“The Master’s in Real Estate Development trained and strengthened my confidence, shaping my future involvement in leadership roles outside my comfort zone, and taught me how to best communicate and engage with the key stakeholders involved in city-making.”

Simon, Belgium

Master in Real Estate Development

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Simon Abboud

About me

I’m an architect by trade, and I’ve always been interested in challenging the status quo. My long-held ambition is a reflection of that: I want to have an impact on how we perceive and construct better cities. The Master’s in Real Estate Development was exactly what I was looking for—its anti-disciplinary nature was an unconventional and positive twist on traditional city development programs.

Simon Abboud, Belgium


Venture Associate at Plug and Play

Since graduating from IE School of Architecture and Design, Simon has become a Venture Associate at Plug and Play, heading the Silicon Valley Real Estate and Construction Innovation Department. This role comes with many responsibilities, including supporting 400 of the biggest international corporations with their Corporate Innovation strategies, running accelerator programs and investing in the most innovative startups in the Smart City space, to name but a few.

He credits his personal and professional success to the program, echoing the positive impact he still feels today. On a personal note, Simon explained how his role as a Representative of the School of Architecture & Design in the Graduate Student Government (SLT) helped him to train and strengthen his confidence as a community leader. In addition to sharpening his public speaking skills, he also learned how to interact with experts from a wide range of fields, to which he attributes the fact that he is now more comfortable taking on leadership roles within initiatives outside of his comfort zone, such as dealing directly with C-level executives.

One of Simon’s main reasons for choosing IE University was the faculty.

He described feeling particularly drawn to the executive nature of the academic team, consisting of CEOs and directors of prestigious international institutions. Not only did they teach him the subject matter, but he also developed a profound understanding of how the transfer of knowledge becomes a great deal more impactful when it’s the fruit of passion and genuine conviction.

In addition to being thoroughly impressed with the teaching staff, Simon was also pleased to develop a diverse network of international professionals from backgrounds as unlikely as the Venture Capital, Automotive and Agribusiness industries, among others. He mentioned that had he not participated in the program, he certainly wouldn’t have been able to develop such meaningful connections, let alone form strong relationships with them.

For his Capstone project, Simon worked on a team with a vision to shape a unique initiative in the city of Madrid. Their aim was to create a resilient real estate development project that generated urban cohesion and a sense of community, respecting the values of the past and combining the best future-focused services. This was accomplished by fusing the concepts of multi-generational co-housing with businesses in order to create a new urban social dynamic through mixed-use planning.

From among the best-practices he accumulated during his time at IE, Simon advises new students starting the program to adopt and maintain a committed, positive and passionate attitude, right from day one. This can-do attitude will help students create the “dots” that Steve Jobs referred to in his famous 2005 Stanford commencement address, which they will then be able to be connect at a later stage in their careers.