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THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

An interview
with Norman Kurtis

Vice Dean, IE School of
Human Sciences and Technology

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

An interview

with Norman Kurtis
Vice Dean, IE School
of Human Sciences
and Technology

“This makes them more aware of their career options and helps them decide what they want to do in the future”

Why is the study of behavior important for societies and organizations?
Human behavior can have an impact on many levels. At a societal level, it’s very important for governments and institutions to understand why people behave the way they do. If they want to change that behavior, they need to design policies and communicate them in a way that helps people interpret and implement them to achieve the desired result.

 

At the organizational level, the study of behavior can apply to many different areas within a company. For example, when a company undergoes technological change or a digital transformation, one of the key barriers is culture.

 

Whether people adopt technologies or not depends on how the changes are communicated to them, and behavior experts are critical to understanding this and influencing those changes.

Norman Kurtis, Vice Dean, IE School of Human Sciences and Technology.

“Human behavior can have an impact on many levels. At a societal level, it’s very important for governments and institutions to understand why people behave the way they do.”

What is the goal of the new program at IE University?
Its fundamental purpose is to help students understand why people do the things they do, why they behave the way they behave, and to learn how to change how people think and behave in order to achieve an objective.

 

What makes this program unique?
We look at behavior from a variety of perspectives; using a range of social science disciplines as well as tools and methodologies. The social sciences provide a foundation for our students and disciplines including psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, law, economics and business provide a lens to better understand human behavior.

 

It is also important for students to understand how to conduct and analyze quantitative and qualitative analyses. Additionally, they need communication skills to influence and persuade people, to change how they think and change their behavior. In both the first and fourth years of our program, students work with people from other degree programs in cross-bachelor teams.

 

Finally, what really stands out in this program is the real-world application. We take a practical approach that lets students apply what they’ve learned and experience real projects within real companies.

Students actively engage during classes.

How is the program structured?
In the first year, the students build a foundation and study with students from other programs at the School of Human Sciences and Technology. They learn the key elements of the study of behavior, the social sciences, and data analysis. The second and third years are the core years of the program.

 

Students learn quantitative and qualitative analysis, as well as essential social science courses to help deepen their understanding of human behavior in different domains. They also practice high-impact communication skills for influence and persuasion. In the fourth year, we focus on real-world applications in companies and markets, as well as advanced topics. Students get a view of key sectors, such as consumer markets, health, sustainability and the environment, and customer experience.

 

They learn how these sectors work, and then have the chance to apply their knowledge. This makes them more aware of their career options and helps them decide what they want to do in the future.

What kinds of career opportunities are available to graduates
Behavior experts can be employed in many areas and in many different companies. For example, they might work in marketing or advertising to help design ad campaigns or social media impact strategies. They could work in human resources, using their expertise to develop talent, to coach employees, or to affect policy.

 

They may work as a research analyst, for the government or internally within an organization gathering and analyzing data to help understand and influence behavior. They might work for an NGO, or for a public institution that wants to change how people behave on a societal scale.

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