Ashikah Ameerudeen is the Director – Singapore & Southeast Asia of IE University (Instituto de Empresa)
Hola Ashikah, could you please introduce yourself?
Thank you, Fernando and the Spanish Chamber, for giving me this opportunity to share more about myself, IE University, and its presence in Singapore and the rest of the region.
Not too long ago, I graduated from IE’s Executive Master in Corporate and Marketing Communications program. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and found it exciting to be part of the IE Community. Currently, I lead IE’s regional presence in Southeast Asia from Singapore. I am grateful that my current role allows me to play an active role in shaping the community in the region. I enjoy working with young professionals; I find fulfillment in nurturing talent and helping them realize their personal and professional goals.
Can you summarize what IE University is and the main objectives of your office in Singapore?
IE University, also known as Instituto de Empresa, was founded in Spain as an exciting professional school for thought leaders and entrepreneurs in 1973. Over the years, it has expanded its ecosystem to include programs in architecture, business, law, global public affairs, human sciences, and technology for both undergraduates and postgraduates. IE University values diversity and to support this, it has over 30 global offices to scout, attract, and retain top talent from around the world.
The main objective of the Singapore Office is to bring IE and Madrid “closer to home”. In addition to scouting for exceptional talent in the region and supporting them throughout their admissions journey, we serve as a bridge for students and staff in the main campus to better understand opportunities in the region for personal and professional growth. We also support alumni in the region and organize various (now virtual) events for the IE community in the region. The Singapore Office also provides talent development strategies and solutions to our corporate partners in the region.
Why would you recommend a student from Asia to study their MBA in Europe, and more specifically, why to study it at IE University?
I would recommend students to study in Europe for the experience and the opportunity to be exposed to different ideas and perspectives. It will give students a better understanding of how business is done in another region and help them adapt their working styles accordingly.
An MBA experience at IE University is advantageous because it gives students a lot of choices and flexibility. For example, our full-time International MBA allows students to customize 45% of the program to focus on their individual career aspirations. The lab periods during the MBA nurture students in building core competencies for their post-MBA journey in a conducive, hands-on learning environment. If a student is unable to take a year off from work to pursue a full-time program, IE also has a range of online and blended MBA programs to better allow students to juggle the demands of work, studies, and family. IE’s Global Online MBA, for instance, gives students the opportunity to have an IE MBA Experience at their own pace and in their preferred format!
What should prospective applicants consider when deciding on an MBA?
In addition to the admissions requirements and possible exemptions that the school/program has, most applicants pay close attention to the following when deciding on an MBA program:
- alumni network
- career support & opportunities
- cost structure
- funding options
- cost of living in the city/country of choice
I believe applicants should also evaluate the class profile of the program. To maximize learning and better understand different working styles, it is important to be in a class with diverse professionals. Diverse – not just in terms of nationality and culture, but also in terms of the industries and roles they are from.
Are there any downsides to doing an Online MBA program?
Before the pandemic hit, there may have been some concerns among younger professionals to pursue an online program. They were worried that their pursuit of higher education and professional development would be seen as insincere by potential employers if they do a program online.
However, with over 20 months of working from home and ensuring business continuity, globally, with remote work, there has been a significant shift in this mindset. Applicants, and employers alike, are more confident that meaningful engagement can continue to happen online. They also recognize that various program formats (full-time, part-time, online, blended etc.) exist to cater to an individual’s specific priorities and that there isn’t a format that is necessarily better than the other. For example, the popularity of the IE Global Online MBA has recently grown in Singapore because of its top rankings and flexible format.
As an IE alumni, how did your IE Experience impact your professional career?
In an immediate sense, my IE Experience prepared me to effect a huge career shift, from the public sector, by helping me improve my career fitness. Holistically, the IE Experience has given me a better understanding of diverse work cultures and I am better able to manage competing demands within tight timelines. It has also taught me how to keep my team focused and motivated in a remote setting. Most importantly, the IE Experience has opened doors for me to meet nurturing mentors who have helped me grow professionally. Whenever I need specific technical or localized insights, I have knowledgeable, forthcoming resources to turn to. I am always thankful for the support I’ve been given from the IE Community.
What are the personal advices that you have for Asian students who are going to Madrid to study at the IE campus?
Arrive in advance – apply for your student visa as early as you can and move to Spain/Madrid at least a month before your program starts. This will give you time to sort your accommodation, your wifi, bank card, mobile phone, NIE card etc. and make it easier for you to start the school term fresh and focused!
Pick up some basic Spanish – IE is in a neighbourhood that has many embassies and international companies so you can still get around with English. But if you’d like to venture beyond Madrid or experience Spanish culture holistically, knowing some Spanish will be extremely helpful.
Don’t lose sight of the end goal – It’s natural to get caught up in your studies, assignments and projects but do allocate time to network, join extra-curricular activities and work on your career fitness from Day 1.
For more information: https://www.ie.edu/