Why MBA: IE Business School – Spain

Written on October 18, 2014 by IMBA News in News








Before starting an MBA program, Sokho Trinh worked for the global retail giant Carrefour in Europe and in Asia, as head of internet marketing and new media. He helped the business reach annual sales of €100 million, a year-on-year increase of 35%.

After graduating from Spain’s IE Business School, he co-founded an online start-up – deparz.com – with three co-founders in 2011. He ran the business, a marketplace that connected mobility advisors with people who needed help moving and settling down in London, for more than three years.

But he left to work at Aimia, a publically traded company which helps businesses launch and run loyalty programs, focused on the retail sector in EMEA and APAC.

He has just moved into a business development role in analytics and research at Genpact, a global IT services company that is listed on the NYSE.

Sokho, who is French-born Cambodian Chinese, says that his MBA gave him the confidence to take on global challenges, and has helped him land jobs ever since.

Why did you decide to begin an MBA program?

I felt like I needed to take my career to the next level, or to do something completely different such as launching my own company which I have always wanted to do. In both cases, I wanted to improve myself and move forward.

What made IE Business School, and Spain, attractive?

I wanted an MBA from a top-10 [business school], which would not take more than a year because of the investment and the opportunity cost of not working, and [a school] located in an attractive city – Madrid is a stunning place, I speak Spanish and who doesn’t love tapas?

You took an exchange to ESSEC Business School – did you benefit?

Yes – it increased my network, and it is helping me when I want to do business with French clients. ESSEC is a really well-regarded business school in France and in Europe. It is also a global reference when it comes to luxury management.

What value do you now place in your MBA?

Above all, this MBA at IE gave me more faith in myself to accomplish big things in a global, complex, and constantly changing environment. I learned a lot in finance, entrepreneurship [and] strategy, among other courses. In addition, I leveraged my network internationally.

It may have [also] contributed in the selection process to join Genpact – I have been told that they knew the value of an MBA from IE Business School.

You rose through the ranks at Carrefour to head of internet marketing and new media – how much of an impact did those areas have on the business?

I worked in the financial services and insurance division at Carrefour which accounted for about a fifth of the company’s profitability. Heading the internet and new media sales channel was a big responsibility, and represented a major part of the company, with massive growth potential.

Why did you leave to found Deparz in 2011? What success did you have with the business?

I was granted educational leave to study my MBA which I accepted with the idea to potentially get back to Carrefour [in] a more senior, international role.

However, I was surrounded by many entrepreneurial spirits [on the MBA] and eventually realised that I wanted to give it a try, and therefore I co-launched Deparz.

Even though it has not reached its full potential, I sense that this start-up experience has been the best thing that could have happened. I will try again in the future.

You then joined Aimia and have now joined Genpact – how influential was an MBA in securing these roles?

I would say that my MBA has had a [hand] in securing my roles at Aimia and at Genpact.

The MBA was a “cherry on the cake”. It gave confidence to my employers. Because they knew that IE had a top-tier international MBA, it gave them even more confidence to recruit me.

What are the main challenges that the retail industry currently faces?

The retail industry currently faces several hot issues: first, the vast amount of data which companies don’t really know how to deal with.

Second, in many countries, omni-channel [retailing] is becoming a reality and retailers need to understand how to cope with it.

Finally, we are witnessing the arrival of innovative concepts which retailers need to understand, digest, and learn to adapt [to] – for example, virtual shops.

What difficulties have you faced in expanding in EMEA and APAC at Aimia?

To define the right market entry strategy is the toughest exercise. Also, the nature of my role requires long and complex sales cycles with multiple senior stakeholders, which increases the complexity of the expansion in EMEA and APAC when you are based in one location only.

Once you have signed a contract with a client, to find and place the right people to work for [or] with our clients abroad is a real challenge.

Do you feel the MBA is beneficial in your day-to-day work life at Aimia and at Genpact?

Yes – I still use some of the things I learned during the MBA such as finance and strategy. Also, I can tap into my global network to access market information.

During my business trips there is nothing better than feeling [at] home – no matter where I go I end up having a drink with an alumnus of IE Business School.



