Current IMBA Student Christopher from the US

Written on April 10, 2014 by IMBA News in News

Christopher Holman, a current IMBA Nov 2013 Intake student from the U.S. about his IE experience and focus

Current IMBA student Christopher Holman from the U.S. answers some questions about his IE Experience, as part of the November 2013 intake. The interview was conducted by Mitsuhiro Kawashima, another current IMBA student from Japan.

Q1. What did you do before IE IMBA program?

Before I moved to Madrid I was working for a startup technology company in London for the last 4 years.  We created a marketplace for IT services around the UK by building up a network of quality IT engineers and building relationships with companies looking to outsource their IT work.  I performed a number of different roles, since we were a startup, but mainly focused on strategic business development.

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

Coming from the US I honestly hadn’t thought about pursuing a European MBA.  However, after my time abroad I quickly discovered the value the schools could offer.  The main reasons I chose IE were because of their reputation for entrepreneurship, the diverse student body, the 13 month program, and the chance to live in Madrid!

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

Interviewer: Mitsuhiro, a current IMBA student and IE Fellows from Japan

I have become really involved in IE’s entrepreneurial clubs and activities.  I think it is great to see how much hype there is about entrepreneurship and innovation at IE, and I am really exposed to that here.  Even though Madrid is not a main ‘hub’ for entrepreneurship, the ecosystem that IE is trying to create is great, it provides a lot of networking opportunities and a lot of exposure to various projects and people.

Q4. What has your experience been so far?

Five months has flown by incredibly fast.  I have met so many great people, learned a lot, had endless amounts of fun, and been able to really focus on my future.

Q5. What’s your future plan after IMBA?

While my plan is not clearly defined just yet, I hope to be involved in a new venture after school and continue as an entrepreneur.


Thanks Chris! 


IE and the World Business Dialogue (WBD)

Written on April 7, 2014 by IMBA News in News

Last month, a couple of our current IMBA students from the November 2013 intake attended the WBD; a highly selective student-organized conference in Germany that is said to be the largest one of its kind in the world. This year, over 1400 students from more than 100 countries applied to attend the WBD but only 300 were selected; 4 of them from IE: Katherine Monteith (Canada), Christina Lein (Germany), Howard Gregory (USA) and Kotaro Adachi (Japan). This year’s topic of “Disruptive Innovation” included over 15 key speakers from industries around the world such as Dr. Rudiger Grube – CEO of Deutch Bahn, Michael Boltman – CEO of Nokia Germany, and Allen Wirfs Brock – Research Fellow at Mozilla Corporation.

Let´s hear from Howard about how he experienced the entire event:

What was your favorite panel or speaker from the conference?

My Favorite Speaker was Michael Bültmann, CEO of Nokia Germany. As disruptive innovation is concerned, Michael and Nokia have a strong past of reacting to current landscapes of the economic environment in order to maintain a competitive advantage. Although, Nokia admits that they missed the smartphone boat, it also holds a strong history of adapting in order to ensure that it is a leader in whichever market it chooses and that the company is confident that it will be able to gain a competitive advantage in its next venture – big data and incorporating it into everyday lives.

Why should IE MBAs attend?

IE MBA’s should attend because the WBD is a great opportunity to gain insights into a specific topic of interest. Disruptive innovation is a very important topic when speaking about entrepreneurial advantage, risk, and success which made the 2014 WBD of particular value to MBA students at IE. I expect that WBD will continue to offer value added discussions on the issues that are changing the world landscape.

Is everyone at the event an MBA?

WBD prides itself on bringing together diverse people from both a worldwide aspect as well as an educational one. Students are present from both undergraduate and master programs. They are brought together through a common goal and mindset, to collaborate on the world’s top issues today while learning more about how they can make an impact themselves in the future.

Some helpful links:


Current IMBA Nov 2013 student Ieva Tikuisyte from Lithuania

Current IMBA student Ieva Tikuisyte from Lithuania answers some questions about her IE Experience, as part of the November 2013 intake. The interview was conducted by Ram Akers, another current IMBA student from Canada: 

Q1: Ieva, what is your professional background?

I hold a Bachelor’s in Business Management from Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne (international hospitality management). During my studies, I carried out two internships – one in a restaurant and one in a Banqueting department of a luxury hotel. This provided me with the group-work skills and a customer-focused approach to work. I use these skills in working with my classmates at IE every day.

