SMU’s Guaranteed Global Experiences: Our Exchange Journey at IE University, Spain

By Nicholas Tan, Kunal Prayjot Doshi, S Arjun Kumar, Undergraduates, SMU School of Accountancy

At Singapore Management University (SMU), international mobility is deeply ingrained in its educational philosophy. This commitment is exemplified by the University’s provision of guaranteed global experiences to each and every of its students. Throughout the years, students have embarked on diverse and enriching experiences, spanning study missions, overseas exchanges, summer programmes, community service projects, and overseas internships, across a network of more than 180 cities in 45 countries.


Our exchange at IE University

A top business school in Europe, IE University is renowned for its student population made up of students with diverse backgrounds. As undergraduates from the SMU School of Accountancy, we chose to pursue our exchange at IE University in its Madrid campus, as it gave us an opportunity to work with students and professors from all around the globe.

The teaching style at IE University is similar to SMU’s – where emphasis is given to class participation and group projects. In terms of academic experience at IE, given our different majors, there were a variety of courses we enrolled in, ranging from data analytics to sustainable finance. It was an extremely enriching experience, enjoying the same seminar-style teaching pedagogy as SMU, yet different in terms of the types of projects and activities conducted in class.

For instance, in one of our courses “Internet of Things (IoT)”, we had the privilege of trying out AR/VR Oculus headsets to experience the metaverse, and better envision the potential and risks such IoT applications hold. There was also the opportunity to pick up basic Spanish as an exchange student, which was extremely helpful in our day-to-day activities in Madrid.

The student community at IE University is a diverse one made up of citizens from around the world. Being given the opportunity to interact with students from Germany, Italy, South Korea, the US, and many other nations was an eye-opening experience, and we discovered many cultural similarities and misconceptions we had of each other. The three of us also had the chance to travel together outside of Spain, to visit countries like Iceland and Finland. One thing we did have trouble getting used to though, was having our lunch and dinner at 2pm and 9pm respectively, as mealtimes are much later in Spain!


Travelling together across Europe


Joining the IE Stock Pitch Competition

As a renowned business school, IE conducts business competitions that provide a challenging and enriching platform to test our finance and stock-pitching skills. We were also drawn to the opportunity to compete against our European peers and better understand their perspectives and insights. Most importantly, the competition’s judging panel of industry veterans, made possible due to IE’s brand in the financial industry, convinced us that this would be a tremendous learning experience and a valuable chance to gain insightful feedback from these industry experts.

While preparing for the competition, we kept in mind the intensity of the challenge and the high calibre of its contestants. We were aware of the importance of time management and teamwork in delivering a strong and convincing pitch within the short period of time given. Given our history of working alongside each other, we knew that our team synergy and decisiveness would be the key ingredients for our pitch to stand out.

Even so, we could hardly contain our excitement when we eventually emerged Champion at the competition!


Pitching our stock at IE


A word of advice for juniors planning to embark on exchange

Going on an exchange programme is an opportunity to try things you have always wanted to do. Rather than staying in your comfort zone, push yourself to embrace new and unfamiliar challenges. Strike up conversations with people you meet while on exchange, be it on your travels or in school, and you’ll find that there is so much to learn about other cultures. If you’re lucky, you may even gain insights to what others think of you and Singapore, and get a chance to share with others what it means to be Singaporean as well.

Most importantly, have fun! This unique chance to travel for five months and embrace a carefree lifestyle in your youth may not come again. Seize this opportunity to forge lifelong friendships and create unforgettable memories – just as we did – and this too shall be one of the most incredible experiences of your life.



Ready to embark on a global accounting journey at the SMU School of Accountancy? Accept your offer now for an unrivalled education that combines international mobility and diverse experiences. Acceptance closes 24 May 2023!