Archive for the ‘IE Stories’ Category


Vanina Andrea Farber, PhD
Adjunct Profesor of Economic Enviroment and Country Analysis at IE Business School
From: Argentina

I was born in Argentina during the last military regime and started high school with the arrival of democracy. The square in front of the Pink House (the presidential residence in Buenos Aires) was full of people cheering for the new government as I started the first day of high school and I felt the sense of responsibility of building a better world right there.

I have studied political science in Argentina and later Economics for my MA and PhD in the US. My friends from the university considered me a “traitor” because I learned econometrics and my economist colleagues believed I was a “softy” because I cared for politics and institutions. Armed with these tools I started working on development issues and had the luck to find amazing people at the Institute for Development and Cooperation at the Complutense University in Madrid, Spain. Yes, one these amazing people is today my husband. We continued our life in Geneva were I had the opportunity to work for different UN agencies estimating child labor in the world and housing reconstruction needs in Kosovo. I became an expert in counting things that are hard to quantify. I was enjoying my work but something was missing. Since I was a kid I always loved teaching, I imposed all kind of classes to my little sister and during my graduate studies I was lucky to be a teaching assistant with a lot of independence. In Geneva I decided to teach part time at a local American University. I felt that if I really wanted to have a positive impact on others, my true place was an educational institution.

In Geneva I became the proud mother of twin girls and we decided as a family to move back to Madrid. I joined the Economic Environment department at IE, an inspiring group of amazing people and professionals with a common goal of innovative and diverse higher education. The diversity in IE programs is really a privilege when you teach economic Environment and Country Analysis and the students challenge and inspire me until today, more than a decade later. I can count many of them now as friends and I am eager to travel the world and meet them. IE brought to me another passion in my life: blended education. I strongly believe in the power of online education to equip students to break free from the limitations of brick and mortar classrooms and improve their skills to research, innovate, be flexible and creative.

Then again, for family reasons, I moved to Lima and continued involved with IE thanks to the flexibility of the blended programs.

In Peru I worked at Universidad del Pacifico were the quest for impact drove me to work on corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship. I felt excited to work with entrepreneurs eager to solve social and environmental problems through profitable business solutions. I truly believe that business can and should drive transformative societal change to achieve a more equitable future. I still teach economic environment because I believe it is the key to understanding the challenges and options available to entrepreneurs at the country level, but my research is on social entrepreneurship and I work as a speaker and mentor on sustainable entrepreneurship issues. I particularly enjoy working with female entrepreneurs and understanding the particular challenges women face and overcome. Now I am back in Geneva where I continue to develop this line of work.

As Madeleine Allbright said “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.” It took me while to find my way and space to have a positive impact and I appreciate IE for giving me a platform to do what I love.

Bio: Vanina is an Adjunct Profesor for IE Business School, Spain since 2005 were she teaching Economic Enviroment and Country Analysis. She is also a Professor and Chair of Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Social Inclusion at Universidad del Pacifico, Peru. Vanina has also been the Dean of the Graduate School of Business from 2014-2016. She currently lives in Geneva Switzerland.  She holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration and M.A. in Economics from the University of Memphis, USA and a “Licenciatura” in Political Science from the University of Buenos Aires. Vanina has worked as a researcher and consultant for different international organizations in Switzerland (UNCTAD, ILO, UNDP and UNOPS), Spain (IUDC UCM, Observatorio de Responsabilidad Social Corporativa de Madrid, Centro de Estudios Económicos Tomillo and the European Commision) as well as in Peru (UNDP, AECID and Ministry of Labor). She specializes in sustainable business models, CSR, and gender studies.


Cynthia Mburu: “No day is ever the same in IE”

Written on June 1, 2017 by Campus Life in IE Stories

Cynthia Mburu
International MBA January 2017 student
Coordinator of IE Women in Business Club
From: Nairobi, Kenya

As the popular political saying goes, “If you are not on the table, you are on the menu”. This could not be more true in the business world. With the rise of automation and innovative disruptions, professionals are now forced to step up by adding tangible value in the organisation or else face the cut. During my search for an MBA school, I felt that IE Business School was well ahead of its time in understanding what the market expects of professionals now and in the future. It is for this reason that I decided to apply for the International MBA at IE.