After graduating university, I have stayed in Switzerland and worked in Strategic Marketing department for a cosmetics manufacturing company during 4.5 years.

Q2: Why did you choose IE’s IMBA program? What parts attracted you most?

For me, choosing IE came through a process of deduction. I preferred to study for one year instead of two and that eliminated a lot of Business Schools from the list. I also wanted to learn another language, so Spain was a perfect destination. I met IE representatives at an MBA Fair in Geneva and after talking to the admissions staff, I felt that IE brought together most of the factors which influenced by decision. I was also accepted by another Spanish school, but their MBA class is much less internationally diverse than IE’s. A quality international network is important for me and it is another reason why I chose IE Business School.

Q3: How has your experience been so far? Please feel free to highlight some examples that you feel really added value.

Before I started my studies, I knew I wanted to make the most of this year in a sense of learning, enjoying a new location, networking and developing myself on a personal and professional level. I have attended the intensive Spanish classes before the IMBA program started and there already, I met a lot of people who had just moved to Madrid and were in a similar situation as myself. Our language teacher did not only teach us the words that would help us get by and order a glass of wine on a terrace; they also introduced us to the specifics of the Spanish way of life and helped us to understand the culture we would be surrounded by for the next year.

We have started “networking” and mingling amongst 400 of our classmates the very first day of the school and have not stopped since. We organize class section mixers almost every week in order to get to know and learn from each other.

I am also involved in the Women in Business, Volleyball and Net Impact Clubs where we share, learn and collaborate with other students on wonderful and interesting projects that benefit the whole IE community. I personally find the opportunities to get involved and to focus my energy rewarding.

Q4: How do you feel IE will prepare you for the future?

If you had asked me this question in December last year, I could not have told you about my impressions. We have a lot of schoolwork and optional extracurricular activities, that I have not even noticed the time in Madrid passing by. It seems that we have started our lectures just yesterday.

We are now in our second term, which will last till May and I am enjoying the courses greatly. The subjects bring together many areas of the business from a strategic and operational perspective and I am able to draw the parallels and identify the links between many areas of a variety of businesses.

Interviewer & current IMBA NOV 13 student, Ram from Canada

We are undergoing a variety of courses ranging from the basics in accounting, marketing and quantitative analysis to strategic and operations management, organizational behavior and financial investment analysis. In addition, the courses and workshops in the areas of public speaking, leadership development and the like create a well-rounded approach to business management.

Doing an MBA for me is an opportunity to take a step back and look at the big picture before taking the next decision about the direction I want to take my career in. I feel that when I started, my view of work was operational and focused on day-to-day tasks, whereas the IE IMBA program has provided me with many different viewpoints on a higher level or a larger scale so to speak. This will most definitely be an invaluable experience for my future career.


A Hub Of An Idea: IE MBA Brad Krauskopf runs a co-working start-up in AustraliaBesides diversity and entrepreneurship, another one of IE´s core values is social responsibility; something that the school hopes manifests itself in the minds of each and every single student of the IE family. A couple of weeks ago BusinessBecuase published an article on IE IMBA alumnus Brad Krauskopf and his co-working start-up in Australia. Reading through the article, one can experience partially the metamorphoses Brad went through based on wanting to make a change and to have an impact.

“[…] He can’t say the MBA is a key reason for his entrepreneurial success – not least because he was running companies years before flying to Spain. But it did give him exposure and diverse networking opportunities. And that, he says, has never been more relevant for today’s MBA students.

“It certainly exposed me. It was tremendously rewarding,” Brad says.

Schools that cater for social impact and diversity have a significant advantage. So too do companies, he adds. “The individuals and organizations that can figure out how to harness the value of it will find themselves with a significant advantage over companies that don’t […].”

To read the entire article, please click here!


Discovering Madrid before the program start!

Written on March 28, 2014 by IMBA News in News

Post by Jacob Huber, future student of International MBA April 2014 intake:


The April 2014 IMBA intake is about to start and I am looking forward to the rigor and intensity I hear is characteristic of the program! Of course, all this hard work must be balanced with some fun from time to time, and thankfully there are many things to see and do around Madrid. Besides meeting many interesting and accomplished colleagues around the city, I have been taking some time to visit the surroundings before we get started. I have made some awesome discoveries! Take a look at the pictures I have attached to get some inspiration for places to go (and things to eat!) on weekend breaks. Between the intensity I will be out there looking for more!

