Written on March 30, 2012 by Banafsheh Farhangmehr in Arts & Cultures & Societies

From March 27th to March 30th 2012, IE University’s Junior Advisory Board will hold its fourth annual meeting. Founded in 2009, organized and promoted by IE School of Arts and Humanities, Junior Advisory Board is a highly selective group of pre-university students, aged from 16 to 18, who advise IE University about the future of university education.

How did you hear about JAB and what motivated you to take part in it?

I first heard of  IE university on Munich university fairs, and after some conversations with the university representatives I started to research more and found the link to the JAB on the university‘s homepage. I read the description and immediately thought: „This is exactly what I want to do!“ What I most liked about the idea of being part of the Junior Advisory Board – apart from staying at IE campus and having the best opportunity to get to know the university as high school student – was that I could talk about my own thoughts and point out important issues for the future of education, both to a rather great audience! It is an honour for me to be selected as one of the members.

What is the greatest challenge you are looking forward to on your future university?

I am excited for the whole experience of being a university student. I can‘t wait to meet new people, form a team and learn from each other. I want to study a lot, get good grades and do my best in exams, but I actually think that developing as a person might be the most important challenge while staying at university. Each graduate has to have this critical point of view, replenished by cultural understanding and innovative spirit. I can‘t wait to participate in hands-on projects, do internships and face up to tricky tasks. Even failing can keep you moving and sometimes makes you understand better than when everything works out after trying once. I can only imagine that university won‘t always be easy and there will be many situations where I‘ll have to go to my limit; nevertheless, I am really looking forward to do so and grow for myself during that period of life!

Which aspects of your chosen university career interest you most and why?

I want to experience the internationality of our world and find out more about different cultures, religions and social backgrounds. I would also love to comprehend the values there are in our society these days and the complexity of its permanent change. Especially the relation between politics and economy interests me; the recent financial crisis has shown how much our future depends on an adequate interaction of both. I would be proud to be a part of that developing process and contribute to change. During my university time, I want to learn about ways to make my ideas come reality: How can I start my own business, what options do I have to fulfil my goals and which principles apply operating in an international context?

What particular qualities do you believe a future leader should have?

Being a class representative, I often felt how easily some small failures can make a group want to give up and of what importance it is to keep each member motivated until the end. I needed to find a way to inspire the team by my ideas and organise the process of solving our issues. Another thing I learned was how to put my personal interests second and actually represent my classmates‘ opinion. A good leader has to be there for his team and at the same time coordinate all tasks he needs to approach set targets. Therefore he must be open-minded and ready to go new ways. Every entrepreneur will need the right mix of courage, endurance, creativity and respect. In our days you must not only think of how to maximise profit for yourself – minimising potential damage to others, most often the less privileged, is also a question of immense importance! I wish for the leaders of our society to show moral responsibility and not only act for selfish interests. I‘m sure that on that base, many great global solutions can be developed.

What do you find most valuable when choosing your university?

Staying in my city after graduating from high school, I could receive a decent college education. But I want to be challenged, going to university in the city I was born would sort of feel like going the easy way.

I don‘t believe in the standard system of listening to huge lectures among hundreds of other students and afterwards be tested by multiply choice questions. The studying process to me  consists of so much more than just learning facts and formulas by heart; it is about actually understanding all subjects in a larger context. I want to be able to question, to think for myself and  draw conclusions beyond the obvious.  A good learning environment allows the confrontation with strong minds and arguments and at the same time permits the freedom to develop personal approaches. I believe that small classes and an institution that encourages every single student as an individual would offer perfect conditions to improve my particular skills and provide the best preparation for the future.

I know that the students I will get to know at IE have outstanding skills, an interesting personality and worked hard to get into the school. It would be great to study among a this group of people who are gifted and motivated to achieve something special in University and life



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