit by gaining out-of-the-classroom experiences. In its first edition, the YCP received over 450 applications and continues to grow. Offering two different paths—a four-year General Program Path, where students will have access to mentoring, shadowing and internship opportunities, and a two-year virtual Segovia Program Path—students can personalize their experience and work toward their future.

We recently caught up with Mario Vicente about his experience in the YCP, the knowledge he gained from his company and the program, and where he sees his future.

Tell us more about your experience in the Young Corporate Program. What was the most exciting aspect of it for you?

My YCP experience began during my second year in the Dual Degree in Laws & International Relations. It started with a Company Insight event at the law firm Squire Patton Boggs, where I met the manager of the Madrid office and a partner in the firm and was introduced to general concepts of how an international law firm works. Alongside other IE University students, I had the opportunity to engage in an insightful conversation with the manager and partner about the beauty of the profession, the day-to-day responsibilities in the firm, and the challenges they encounter along the way.

The following summer, after the third year of my bachelor’s degree, I completed a shadowing program in the international trade and sanctions department. Throughout the week, I shadowed a lawyer and was able to be part of the team. During that previous year studying at IE University, I acquired a solid comparative background in commercial law, EU law and international trade, allowing me to put my learning to practice. The shadowing program not only gave me valuable information regarding the intricacies of the profession, but it also helped me discover a professional path that I could pursue upon graduation.

Lastly, in the summer following my fourth year, I interned for a month in the same department where I developed my skills the year before. During my internship, I revised international contracts for the storage of goods and I researched the main legislation regarding sanctions in the UK and the EU. One of the most exciting aspects was having the opportunity to contribute to solving some of the legal challenges and legal questions that Squire Patton Boggs’ clients had.

How did you get selected for this program? What motivated you to apply?

IE University offers programs to students who would like to obtain professional experience in some of the top companies worldwide who have offices in Madrid. Each company varies in sectors, so students can apply to the company that best suits their academic background and professional goals.

I decided to apply to the YCP online via IE Talent & Careers. The selection process is two-fold, and starts with IE Talent & Careers selecting a group of students based on their GPA and resume to be part of the Company Insight event. In this event, students meet with professionals who work at the company in order to better know the company and better understand the sector.

In the second part of the selection process, the company sends IE Talent & Careers a list of their prospective interns. The IE Talent & Careers team then contacts the student to let them know that they were selected to complete both the shadowing program and a one-month internship.

In my case, my main motivation was to gain knowledge of how a law firm operates on a daily basis in a branch of law that really interested me: international trade and sanctions.

What skills or knowledge did you gain from your experience in the YCP that you believe will be valuable for your future career?

During my experience, I took a deep dive into the field of public law. I learned about sanction regimes against states and began to understand the rationale behind them, at both the geopolitical and legal level. With that knowledge, I was able to learn the basic aspects of EU Regulations, the American Acts and the UK laws, specifically surrounding the sanctioning of certain categories of goods—goods of double use, for example—and how to use a comparative perspective to give the most accurate response to the legal problems I needed to solve.

How did the program contribute to your personal and professional development as a student?

The YCP was a valuable way for me to apply some of the content from various courses I studied during my program. My course in international trade was very useful when it came to elaborate briefings of recent laws passed by the Spanish legislature concerning international trade. My course on EU law has helped me carry out comparative research on the main directives and regulations at the EU level concerning sanctions, transport of goods and more.

Similarly, my course on management of the multinational corporation has contributed to my understanding of the intricacies of international transactions. And my course on public international law helped me comprehend the rationale of establishing punitive measures to states whose behavior is not acceptable according to the international community.

How do you see the experience gained from the Young Corporate Program influencing your future career aspirations?

I give great value to my YCP experience with Squire Patton Boggs because it’s helped me discover in which areas of law I would like to be engaged in the future: public and EU law. I can now further examine the particularities of these fields of law and explore possible career opportunities in a law firm in Madrid or perhaps even at a multilateral institution.

The YCP has given me the full picture of how a law firm works, allowing me to truly understand the main tasks carried out, the main complications lawyers experience on a daily basis and how to approach both.

Were there any key takeaways or lessons from the program that you believe every young aspiring professional should know?

My biggest takeaway would be to be proactive during the shadowing program and the one-month internship. Ask questions to the partners you’re working with and show them how you would solve that particular issue. In doing so, there is a valuable exchange between you and the partner, helping to boost the communication and serving as a great opportunity for you to absorb even more knowledge on how to proceed with certain tasks.

Can you share any advice or tips for future students who are considering applying for the Young Corporate Program?

My first piece of advice would be to get informed about the company beforehand—research them on the internet, explore their website, follow their LinkedIn and social media, learn about company events they organize that bring attention to the public and dive into recent legal news related to their field. That way, you will be in a position to engage in a meaningful conversation with the company representatives during the Company Insight event, which will improve your chances to be selected for shadowing and the one-month internship.

My second piece of advice would be to research the legal fields in which the company works. This will help you acquire an initial background of the company so that you can start making connections between what you’re learning in your program and the company’s branch of law.

My third piece of advice would be that once you’ve started your shadowing program, take the opportunity to ask the partner and your new colleagues about their daily work, their past experiences in that department or even about their background, allowing you to better steer your career opportunities towards that area. And once you’ve completed the internship and your time in the YCP, stay in touch with your company on LinkedIn or any other social media platforms to help keep you informed on potential future positions.

What was the most memorable moment or achievement you had during your time in the program?

Something that was memorable for me was the opportunity to collaborate in a department meeting with other lawyers and trainees coming from the offices in Madrid and Brussels. I was able to share my findings on the applicable legislation in the UK and in the EU for a ramification of a case they were working on concerning transport of goods and its related sanctions. I used a comparative perspective and applied some of the learnings acquired at IE University in my presentation.