Explore the 12 photos in the great set below:

Great places around Madrid!


Some tips from a “Landing in Madrid Session”

Written on March 24, 2014 by IMBA News in News

Jacob Huber International MBA Student/IE Fellow IE Business School

Hi all! I attended a “Landing in Madrid” session with the very helpful Carmen Rein at Student Services and thought I would share a few things I found useful; only a few days left until the beginning of the program.  

A number of useful websites to search include idealista.com, segundamano.es, fotocasa.es, and the housing group on Facebook. IE also has deals with some real estate agencies that charge lower fees, including Dflat, and housie.es, which also has a secondhand market for furniture. Also, for example:

- Utilities and taxes for trash are generally not included in the rent.
- Always sign a contract, and after that you must register at the city hall (“Empadronamiento” in Spanish)
- You must register at the city hall before registering with the immigration office, and registration with immigration is also obligatory for EU/EEA citizens
- After arrival you have thirty days to register with immigration

Medical insurance:

You must have insurance, but it does not have to be Spanish. When you renew your student permit (after one year) you will be asked to prove you have been insured during the previous year. IE´s Online Campus has all the information about Sanitas and Cigna Salud, but there are a number of other Spanish insurers.


It is not obligatory to open a bank account, but it is of course useful for things like paying rent, getting a cell phone contract, gym, etc. Banco Sabadell has a deal with IE (and I have had great luck with them personally) but Santander will also open an account for IE students without an NIE. In general, banks are open from 8:30 to 14:30.

Cell Phones:

An NIE (which you get after registration with Immigration) is required for a phone contract, but you may get a prepaid card without an NIE and later switch to a contract.

A few other notes:

- The emergency number in the EU is 112 (like 911 in the USA)
- You must carry ID at all times in case the police ask
- EU citizens must also register with Immigration!
- There are a lot of discounts available to IE students: check out http://www.ie.edu/alumni/services_resources

I am looking forward to meeting more of you and getting started with the IMBA adventure as soon as possible!


Welcome to the IE Family, Vasilisa

Written on March 20, 2014 by IMBA News in News

Future IMBA April 2014 Student, Vasilisa

Future IMBA April 2014 Student, Vasilisa

The International MBA Opening for the April 2014 intake is only a few weeks away, so let’s have a look and see how some of our new family members are spending their time right before the program start. Let’s meet Vasilisa from Russia and ask why she decided to enroll in IE´s Spanish Crash Course:

  • Reason #1

Although this course is not exactly a standard school program where you smoothly go from one theme to another while deeply investigating all possible grammar rules, it is aimed at helping students to understand basic language structures, and to acquire essential vocabulary for their day-to-day life and how to actually put it to use.

  • Reason #2

Classes take around 3 hours a day from Monday to Thursday. Thus, you will have enough time to use the rest of the day to solve all other “problems” which students from abroad usually face, such as finding an apartment (believe me it may take quite a while!), opening a bank account, or finding a dress for the party before opening ceremony.

  • Reason #3

As stated, there are no classes on Friday. That means that students have a unique chance to explore not only Madrid but also places and cities around, such as Toledo, El Escorial or Valencia. The IMBA program promises to be tough; so don’t miss this opportunity to see more of Spain before the actual start of the program.

  • Reason #4

While in Madrid you are absolutely free to participate in IE Club events! Go out with the “Bar of the Week” and meet students from previous intakes, or go and discover innovative ideas in the Venture Network.

  • Reason #5

Based on my personal experience, before starting something completely new and challenging, it is always a good idea to take a little break and get settled. Therefore, the Spanish Crash Course is a great opportunity to refresh your mind, enrich it with new images and ideas, and to get ready for one of the most challenging years in your life!





Welcome to the IE Family, Jacob

Written on March 18, 2014 by IMBA News in News

The International MBA Opening for the April 2014 intake is only a few weeks away, so let’s have a look and see how some of our new family members are spending their time right before the program start, through asking a couple of questions that might be on everybody’s mind that is looking into doing an MBA program here at IE. Let’s meet Jacob Huber from Switzerland.

