Manuela Ruigómez Heredero | IE School of Architecture and Design

Manuela Ruigómez Heredero

About me

I come from a legal background and worked as a lawyer for a few years. When I was at university in Bangkok, I did an internship in a hotel company in the legal department. I loved all the real estate part and wanted to research a master’s program in this area—that’s what brought me to IE University.

shapeManuela Ruigómez Heredero
case2Master’s student
studentDual Degree Master in Management + Master in Real Estate Development
Manuela Ruigómez Heredero | IE School of Architecture and Design

“I think the most important part of the program was my colleagues, since they came from completely different backgrounds: architects and engineers, as well as lawyers and people from a business background.”

Manuela Ruigómez Heredero

From law to real estate: an international and interdisciplinary journey

Manuela Ruigómez Heredero | IE School of Architecture and Design

For Manuela Ruigómez Heredero, a dual degree presented the perfect opportunity to broaden  her horizons. She’d originally pursued a law degree and had worked as a lawyer for some years. While studying in Bangkok, she took up an internship in the legal department of a hotel company—and this was when she identified her desire to change career path. “I loved real estate,” she explains, “and I wanted to research a master’s degree in that area.”

Manuela soon discovered that IE University offered exactly what she was looking for. “The real estate master’s was perfect for me because it didn’t require any type of background in real estate and people from any background could join,” she notes. She was keen to extend her knowledge of the subject and the Dual Degree Master in Management + Master in Real Estate provided an ideal opportunity to pursue a new career in an area she had become passionate about. At the same time, the Master in Management would give her a strong foundation in business and allow her to explore the path she wanted to take.

The aspect of the program which best prepared Manuela for a new career in real estate was, she says, the diversity of her cohort. She found herself among classmates from different backgrounds—architects, engineers and business professionals as well as fellow lawyers—which allowed her to benefit from different perspectives and experience. It was, she says, a practical, hands-on experience, involving real-life examples of developments currently underway in Madrid. And, as someone new to the discipline, Manuela particularly appreciated the fact that she was able to “start from zero.”

The network of connections Manuela formed on the program also assisted her career progression. She was able to draw on the expertise of professionals in several different sectors within the field of real estate. Being able to ask an architect for information on construction or a financial expert about financial models, for example, were invaluable assets. “They asked me questions and I asked them questions constantly,” she emphasizes, adding that this exchange of knowledge and skills was one of the standout aspects of the program.

“The dual degree was a great option for me, because before starting the master’s, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do.”

Another highlight of the program for Manuela was the capstone project, where students put together their learnings from the program in order to develop a proposal for a real estate project. Her team was tasked with developing a real-life project for a mixed-use plot in front of the airport in Madrid. Here, she was able to apply everything she had learned in the program. “We had to design it, create the marketing campaign and contact a lot of potential clients, as well as undertake a financial study,” Manuela says.

Since graduating, Manuela’s career has gone from strength to strength. She’s fulfilled her main ambition to move into an area related to real estate and is now working in a graduate program at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, a world leader in shopping center management. There, she’s involved in different functions, including operations and performance management, allowing her to gain experience in several areas of real estate and discover where she wants to specialize.

A dual degree proved to be a “great option” for Manuela, since she didn’t really know the specific direction she wanted to take her career in before starting the program. For her, the benefit of the Dual Degree Master in Management + Master in Real Estate was that it combined a broad overview of management with the specifics of real estate, enabling her to develop transferable management skills alongside the real estate specialization she aimed to pursue, leading her to her current position. In her own words: “I don’t know where I’ll end up, but IE University helped me change my professional life.”