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Elsa Arnaiz Chico

Alumni Story

Elsa Arnaiz comes from Burgos, a small city in Spain. Currently, she is based in Madrid, pursuing a Master in Big Data and Business Analytics at IE. She is passionate about politics, public participation, and public innovation. Her goal is to empower younger generations through her start-up, Talento para el Futuro.
POSITION

Student MBD & Talento para el futuro

Nationality

Spanish

Program studied

LLB & BIR 2020

Current Location

Madrid, Spain

Q&A WITH ELSA

Could you tell us about your role at Talento para el Futuro?
I’m part of the executive board. Specifically, I’m the Alliances director. What this implies is that I’m the person responsible of managing our relationships with our partner organisations. Talento para el Futuro is a platform whose objective is to transform 1) the incoming generations into changemakers and 2) transform the disenfranchisement into policies and projects that will build tomorrow’s society. To summarize, we work towards empowering the younger generations. Right now, we are a very small team so even if I have a designated role, we all lend a hand in doing whatever is needed.

Why did you decide to do your Master?
During the last few months of my degree I was not sure what I wanted to do next after graduation. However, I managed to secure an internship with a public affairs consultancy. But when the COVID chaos broke out, the internship program was cancelled. At that moment I reflected on what skills I wanted to have and came to the conclusion that we always need to diversify our knowledge to be able to think out of the box.

Since I was quite confident that I did not want to pursue the lawyer route, I decided to look for a master’s degree that would challenge and excite me. I had been interested in big data for a while, even if it was more from the policy side. I researched for a bit and decided to hop into this challenge. I think the mix of skills that I acquired during my dual degree and the skills I will acquire after the master will allow me to be better prepared for pursuing a career focused on the innovation of public policies as well as social entrepreneurship.

How did your experience at IEU prepare you for your professional career?
The fact that IE has a strong focus on innovation and entrepreneurship made me less afraid to follow a different path than that of a typical law student. With such a volatile economy, we are all very keen to follow traditional jobs. However, thanks to the many resources and skills that IEU provided me, I was able to jump into the adventure of being an entrepreneur. If it wasn’t for IEU, I don’t think that I would have started working at Talento para el Futuro.

What is the competitive advantage that studying at IEU provides or has provided you?
The practical approach to my studies. This was not only present during each subject, but also because of the many competitions IEU organises. By applying your theoretical knowledge to practical situations constantly, you develop analytical and problem-solving skills that other universities lack. I also noticed at IE we are so exposed to public speaking that we learn to be less afraid and much more confident than other candidates, which is always a plus when trying to stand out during the job hunting process (and of course in all kinds of situations!)

Do you have any advice for IEU students and alumni who are looking to pursue further education?
Just go for it. In my opinion a lot of times we overthink too much, and we waste a lot of time and opportunities. If you are interested in that master, degree, bootcamp… just go for it! You will never regret learning more.

What skills do you consider are needed to succeed in your field?
I still don’t know what “my field” is, but in general terms I think that if you are into the social sciences field, you not only need good analytical and writing skills, but also data analytics. We tend to think that math is not for us, but once you start applying to research positions and dig deeper into the field, you understand how important data analytics and statistics are.

Tell us about the IEU alumni community and the impact they have had in your life and/or career.
The biggest impact has been while pursuing my master’s degree. When I was having doubts about applying to IE’s Master in Big Data and Business Analytics, I reached out to Eleanor Manley, a girl that I met during my BIR. Not only was she super kind and answered all my questions, she also offered her help whenever I needed it. I know that I can count on the IEU alumni community whenever I need advice or help with my start-up. Everyone is willing to help since they know the importance of building a strong network around you. After graduation we all take very different paths, but that does not mean that we should not stay close. There are so many synergies and opportunities to keep on learning and growing from our former classmates.

What skills would you recommend job seekers develop in order to make them more competitive in today’s workforce?
I would recommend the following:

  • To learn about design thinking methodologies. This allows you to think out of the box and provide companies with innovative ideas (no matter if you are in the field of law or business analytics, you will always need to step up your game).
  • As I mentioned before, it is very important to have fundamental knowledge of Python or Excel (if you do not like programming). These tools are more transversal than what many people think. For example, if we were to get a job in social sciences, we assume that we would be writing essays and reading papers all day, but there is a lot of data processing behind the case studies. If you do not understand what those bars in the graph mean, because you do not understand the math behind it, it will be very difficult to provide meaningful analysis to your research.
  • Lastly, I would recommend developing negotiation and public speaking skills. While you might not need these in an internship role, where you start with very “routine” and “administrative” tasks, these skills will help you in during the selection process and in your way up the company. The more confident you are with speaking in public and knowing how to catch others attention, the more probabilities you’ll have in getting that job or promotion.

What’s the best career advice you have ever been given?
Nobody really knows what they are doing. When you are a young adult and are looking for jobs or when you have to decide what your next steps are (e.g., master), you think that everyone has everything figured out. You tend to stress and to underestimate yourself. However, if you understand that a lot of the times people just pretend and are trying to figure out life in the same way as you, you can be more objective and see everything clearer.

If someone was considering going to IEU, what would you tell them?
I will tell them that it’s a decision that they won’t regret. IE University is more than just an academic institution, and if you take full advantage of it, you will be able to achieve whatever you want, especially if you are into entrepreneurship.

Why did you choose the LLB & BIR Dual Degree program at IE University?
I chose this dual degree because I wanted to have the best of both degrees. I was really interested in IR, but I believed that I needed the structure that law gave me. Similarly, I thought that if I studied a law degree, I would not get the philosophical and analytical part that IR provided. All-in-all, I believe that I got what I wanted. And I decided to go to IE because I wanted to study in English, and to be around international students, which are two factors that are impossible to find in a different university in Spain.

What is one thing you wished you knew, when you were a student?
That even if pushing yourself is great, you cannot forget to give your body and mind a break. You will not achieve anything if you are not able to enjoy the process and allow yourself to relax. If you want to give your best, you also need to rest!

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