Santiago Iniguez , rector, IE University, Spain, tells Tirna Ray that the change is in keeping with the times:
Why did IE Business School, a well-known brand, transform into a university?
It was our vision more than the need. Given the convergence of higher education and the Bologna process, we thought of the bigger picture and that is what propelled the transition of IE Business School into IE University. The university is the evolution of IE Business School's mission to shape a unique centre for higher education learning and innovation in Europe. We have a distinctly international approach and one of the major priorities is to bring together faculty and students from around the world. We recognise and acknowledge the fact that in these global times, we need to offer a holistic learning experience to our students that covers management skills, an element of innovation, an entrepreneurial mindset, a global vision and social commitment.
Was there any concern that it would dilute the 'Business School' brand?
A lot of thinking, deliberation and discussion went behind the decision. Further, we decided to enter only into those areas in which we were convinced that we could excel. We chalked out a clear charter for the next 15 years which not only involved the curriculum but also substantial tie-ups and partnerships with the lead institutes across the world.
What is the vision of the university?
An IE University education focuses on entrepreneurial vision, technological innovation and international mobility along with a hands-on experience. The idea is to produce global citizens, rather than producing graduates who are specialised in specific disciplines. With our university located in the 15th century monastery of Santa Cruz la Real, in the city of Segovia, a site that has been a crucible of different cultures and that embraces tolerance and knowledge, our vision goes beyond the given boundaries of academics and ignites the desire to explore.
The bachelor's degrees at the IE University are taught in English and Spanish. Our strength is an innovative blended methodology, which offers a classroom experience along with online modes of delivery in the fields of architecture, art history, biology, business administration, communication and psychology and tourism management.
What is special about the academic content of IE programmes?
Our programmes equip students to put their acquired knowledge into practice. Workshops and facilities at the university include the applied psychology centre, art rooms, biology laboratories, digital editing rooms and the language centre to mention a few. The university aims to be responsive to the contemporary needs and values of the global market. The learning process encourages leadership and humanistic skills in our students through the core IE module, which includes key areas such as business leadership, interpersonal skills, ethics and humanities.
Do you have any plans to launch an overseas campus in India?
We do not disregard the possibility of entering India in the future. But, we believe that every country has its own specific needs. In order to target the ideal market in India, we would rather go for strategic alliances. In the next couple of years, we may work towards blended programmes - with face-to-face periods in India and online modules.