At IE University, our students’ purpose is our passion. To that end, we work relentlessly to ensure that our marketing, communication and sales students are passionate about their studies. That’s why we designed the Common Core period—a time to dive into a variety of subjects alongside students from different MARCOM programs.
Our Marketing, Communication and Sales programs are designed to give students a holistic view of the exciting and rapidly advancing industry they selected. Each program takes a deep dive into specific specializations, ranging from consumer behavior, customer experience, and digital media to branding and strategic communication. But first, students come together for the Common Core period.
An experience unlike any other, the Common Core period brings together students from all of our marketing, communication and sales programs to kick off their studies and provide the essential foundation for the rest of their academic experience. We recently sat down with master’s students Klara Smetisko and Fiza Anand to hear more about their experiences in the Common Core as students from different master’s programs.
Before their programs
With two very different backgrounds, Klara and Fiza met one another in the Common Core period of their respective master’s programs.
Born and raised in Croatia, Klara had previously studied a dual master’s in clinical phonetics and Slavic language translation and literature. She went on to work as a speech therapy assistant for one year and also worked in a PR agency before attending IE University. Ready for something new, Klara applied to the Master in Strategic Marketing and Communication.
All the way from India, Fiza joined IE University after earning her bachelor’s in psychology and spending four years working in marketing. A senior strategist in her company, Fiza knew she would reach a point in her life where she would want to pursue a master’s degree, but she wasn’t exactly sure which one. Then she found the perfect combination for a psychology student working in marketing: the Master in Market Research and Consumer Behavior.
A game-changing experience
The six-week common core period had a lasting effect on both Klara and Fiza, but in incredibly different ways. For Fiza, it solidified her decision and served as a kickstart back to the world of academics. And for Klara, it served as a time to realize that she wanted to find a way to improve the customer journey as a whole, similar to her work in helping young students improve their speech patterns. The Common Core period gave her new insights into customer experience: she decided to change her path completely and continue to specialize in the Master in Customer Experience and Innovation.
Klara explained that the program divided them into eight different groups, allowing her to study alongside students from her program, as well as students from all the other master’s programs in marketing, communication and sales.
“We get the foundations of everything from basic finance and customer experience to market research.”
Coming from four years in the world of work, Fiza was very certain about what she wanted to do. “But the Common Core period was very interesting because it allowed me to peek into all the other programs without going too in depth. It laid the foundations for the rest of my professional journey and prepared me to be able to understand someone in my profession who is talking about customer experience, for example. I will understand it because I’ve learned it.”
The practical approach was also key for both students. From presenting ideas of how to make the students’ experience in the cafeteria more efficient to working on actual projects and seeing the results of how others are affected by their changes, Klara and Fiza noted these hands-on projects as a highlight of the Common Core and of IE University’s approach as a whole.
A time for reflection
“I think the whole process of being in a group with people from different master’s programs was extremely interesting,” explains Fiza
“Now that we’ve moved to our specializations, the focus has shifted.” This shift in focus has allowed Fiza to experience a glimpse of what the world of work will look like. “In the Common Core, you’re teamed up with someone from creative direction and someone from strategic marketing, which gives a new perspective to our projects. A creative team member can tell me something about our presentation that I maybe wouldn’t have picked up on, whereas someone with more strategic focus offers something different.”
In their specialization, both students have seen the way the diversity in skills has changed, which mimics the working environment. “It’s very important to learn how to respect every background that your colleagues come from—it teaches you to bring out the best in everyone,” says Fiza. From cross-cultural communication skills to the art of patience and teamwork, Klara and Fiza both felt that the core period offered a strong foundation in all things marketing, communication and sales. Klara added that due to the Common Core period, her network vastly expanded.
“Whether it’s for guidance, advice or collaboration, I have built a network I can count on for a wide range of things.”
Klara and Fiza both closed their conversation by explaining how the Common Core brought out the best in them. Each student learned something new and unique and felt proud of the skills they gained with students from the other programs. The Common Core period served as a perfect transition into specialized studies for both Klara and Fiza, who are both thrilled to take the next step in their journeys.