“I always wanted to start my own business, but in a data-related field. IE University offered me the opportunity to pursue both my interests without sacrificing either.”

Abdul, Pakistan

Dual Degree in Business Administration + Data and Business Analytics

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Abdul Salam

About me

I am originally from Pakistan but moved to the US for a year when I was 15 on the Kennedy Lugar Youth Exchange & Study program. After completing this, I went to the United World College in the Netherlands to finish my International Baccalaureate high school diploma. I count this as one of my life’s biggest achievements because I was awarded a full scholarship to study there—one of only 15–20 Pakistani students who get the opportunity each year. From a young age, I’ve been eager to learn about different cultures. I believe they are fantastic ways to gain new perspectives on the world and help people overcome prejudice.

Abdul Salam, Pakistan


Undergraduate student

Chasing success by embracing challenges and questioning the status quo

Abdul was first drawn to IE University for two reasons: the tight-knit community and the program’s professional focus. These are both aspects that he credits with helping him on his educational journey. By working so closely with others, he is able to learn from their experiences, which provides him with an understanding of the world beyond the classroom. In this way, he’s able to benefit from the institution’s approach and learn to think like a professional alongside his classmates. He maintains that IE University encourages them to be efficient and analytical—not something every university is able to offer.

But there was also a more practical reason Abdul decided to enroll. A budding entrepreneur, he’s interested in starting his own business in a data-related field, whether in financial analysis or investment banking. By choosing this dual degree program, he was able to pursue both interests, without sacrificing either. He enjoys exploring the subjects he’s interested in from various perspectives, which he believes deepens his learning experience.

When not studying or developing his business idea, Abdul is very active on campus and describes his experience at IE University as adventurous. While he acknowledges there are lots of clubs and initiatives you can take part in, one in particular drew his interest: field hockey. He has wanted to play the sport for many years but only now has he had the chance to explore his passion.


But ever the innovator, Abdul didn’t just want to join a club—he wanted to found one. He joined the Student Government Academic Committee and started the “ieThink” initiative, which he hopes to build during his time at the university. He describes it as essentially a podcast or platform where the IE University community gets the opportunity to discuss their ideas and explore a broad spectrum of topics. He is also part of the Student Government as the advisor to the president and hopes to create more initiatives that will help the community tackle challenges that will arise after the pandemic.

The IE University community is something that Abdul holds very dear. He works so hard to give back partly because he gains so much from it. While he has experience in institutions around the world, he singles out IE University for its exceptional, student-oriented staff. Every professor and administrator he has come into contact with has been accomplished, brilliant, and eager to push you to achieve. He enjoys the conversations he has with the professors, both in class and out, and values the effort they put into developing students’ minds.

Between studies, clubs and sport, Abdul lives a busy life, but he does make sure to carve out a few hours for himself when possible. During the week, this may mean a trip to the gym, a board game with friends, or just chilling out and watching Netflix. The weekends, however, he keeps as free as possible to meet up with friends over brunch, read a book, or hike around the Segovia countryside.

As for the future, Abdul sees himself working as a financial analyst while pursuing his master’s. After that, he would like to start his own firm that champions both customer service and research to create a new banking system. He believes it’s time for the banking industry to evolve so it benefits people at large, and he thinks it’s healthy to question the status quo. But in the end, Abdul is a realist, and he knows it may take time to achieve his ambitions. He understands the importance of embracing challenges and even hardship, something his favorite quote constantly reminds him of: “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”