No day is ever the same in IE when you have over 40 nationalities in one class. In my last five months as a student, I have forged new friendships, learnt about new cultures, cultivated trust in teamwork, understood more about myself and most importantly, I have learnt that making mistakes is the best way to grow. I believe that mistakes help us to unlearn the old ways of doing things to pave way for new and the vibrant techniques. With the effort of thought-provoking professors, IE has taught me to ask: why, where, how and what can be done differently. I have learnt that challenging the status quo is not cool, it is imperative.

Growing up in a family of four girls in Kenya, I have always felt the presence and influence of women in the social space. In my previous role as a Senior Risk Advisory Consultant, I understood the importance of mentors in the professional sphere. My workplace mentors constantly challenged me to take on more responsibilities to spur my growth. In IE, the ‘Women in Business’ Club has provided a platform for mentorship and active participation for women. As a leader in the club, I have been inspired by various speakers (both men and women) to constantly be ready to embrace change and ambiguity in a fast-paced world. Indeed, women have attained great achievements in the workplace. However, more must be done. By showcasing ‘Bold and Daring Women’ who excel as ‘Captains of the Industry’, my IE Blue print is to encourage more women to step up to new challenges by showing up and sitting at the decision table. To those that dare, the world is their Oyster!

Bio: Cynthia Mburu is a full-time International MBA candidate at IE Business school. She is a leader of the IE Women In Business club. She holds a B. Commerce degree from University of Nairobi with an ACCA certification. Prior to joining IE, Cynthia was senior fraud risk and financial crime consultant at Deloitte East Africa. She has five years consulting experience in both public and private sector in sub- Saharan Africa. She is an art enthusiast, lover of nature with a passion for mentorship.


Ricardo Mesquita
Director of Immersive Learning at IE
International MBA Class of 2007
From: Porto, Portugal

By recently joining the IE team, my purpose is to drive change through education, entrepreneurship and business innovation. I believe entrepreneurs, startups, educators, investors and organizations need an open, inspiring and cool space to gather, learn new skills, experiment and foster connections that they otherwise would not have found.

In the process, I love to set things up. I see myself as a lifelong learner that works passionately with multi-disciplinary teams, engaged in doing a great job through the power of initiative and collaborative effort, while finding solutions to complex problems that require a data driven approach, analytical skills, marketing expertise, commercial acumen and humor. Humor is serious business.

Today, I am deeply involved in the design and launch of the immersive learning initiative at IE using Bootcamps to meet the demands of a fast changing world of work.

The IE Bootcamps want to empower professionals and entrepreneurs with the digital skills to accelerate their future careers. This is the ultimate learning by doing experience. We will combine expert mentorship with a capstone project-based curriculum to help participants efficiently learn the skills they need to boost their careers and achieve their professional ambitions.

This immersive learning experience, developed within the lifelong learning vision of IE Exponential Learning, will first be launched in conjunction with HST, as the Data Science Bootcamp starting this fall.

Bootcamps have a significant amount of “open field” ahead, so we need to integrate the team that drives students to success and then build processes around what works to establish best practices, always keeping in mind that each student will make a serious commitment & investment by joining this challenge. We tend to say to those interested “if you put in the effort, we will bring in the rest”.

All this happens at IE. I keep in mind that the ie ecosystem is global and diverse, creating a collaborative work environment where hundreds of companies, entrepreneurs, freelancers, start-ups, educators and students come together to accelerate their businesses and careers. It´s great to be back in Madrid and become a part of this diversity of thought, as we walk this amazing learning journey together.

Bio: Former CEO of, Ricardo is a co-founder of Beta-i and ambassador of the accelerator, mentor at Startup Chile (2014/2015), and co-author of the book The Soul of Business​, a roadmap for entrepreneurs looking to set up shop in Portugal. Surfer aficionado and scuba diver, he’s passionate about the wilderness, cooking, building stuff, architecture, photography, music and vespa scooters. More about Ricardo:


Matan Mayer
Assistant Professor at IE School of Architecture and Design

Late in his life, Albert Einstein famously said: “Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem—in my opinion—to characterize our age”. This assessment is still very much relevant today, particularly in light of the rapid technological transformations that take shape around us constantly. Maintaining a focus on the larger goals of our profession and its service to society guides my teaching activities at IE, where I am a faculty member at the School of Architecture and Design. I teach the construction course sequence in the second year as well as design studios in the first and third years of the Bachelor of Architecture program. Additionally, over the past year I offered workshops in design thinking and structural optimization. I also serve as a the school’s Technology and Environment coordinator and co-chair the Fabrication Laboratory Steering Committee.

