Jose Garcia Alamar
Jose Garcia Alamar
About me

I’m a normal guy from Valencia, but I’m very lucky because I have a job that I love. I have a lot of passion for it and I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to work on important projects with Norman Foster, who actually inspired me to look at architecture in my own way—from a business perspective.

Jose Garcia Alamar
Master’s student
Valencia, Spain
Master in Business for Architecture and Design
Jose Garcia Alamar

"Maybe it's not possible, but what if I try?"

Jose Garcia Alamar

Jose always saw himself working in architecture, an ambition that his father encouraged at every step of the way. The architecture and design industry was thriving when Jose began his undergraduate architectural studies, but that soon changed in his final year of university when he found there was no work for architects. The market had crashed and Jose needed to move with the times to avoid getting left behind. He decided to refocus his skill set on business, but didn’t want to abandon his passion for design. That’s where IE University came in with the Master in Business for Architecture and Design—it was the perfect combination.

Although Jose’s program typically required at least two years of work experience, he decided to apply anyway. He’d tried all the traditional avenues to finding work experience, but looking back on what he’d already achieved, he decided it was time to reframe his existing achievements and experiences to get where he wanted to be.

During his bachelor’s program, he’d got involved in every extracurricular opportunity that came his way, including any opportunity to exercise his design skills. In fact, he took part in a project where students designed and built a prototype house over the course of two years. So when it came to applying to IE University, Jose made his case in the interview and highlighted how much he had learned through this student-led project, with the result that it was accepted as his required work experience. It just goes to demonstrate Jose’s philosophy that “You won’t win the lottery if you don’t buy the ticket. You’ve got to start taking the small steps that will take you places.”

Once Jose was accepted into the program of his dreams and learning new things every day, he was also building up his professional network. Jose was one of the youngest members of his cohort, with the other students being more established professionals with greater experience. However, this worked in Jose’s favor. Having collaborated on numerous projects and homework, Jose became close friends with an employee at Foster and Partners. His friend, impressed by Jose’s work ethic and way of approaching tasks, subsequently offered him the chance to apply for a role and to learn more about the company. A few weeks later, Jose was working as an employee of Foster and Partners himself alongside his master’s program at IE University. He’s since worked his way up from architect to associate and now to associate partner.

Even a decade after his program, Jose still maintains contact with his professors and the rest of his cohort. He’s a great example of how to make the most of the IE Alumni network. 

“The best thing you’re going to get is the people you study with.”

Happy in his role and learning every day, Jose has been at Foster and Partners for over 13 years. During his career, he’s worked with many different people from a variety of departments. He credits his ability to communicate with such a range of people to his time at IE University. Immersed in such a diverse student body, Jose learned how to communicate effectively with people of different cultures, backgrounds and disciplines, translating his ideas into terms that will truly resonate with them.

Thanks to his success at Foster and Partners, Jose now works on large projects, including the residential high-rise South Quay Plaza in London and the 50 Hudson Yards office in Manhattan, New York City. While these are huge projects, Jose finds the beauty in the details and enjoys focusing on every aspect down to the millimeter to achieve the best result for the client—it’s what he and his firm call “pizzazz,” that extra wow factor. For example, at 50 Hudson Yards, the design team has incorporated reflections of New York City’s iconic skyline to blend the building with its stunning surroundings. After all, Jose believes that architecture is about people, so designs should always include certain considerations.

Being such an established studio, Foster and Partners also look to have a positive impact on their work. They have outlined special areas to consider in their designs that match up with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, making sure their designs are as green as possible. Jose particularly values the studio’s approach to sustainability, noting esteemed architect and designer Norman Foster’s words that “architecture is too important to be left to architects alone.”

Jose has the chance to incorporate his knowledge and skills from IE University into his designs and professional approach every day. He is constantly innovating through his diverse experiences and truly exemplifies the IE University spirit. Working with such a range of people throughout his academic and professional career has helped Jose climb the ranks at Foster and Partners, learning how to best manage people from different departments who each have different priorities and approaches by providing him with a global vision of the industry.

Jose’s advice to incoming students is: “Do what inspires you the most. If you really want to do something, you need to find your way to do it.” Without these words guiding Jose through his initial application, he wouldn’t be where he is today. He explains, “The first rule of architecture is to get the job, a job that pays well, helps you win more work and inspires you,” adding that students should always “try and find the story in the projects that you work on.”

Jose also notes the importance of having a positive attitude to success, no matter what field students may go into: “Whatever experience you have is multiplied by the attitude you bring in. You may not have all the skills yet, but as long as you come with the right attitude, you’re talented.”