Was it hard leaving home?

I have been away from “home” for about seven years, living in five countries. I have left friends and family many times, but at least this time my professional aspirations (i.e. the IMBA) correlated with my personal desires: My girlfriend lives here in Madrid and I have finally been able to join her. Not to mention the fact that Madrid is one of my favorite cities in the world because of the people, food and weather!

What do you think of the Madrid campus?

The closest look I got at the Madrid campus was on an Open day and I was impressed with what I saw. In-between then and now I have been to the Admissions building for a few appointments (and the interview a few weeks ago!) but I am excited to investigate everything more in the coming months!

Future IMBA April 2014 student, Jacob Huber

Have you already met new classmates?

I have not met many classmates yet in person, but I have reached out to quite a few through the April intake Facebook page as well as the FB pages of a few clubs. I will join my first event with the Wine, Spirits and Foods Club (their “Plaza Santa Ana Tapas Crawl” next Friday), as well as the IE Insights conference with Eduardo Muga. Bottom line: everyone I have had contact with seems very friendly and open and I am excited to meet many more people!

What are your hopes for the program?

First of all, I hope to meet and learn from a wide variety of interesting people! I have a lot to learn about entrepreneurship, strategy and other business fundamentals not only from the professors and instructors, but also my fellow students.

What has been your best moment in Madrid so far?

There have been many between delicious tapas, interesting new people and finally living in a place where the sun exists! I think my favorite so far has been figuring out how great it is to get around the city by bike! However, in general I have been spending time getting to know Madrid, studying Spanish on my own and practicing conversation with some friends. I also go hiking outside the city sometimes and run around parks.


IE Woman of the Month – Gwendoline de Ganay

Written on March 17, 2014 by IMBA News in News

Before beginning the International MBA, Gwendoline worked at the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society. She then left France to begin the MBA with us and organized the IE Social Responsibility Forum event. Her time at IE inspired her to launch a start-up in Brazil, based on sustainability. Well done Gwendoline, we are very proud of your achievements.




Challenge After Challenge

Written on March 14, 2014 by IMBA News in News

Post Author and current IMBA Student Jennifer Chan

I think it is inevitable when you begin an MBA programme to encounter speculation on which term is the most challenging. “I heard the first term is killer!” or “Term 2 is supposed to be crazy!” Whichever may be the case (only time will tell) we, of the IMBA November 2013 intake, have officially survived Term 1!

To round out the first term we finally had the opportunity to exercise all the skills and knowledge acquired in Term 1 during Challenge Week. This year’s challenge partnered us with BBVA, the second largest bank in Spain. The challenge: To apply Design Thinking in order to help BBVA be a better citizen in their interaction with retail customers in Spain. No small feat! But we felt up for the challenge.

12902703253_10ae9bf14dThe week started out with opening presentations by BBVA at the landmark Cines Callao, a stone’s throw from Puerta del Sol. Armed with our mission, we headed out to do our fieldwork the next day. We were unleashed onto the streets of Madrid to speak with Madrileñ@s in order to discover what their views were of the banking sector and how they thought they could be better served. Some of us were more proficient in Spanish than others but regardless, we all arrived the next day with a deep and profound understanding of what the public felt could be improved in their daily banking experiences. From there, an innovative and dynamic Design Thinking workshop run by some of the brightest of IE’s faculty lead us through the converging and diverging discovery process of Design Thinking, guiding us to our final solution and proposal. The workshop also took us out of the now familiar surroundings and meeting rooms of MM31 and into the unique and creative architectural space at La Sede in the heart of Chueca. By the end of the day, all teams with their creative solutions in mind, set forth to create our proposals, film our teaser videos. For our team, our proposal required us to design our prototype for a Fast Pass mobile application that would enable BBVA clients to receive their queue number on the way to the bank and allow the bank to anticipate and manage their queues and customer demand. The idea proved to be a big hit with the team of IE and BBVA judges! On the final day of Challenge Week, almost 400 students converged on The Impact Hub to set up our booths and prepare our final pitches to the judges. It was a frenzy of activity with over 50 teams competing for the top prize. Our team was exceptional with a nod from the judges as one of the top 8 finalists! Go team! Now, with another tool under our belts, we are ready to start Term 2, which we heard is going to be crazy! “The most challenging term…” Time will tell…



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