Comparing IE University (Spain) and Bocconi University (Italy)

If you are a student from the U.S., or an international student looking for a great college experience in Europe, consider IE University in Segovia, Spain or Bocconi University in Milan, Italy.  Bocconi has traditionally been considered a top European business school, and Milan offers a rich cultural backdrop for your studies. While all that is true, my visit to IE last year impressed me.  IE’s diverse student body, fantastic modern facilities, and dynamic programs have created a real buzz.  The interview is an intricate part of their application and will only become more critical as interest grows.  I have had students apply to both universities in recent years.  They have delighted in the opportunity to acquire a top-notch education while immersing themselves in Italian and Spanish cultures. 


What they say about themselves:

IE University


IE University:

“To say our student body is dynamic is an understatement. Every year, we welcome students from all corners of the globe, and their diverse aspirations, ambitions, and ideas contribute to our innovative and collaborative environment.
“IE University students have a global mindset and are motivated by their personal and professional goals. And it’s this drive for entrepreneurship and creativity that inspires students to leave a positive impact wherever they go.”


Bocconi University:
“Our campus is a lively, multicultural, and safe place near the city center. The dynamic pace of university life pulses through historic and ultra-new spaces alike. And in 2021, we added a new sports center and a campus green. Your university years aren’t only about studying. Bocconi and Milan offer culture, sports, art, and ideas to make your experience here an exciting and essential part of your personal and professional growth. Bocconi helps you get oriented on campus, enhance your abilities, discover new ones, and gain awareness about your lifestyle.”  

Students at IE University often mention the dynamic and diverse learning environment as a standout aspect of their experience. Professors emphasize practical learning, real-world applications, and the opportunity to collaborate with classmates from around the world. Given its locations in Madrid and Segovia, students can take advantage of the school’s strong connections to industry professionals, which helps them gain valuable insights and networking opportunities. The university focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation, as it encourages students to think creatively and develop a proactive mindset.

Students at Bocconi University often speak highly of the university’s strong academic reputation, particularly in business, economics, and social sciences. The school offers a rigorous curriculum, which is designed to provide students with a solid theoretical foundation and practical skills. An engaging faculty who are experts in their respective fields offers students the chance to participate in research projects or internships. Bocconi’s location in Milan also offers students access to a vibrant business and cultural hub.

IE University has two main campuses: one in Segovia and another in Madrid. The campuses have some differences in terms of location and offerings:

Segovia Campus:

  • Location: Located in the historic city of Segovia, about an hour’s drive from Madrid, this campus offers a picturesque and serene environment. You can’t miss the Roman Aqueduct or the Alcázar.
  • Campus Setting: The Segovia campus is known for its beautiful architecture, including a blend of historic and modern buildings. Think converted historic convents and monasteries.
  • Programs: This campus offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs in various fields, including business, international relations, law, architecture, design, and more.
  • Community: The smaller campus size contributes to a close-knit community where students and faculty interact more closely.

Madrid Campus:

  • Location: Situated in the heart of Spain’s capital city, the Madrid campus provides students with access to a bustling urban environment. Students are just a bus/metro ride away from the Puerta del Sol, La Plaza Mayor, or El Retiro park.
  • Campus Setting: The campus facilities in Madrid are modern and well-equipped, offering a vibrant and cosmopolitan atmosphere. The vertical campus is a unique concept and one of the only settings of its kind in the world.
  • Programs: Similar to the Segovia campus, the Madrid campus offers a diverse array of programs with a focus on business, innovation, arts, communication, and social sciences.
  • Networking: The Madrid campus benefits from its location in a major business and cultural hub, offering students more networking and internship opportunities.

Both campuses provide a unique experience, and the choice between them depends on a student’s preferred location, program offerings, campus size, and the kind of environment they would thrive in.

Bocconi University’s campus in Milan is known for several highlights:

  • Modern Facilities: The campus boasts modern and well-equipped facilities, including state-of-the-art lecture halls, research centers, libraries, and study spaces.
  • Central Location: Situated in the heart of Milan, the campus offers easy access to the city’s vibrant business, cultural, and social scenes. This central location provides students with opportunities for internships, networking, and cultural experiences.
  • Global Community: Bocconi is known for its diverse student body and international atmosphere. Students have the chance to interact with peers from all over the world, fostering a rich cross-cultural learning environment.

Final thoughts:

            IE University:

  • New majors announced over the past several months:Bachelor in Environmental Sciences for Sustainability
  • Preparing the Next Generation of Experts for the Green Industrial Revolution.
  • Bachelor in Fashion Design
  • IE University Behavior Lab: The Behavior Lab is a unique initiative designed to offer students a practical way to apply their knowledge to real business settings.


  • Offers three-year undergraduate courses in Economics which share a common basis in the first three semesters and then distinguish themselves from one another by focusing on either Finance, Social Sciences, or Business Administration.
  • Research Opportunities: The university is actively involved in research, and students have the chance to participate in research projects and gain exposure to cutting-edge academic work.
  • Networking Events: Bocconi frequently hosts events, seminars, and conferences that bring together students, faculty, industry professionals, and thought leaders, creating ample networking opportunities.

About The Author

Tony Lambert, M.A.