Every student who passes through IE University leaves a little part of their heart there. We’re proud to boast a 60,000-strong community of diverse and successful alumni who have shaped our institution. Today, we hear the story of Bachelor in International Relations alum Carlota Margarita Marcoartu—in her own words.
Born and raised in Bilbao, I studied the Bachelor in International Relations at the IE University Segovia and Madrid campuses, which also gave me the opportunity to go to Mexico for an exchange semester. Later, I decided to continue my training and study the Master in Management at IE Business School.
I’m still the same person I always was. My passion and motivation remain the same: strong. I like to be active, observe and use my creativity, and always try my best—even when it seems impossible. I still have the conviction that with hard work and imagination, we are all capable of contributing something to society. Now it’s my turn to do so by working and absorbing knowledge like a sponge. I have written this blog post to highlight my experience at IE University and in the Bachelor in International Relations through the eyes of an alumni. College is an exciting challenge and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
A university with personality
Going to university doesn’t just mean obtaining knowledge and a degree. There are experiences in life that you can only find in the academic environment, and IE University is much more than just a simple university. It is a 360-degree life experience. The learning starts in the classroom, but it continues in different parts of the world.
We live in exponential times, where volatility, complexity and uncertainty prevail; where universities must constantly evolve. This is exactly why I chose IE University. I viewed the institution as a horizontal, transdisciplinary university, open to collaboration with multiple organizations, external agents and research processes. At IE University, both the students and the professors are responsible for the learning process. The studying system combines theory with practice, is innovative, has a personalized touch, offers multidisciplinary programs and has an international outlook.
As a former student of the Bachelor in International Relations, I also have to highlight the humanistic approach to education. This initiative aims to bring the humanities closer to the worlds of law and business. The humanities helps us develop critical reasoning. It obliges us to be curious, to exercise imagination and to better understand the environment around us. Therefore, education should go beyond the traditional teaching and technical skills, instead focusing on training students to be open-minded, to express their opinions in a concise and clear manner, and to think critically and freely. Getting to know the world through the lens of history, culture, tradition, languages or art, obliges us to confront our fears of how quickly everything changes and the pace at which the global community is transforming.
In the uncertain world we live in, universities must enhance students’ ability to learn quickly and effectively, no matter what program you study. IE University has been doing this for a long time. This competence of learning fast—which is so linked to our accelerated, interconnected, and digitalized world—is based on a deep, solid base of knowledge. While each of us has a different academic and professional background, all bachelor’s students will end up sharing a common knowledge base to use as a starting point. Their experiences and expertise will grow at breakneck speed, and that solid base of knowledge that IE University provides will always accompany them, no matter what they do.
Furthermore, IE University offers diverse, high-quality undergraduate and postgraduate degrees that are flexible and personalized, reflecting the social and business needs that society demands today. The school constantly innovates their way of teaching so that students acquire the core skills for their area of expertise while also learning skills like leadership and management; this way, they graduate knowing how to navigate uncertainty and succeed in the changing global environment.
Finally, I couldn’t write this post without mentioning IE University’s capacity to thrive. Few companies, universities or international organizations have such an ability to grow in tough times. I started my bachelor’s program in 2012—the first intake for the degree. There were 35 students and there was only one class; now, there are two or more classes per course, the program is available on both campuses and there are quite a few new dual degrees available. Over the course of eight years, including this year, I have seen how much the university and the program have changed and grown. It’s clear that IE University turns uncertainty into opportunity.
What the Bachelor in International Relations taught me
I chose to study the Bachelor in International Relations because of the school’s international character, the attractiveness of its campus (I still remember the first day I visited the Segovia campus with my parents) and the novelty of the program (it was brand new). I became passionate about the program, as it not only empowers your personal skills, but it respects your idiosyncrasy, maximizing your potential and showing students how to deal with failure.
The program has taught me a lot. It has allowed me to meet many interesting and admirable people, some of whom have become role models for me. I am extremely grateful that they have been part of my academic life. Indeed, what I value most is how human and supportive everyone in the program has been, from the friends I made to the staff and faculty. For example, during my freshman year, our history teacher gave us a class exercise: to look for an inscription somewhere on the Segovia campus. The only requirement was that it had to be related to the Catholic royals. The problem was that there were too many inscriptions on the campus. However, after an exhaustive search throughout the campus, I found it. It was the professor who told me what it meant and why it was relevant. This is an example of the adventures that await you, which you will always carry in your memory. For me, the Bachelor in International Relations meant and still means a chance to start making a difference.
The Bachelor in International Relations, together with the university in general, offer infinite opportunities to be curious, to learn and to grow both professionally and personally. These opportunities arise, for example, in startup labs, conferences, elective courses, advanced seminars, clubs, international exchange programs, forums… the list goes on. As a student, I was very active in many facets of university life, leading me to receive the IE Fellowship Award; to join the IE Mentor program and the Amigo program; to study several advanced seminars; to become a member of the IE Model UN club and the IE International Relations club; and to participate in Model UNs representing the university. Also, as part of the program, students are encouraged to go on an exchange semester abroad, with destinations available all over the world. I decided to go to Mexico for six months, studying at the Universidad Anáhuac México Campus Norte. It was one of the best experiences of my life.
At the end of the day, our experiences depend on our choices. I decided to make the most of the university experience, which gave me an outlet to apply all the theoretical knowledge I gained throughout the program in a practical setting. It also allowed me to acquire a wide range of experience, as well as improve my ability to work in teams, adapt quickly to new environments, enhance my communication skills, develop analytical skills, present my ideas fluently and concisely and, above all, how to achieve my goals with perseverance.
Honestly, I miss my college experience. There are more than 130 nationalities on campus, more than 75% of the total number of students are international, and more than 45 languages are spoken on campus. University life is full of adventures, friends, good laughs in class and a constant flow of ideas. My advice for current students is to take advantage of everything IE University has to offer. Enjoy the experience as much as possible. Absorb knowledge. Don’t be afraid to try. Ask for help when needed. Persevere.