You never know too much

Written on October 14, 2014 by IMBA News in News

Finance professor Francisco López-Lubián is as passionate about finance as he is about the cinema. By the way, he’s not only a finance professor, he’s actually the head of the finance area at IE Business School. He’s also worked for the finance industry for quite some time. But most of all he just loves films.
That’s why we decided to cast him as the main character in a finance crime movie entitled “You Never Know Too Much,” as you can see in this trailer for the film. Don´t miss his references to films like The Godfather, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, or Amores Perros, not to mention The man who knew too much… Enjoy.
P.S. For a finance bio of Prof. López-Lubian please click here




Ugo Ogwo is currently the Head of Demand Forecasting for West Africa at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer. In this role, she ensures Supply meets Demand for all product portfolios across all markets in West Africa. She has improved forecast accuracy from averages of 60s to very high 70s. She also acts as the hinge for new product launches and new market entries. Ugo received her Bachelor’s from the University of Nigeria Nsukka in Electrical Engineering and a Master in Telecommunications Engineering from the same university.

After her 7+ years career in the Telecommunication Industry, Ugo decided it was time for a change of Industry and enrolled in the International MBA program at IE Business School as a platform to initiate the switch and to broaden her business acumen with international perspective.

In addition to learning at IE, Ugo was actively involved with the IE Africa Club and was eventually elected the president of the club. During her tenure as president, she hosted the first Africa business event at IE which brought together Africa diplomatic community in Madrid as well as different stakeholders with business interest in Africa.

Her time at IE (April 2010 – May 2011)  was life transforming; to put it in her own words ‘‘IE changed my life; the ‘me’ that went to IE is different from me that returned’’. The experiences at IE including her Consulting Intern experience with Legal Resources Centre Johannesburg in South Africa were very instrumental in securing a place at GSK and have been of immense benefit as she settles and grows in the Fast Moving Consumer Health Care Industry.




Todays’ Companies: Grupo SanJose, Qualitas Auto, Lidl, P&G, Everis, UNFPA, Source, Syngenta, Novartis, Sandhills East, BTS, Nestlé, Cumbria, FSC, Vodafone, Altadis – Imperial Tobacco, Accenture, PwC, Strategy&, Gas Natural Fenosa, Avon.

Besides their presence at the Career Fair stands, the following companies will also have on campus presentations: British Petroleum, L’Oréal, Novartis, ALTADIS – Imperial Tobacco Group, Syngenta and Lidl.

Visit us @ Serrano 99!





Key Dates to Remember for the IMBA April 2015 Intake

Written on October 7, 2014 by IMBA News in News

Please take out your agendas, personal planners and calendars to update the key dates for the International MBA Program that starts in April 2015:

  • Opening Ceremony: April 28th 2015
  • LAUNCH: April 29th until May 8th 2015
  • Term 1: May 11th until July 27 2015
  • Term 2: August 26th until November 13th 2015
  • Electives: January 7th until April 15th 2016
  • Integrative Final Exercise: April 18th until April 28th 2016
  • Graduation: April 29th 2016

Please remember that IE has a rolling admissions process which means that there are no explicit application deadlines. 


Preparad vuestras agendas personales o calendarios para actualizar las fechas claves del International MBA Program que empieza en abril 2015:

  • Ceremonia de Apertura: 28 de abril 2015
  • LAUNCH: 29 de abril al 8 bde mayo 2015
  • Term 1: 11 de mayo al 27 de julio 2015
  • Term 2: 26 de agosto al 13 de noviembre 2015
  • Electivas: 7 de enero al 15 de abril 2016
  • Integrative Final Exercise: del 18 al 28 de abril 2016
  • Graduación: 29 de abril 2016

No olvides que nuestro proceso de admisión es continuo, es decir, no tenemos fecha límite de solicitud para ninguna de las dos convocatorias anuales.


Q1. What did you do before the IE IMBA program?

