Involving companies into students education

Author: Jon Oleaga, Professor MVDM, IE University, IE School of Human Sciences and Technology

In the IE University, we always try to challenge ourselves in every way. Education is not just about pouring knowledge over the students anymore. It’s not about long lectures where the only speaker is the professor. One of our objectives is to get closer to the professional environment to the students. Years ago we started to use cases and simulations, but even they are amazing vehicles of education for subjects where nothing else can be used, they are not real. We were still far from real company experience, the roots of what IE University teaches.  There were several questions to be answered, how we could compress the whole enterprise experience and offer it to our students, how we could involve companies into student education and at the same time achieve a “win-win” situation, both for students and companies.

The solution came from the agreement with IE Foundation and the project “Digital Transformation for Inclusive Business Development”. The students could create a digital strategy from the scratch for companies that really needed it and had neither the resources or the knowledge to do it themselves. The first time we met the companies you could feel that we were making a difference for them, and the students felt it too.

When we teach digital marketing we always forget the human component, we focus on tools, theory, and techniques, and forget that the job is done for a client, or inside a company. This human component is hard to deal with. How we convince our client to use a channel they don’t believe is going to work or how we defend a social media communication campaign. Skills that you learn when you start working in the field, not in the university.

I’m sure the students felt they were part of the El Astrounauta del Rastro, La Piedra de Monet, Sonia Trenado, DH Joyas and Taller Cruz for three months, they got inside those five companies and took them as their own. There could not be a better experience for a student.

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