Student Life


IE University’s School of Humanities kicks off learning with an exciting start, hosting several high-profile speakers who shared eye-opening lessons from their diverse yet impactful careers.

4 min read

Our groundbreaking new school, IE School of Humanities, aims to equip future visionaries, changemakers and critical thinkers to address the challenges of emerging technologies and our increasingly complex digital world. We see the humanities not as abstract academic theory, but as vital to how we shape society, now and in the future.

In addition to our global network of collaborators—including distinguished names such as UNESCO and the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum—IE School of Humanities is proud to welcome guest speakers from various backgrounds and sectors. Recently, we invited industry leaders Kelly Vero, Adriano Picinati di Torcello and Serena Cattaneo Adorno to share their experiences and insights with our students. We spoke to them about their careers, the classes they have taught and how the topics they covered connect to real-world application of the humanities.

Digital assets for the real world

Kelly Vero is a game developer with 30 years of experience in the games industry worldwide. She’s also the CEO of NAK3D, a company connecting the fashion and gaming industries with new markets.

Kelly is one of the world’s leading speakers on non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse. After all, she created the first-ever international NFT standard for trading art and luxury. Through her course, The Price of Art: Digital Asset Classes for Gen Z, she hoped to help students understand both the processes and technologies behind the development of “solid use and business cases for end users and products.”

“The world of commerce in all its guises should first and foremost be something that empassions, enlightens and that we enjoy.” – Kelly Vero

IE School of Humanities guest speakers inspire the next generation of changemakers

The key message from her class is that, with the right tools, students can effectively measure and predict value. But she also emphasizes that true value lies in workflows, with concepts such as “digital twins” growing more popular due to their success in boosting efficiency. Kelly encourages students to find their niche in the fast-evolving digital space “which is still forming,” where current practices are becoming increasingly outdated and the potential for growth is endless.

Where art and finance intersect

Adriano Picinati di Torcello has been in charge of the Art & Finance initiative at Deloitte since its inception in 2008. It aims to foster collaboration between stakeholders in the worlds of art, business, finance and culture. Adriano also initiated the International Deloitte Art & Finance Conference, an annual forum that has since become the “benchmark event” for the industry.

By providing more transparency and awareness around motivations, obstacles, needs and drivers in the art and finance industry, we can catalyze and improve dialogue between stakeholders, inspire new models and solutions, and amplify the role and importance of culture in improving our lives and society. – Adriano Picinati di Torcello

For his class, Adriano introduced students to the professional side of art and wealth management.

IE School of Humanities guest speakers inspire the next generation of changemakers

“Fine art and collectible assets embody heritage, possessing emotional, cultural and financial significance.”

By exploring the synergies between art and finance, students were able to gain a deeper understanding of the ecosystem. 

Adriano sees Art & Finance as a topic with roots in the humanities, but one that is often overlooked in humanities discourse. In sharing his personal and professional journey, his goal is to prove just how relevant it is to daily life and, hopefully, inspire students to pursue their passion in this area. “Analyze, read, network and develop your own value proposition to maximize your chance of success,” he states, adding, “Always continue to learn and believe in yourself.”

A peek into the world of art galleries

Serena Cattaneo Adorno is the founding director of Gagosian Paris, Gagosian Le Bourget and Gagosian Castiglione—all renowned art galleries in various locations across France. She started working at Gagosian in 2003 and, since then, has curated numerous shows and critically acclaimed exhibitions.

Serena has also helped to organize several exhibitions showing works from one of the world’s most celebrated artists, Pablo Picasso; and was involved in the installation of the Cy Twombley ceiling at the Louvre. She works closely with many top artists and is currently immersed in several projects.

In addition to an overview of the Gagosian’s history and structure, Serena’s lecture focused specifically on their efforts in Paris over the last decade. With branches around the world, she explained what makes each the perfect Gagosian location, addressing important features such as their architectural style and identity.

I hope to have given some interesting insights into the world of art galleries, which sometimes can seem sort of mysterious from the outside, and maybe to have inspired someone to pursue a career in this field! – Serena Cattaneo Adorno

The main theme of the course, Serena says, was to highlight just how important artists are to the success of an international art gallery. “Every decision, every project—even the sales—are meant to pursue the best interests of our artists. Knowing their creative process, their path and their references is a crucial part of our work, from which everything else starts.”

Serena stresses that the content of her talk was the result of her lived experiences, which she’s now keen to share with the new generation. She advises students to go to as many exhibitions as they can, learn more about what they’re passionate about and, most importantly,

“don’t be afraid to ask questions and get involved!”

IE School of Humanities guest speakers inspire the next generation of changemakers

A bright future in the humanities

Accomplished guest speakers like this bring new energy to IE School of Humanities. Their achievements and years of industry experience motivate our students to explore the potential of the vibrant, growing humanities field and discover new possibilities in a range of career paths.