I have varied experiences in different domains such as Production & Industrial, IT, Telecom research, Analysis, trading and Entrepreneurship (Construction). During my Engineering course, I designed and fabricated a Super-Mileage vehicle for a competition held in USA, and garnered finance for the project. My team won two awards for our country. In appreciation for my good performance in the project, I was selected to undergo training in Rolls Royce for the Six Sigma program. Despite having no knowledge of Information Technology, I joined Infosys and got a CGPA of 4.5 on the scale of 5. I joined Evalueserve.com as an Analyst and was staffed into an analysis project right away. I performed exceptionally well in the project. The project won the “The best Analysis Award”.1ee8cab

In order to gain hands on entrepreneurship experience I joined my uncle’s plastic raw material trading business, which my uncle was trying to establish in Ghaziabad. Due to my experience in analysis, I was able to correctly gauge the possible reasons of his firm’s non-performance in the  area. In addition to working in the capacity of Marketing Head (Ghaziabad), I devised an account maintenance system and took care of all the accounts myself. The revenue was shot up from nearly 0 to USD 1.5 million in 15 months. Encouraged by this experience, I formed my own real estate firm  and within two years my company completed two projects in two different states with an annual sales turnover of USD 1.8 million.

Dorothy Height once said, “Without community service, we would not have a strong quality of life. It’s important to the person who serves as well    as the recipient. It’s the way in which we ourselves grow and develop.”  Engaging in socially responsible activities has added greater relevance to    my existence.

Having learned about the dire need to save water from my father who works for Delhi Jal Board (Water Board), I have made concerted effort to do so at the personal level. Moreover, I joined the India Water Foundation and Pratham Memorial Trust and participated in various projects run by these privately run agencies to educate people about saving water. In a bid to save the environment from further degradation, I carried out a project as a Consultant in DHI Group. The project entailed building a green and smart city in Delhi/NCR region.

To educate people in rural areas, I associated myself with an Engineering College in Gajrola, U.P. I thoroughly enjoy my post of Executive member as it provides me a chance to interact with the college students. I share their experiences, queries, problems, and goals and try to help them in whichever way I can. I am also planning to introduce scholarship programs for financially poor students. I welcomed the opportunity to teach Math at an institute where I spent two fulfilling years teaching my favorite subject and in turn assimilating the fresh ideas of my students.      

I did all this while without neglecting my study, work or family; my mental strength made it all possible. By doing my bit, I have developed strength of character. I never lose faith in myself because I feel that  only if you have faith in yourself, can others have faith in you.

The learning curve developed through this exposure has invested me with the ability to distinguish myself in the experiential rigor of a world-class business school such as IE.

Q2. What made you decide to choose the IE IMBA program?

In order for me to look for greener pastures and enhance my knowledge base I decided to scour for world-class MBA programs. Initially I short-listed five B-schools but in the end chose IE’s IMBA program since it was a perfect fit between my expectations and an MBA’s offerings. According to me, IE IMBA program fosters creativity and promotes learning by ensuring culturally and functionally diverse class to enhance skills pertaining to decision-making, creativity, problem solving, and other leadership attributes.

Q3. What is your favorite part of IE’s IMBA program and/or club activity?

My favorite part of IE’s MBA program is the assortment of candidates from different regions, functions, qualifications and personalities. This unique amalgamation of students provides a unique opportunity for students who aspire to garner as much knowledge as possible during one year. The different perspective that one gets is imperative for a professional to hone his skills and become a complete manager. The other resplendent part of IE is its ability to congregate and encourage students to form clubs and manage them as per their discretion. The club meetings mean serious business when it comes to organizing important events such as IE Consulting day, IE Cricket tournament in MBAT etc. These events are managed and organized by students under the aegis of IE. 

The two traits mentioned above have the potential to elevate a student’s confidence by biblical proportions and enhance his personality to fight the daily rigors of a business environment.

Q4. What has your experience been so far?

My experience so far has been more than what I had expected before joining IE. I have made some long life friends, networked a lot, worked on different business ideas, explored many options for a career, learned a lot from students who have worked in different functions such as consulting, physiotherapy, CFA, pharmacy, marketing, supply chain, operations et al. The learning garnered has been stupendous and unparalleled. I have seen vagaries of life in Madrid. With friends, I have laughed at my miseries, cried at my achievements, hung out across Madrid, ate tapas and did so many unforgettable things. I will miss this experience once I step again into corporate world.

Q5. What are your future plans after IMBA?