I moved to Segovia after almost a decade in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I completed a doctoral degree and taught at Harvard University. IE’s emphasis on social sciences and entrepreneurship allows our school to offer a unique blend of design excellence and real-world implementation. This is what drew me to teach here.

Looking forward, I hope to assist in expanding the level of academic collaboration that already exists within the university and to explore new frontiers in both teaching and research.

Bio: Matan Mayer is a full-time faculty member at IE University School of Architecture and Design, where he teaches construction, technology and design courses. He holds a doctoral and masters research degrees from Harvard Graduate School of Design, as well as a BArch degree from Tel Aviv University. Matan’s research focuses on achieving life cycle innovation in the built environment through developments in manufacturing technology, assembly techniques, and digital design platforms. Prior to his role at IE, Matan was a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities, following a residency at the Harvard Innovation Lab Venture Incubation Program, as well as research fellowships at the Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design at the University of Stuttgart, and the Composite Construction Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.


Drishty Tanwar
Human Resource Professional
Dual Degree – Master in Management and Master in International Relations
President – IE Public Speaking Club
Coordinator – IE Public Management & Policy Making Club
IE Ambassador – Master in International Relations
From: Mumbai, India

As part of my admission process, I was asked during my interview – “Why IE?”  My answer was simple: “I choose to be part of this global fraternity where my norms and beliefs can stand the test of reason. What is ‘right’ on my ‘side of the world’ isn’t necessarily so elsewhere. I wanted to break out of my mould, to be challenged, and in return contribute to this privileged fraternity.”

So, began my journey with IE in January 2016.

My goals were very clear even before I started my Masters. I came to IE to learn the fundamentals of management and expand my network. Today, I am seventy-one days away from graduating and I take a moment to pause and reflect on my journey so far. Everyday still feels like a fresh slate with infinite possibilities and ample learning. However, I wasn’t expecting to find myself making lifelong friends, discover what I stand for and shape my values. During those moments, this past year when I felt most challenged, my instinct was to rely on strength and force. What I discovered as the months progressed, is that to learn and grow, I needed to acknowledge my vulnerabilities—open up, ask for help and work closely with others. Acknowledging my weaknesses has ultimately led me to build on my strengths.

The holistic experience of the “Master in Management” and “Master in International Relations” Dual Degree Program truly embodies and celebrates diversity. It has been incredibly inspiring to learn from high achievers of diverse backgrounds and experiences, these include my own classmates, the faculty, guest speakers or alumni. It is within this spectacular diversity that I have realized that the world presents a much larger canvas of opportunities and experiences to create our own unique impressions.

As an academic community, IE teaches us to explore and investigate beyond the confines of a classroom. It is not just the seat of learning but also a source of inspiration that provides bigger stimuli for thought and action for me. The curriculum questions the conventional, challenges the known and pioneers the unknown.

My ‘IE Blueprint’ is to “Break the Mould”. I have the pleasure and privilege of currently leading an extraordinary team that coordinates the IE Public Speaking Club (we invite you to join the community through Campus Life). Change and impact in even the smallest terms has the biggest ripple effect on a community and what better way of contributing than having confident and thoughtful speakers share the power of the word and speech. It is extremely satisfying to see tangible results when people overcome their inhibitions and evolve in that chaotic space where all the magic happens.

Bio: Drishty Tanwar is a skilled HR professional from Mumbai, India with experience in the hospitality industry and non – profit sector. With a Masters in Human Resource Management and a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree she possesses hands-on exposure to business functions such as recruitment, talent acquisition and knowledge management. She is currently a Dual Degree Masters candidate pursuing her ‘Master in Management’ and ‘Master in International Relations’ at IE Business School from where she will graduate in July 2017. She aims to work in Human Capital Planning upon graduation. An affinity for photography and an obsession for travelling, Drishty likes books and photographically documenting the lives of people she has met on her travels.

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