As mentioned in my previous answers, I explored so many options during IMBA program. Initially I wanted to return to my business but now I have decided to start a new venture in Madrid with my friends. I am not at liberty to disclose the business venture details but can provide you with a heads-up that it is related with the growing obesity in people. We are targeting the health sector since people are becoming more and more health conscious every day. It is a very lucrative sector and the our belief has recently been reinforced by Apple’s launch of iPhone 6 and Apple watch that primarily focuses on health. I am hopeful that our venture will kick off with a boom.




Written on September 30, 2014 by IMBA News in News


An unforgettable Journey to Ethiopia

Written on September 23, 2014 by IMBA News in News

6In August, IE Professor Gayle Allard and IMBA Benedict Faber led a group of IMBA students to Ethiopia for the second year, to do volunteer work and research about doing business at the bottom of the pyramid. During their two weeks in the town of Zway, the students volunteered in a summer English program run by Salesian nuns, while visiting businesses to learn about the local environment and draft a business proposal for the region. Among the many surprises awaiting them was how many business opportunities they detected in a region where the average income is $1 a day and much basic infrastructure is nonexistent; and how rewarding it can be to engage with the warm, irrepressible Ethiopian children. A gift to the Salesian mission from the students and professors will help equip the school’s computer lab.







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To read about last year´s expedition click here.


Thinking about doing an internship?…

Written on September 16, 2014 by IMBA News in News

Current IMBA student Celine Salman from the USA

…Here are the top three reasons why I’m happy I did:

  • On a personal level:

Choosing to do an internship adds another layer to your personal development during your IMBA experience. The experience may lead to discovering a new city, meeting new people and establishing a new network. It also gives you the chance to make some personal discoveries, as you have the chance to take a step back and re-assess what you want out of your experience at IE. With some self-reflection in a new context, you may realize that there are certain student clubs you would like to be more involved in, that some electives may prove to be more beneficial for your career in the long run,  that there are some people you would really like to get to know better or that you would like to re-focus on discovering Madrid and learning Spanish. Temporarily detaching yourself from IE and re-submerging yourself back into the “real world” reminds you why you applied to business school and chose to attend IE to begin with, and what you want to get out of the experience before you graduate. You return with newly defined goals and renewed energy for the last four months ahead.

  • On a professional level:

Even though you have only been in school for seven months, temporarily jumping back into the professional world offers many benefits. First, your internship may prove to be a stepping stone to a full time career with the same company post-graduation. Second, the internship gives the opportunity to test out a new industry, role, city or company without a full time commitment. For those who want to test the waters, an internship gives you the perfect opportunity to help refine your professional goals without taking a big risk. Moreover, the opportunity to network first hand within the company, industry and your new context is priceless and can give you a big advantage when looking for jobs when you are back in Madrid.

  • It gives you a break:

After two intense terms and two challenge weeks, I would have had difficulties jumping right back into a new wave of learning. I commend my colleagues that succeeded but I know that myself and many of those that did the internship saw the period as an opportunity re-charge.

I spent my three months interning at Paramount Picture’s start-up hotel operating brand, Paramount Hotels & Resorts, in Dubai and I could not have been happier with the experience. I had the opportunity to re-focus my MBA goals, re-assess my career track, live and work in the city I want to be in post-graduation, create a strong relationship with my employer as well as expand my local network.

However, choosing to do an internship may not be the optimal track for all MBA students. Some may feel that they are too far along in their career to go back to being an intern, others want to absorb and immerse themselves as much as they can in the MBA experience and some may already have a strong idea of what their plans are post-graduation. In my opinion, pursuing an internship is beneficial to those interested in a career change, to those that are considering relocating or to those that may not have any idea yet of what they want post-graduation. IE offers many ways to customize your MBA journey and the IMBA in Practice is only one of the many options available to you.

Best of luck with your decision and feel free to contact me with any questions! – Celine



Life Beyond the Classroom

Written on September 12, 2014 by IMBA News in News

The IE Experience is way more than what goes on in the classrooms! Check out the video below to get an idea of the latitude of things that our students get involved in that complement their academic and professional experiences on campus to create memories that will turn their IE Experience into a truly unique one.

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Check out more information on what is currently happening on the IE campus, here!

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