Manuel Weissenegger
Master in International Relations student
From: Bressanone, Italy

All my life I have been different. Raised by a single mother in a Catholic area in the very north of Italy, my family background certainly set me apart. At a very young age, I was forced to question the traditions that surrounded me. Moreover, having grown up in a German speaking area of Italy, I have always been aware of my distinct cultural heritage, one that transcends the conventional boundaries of the nation-state. Because of these circumstances, I have always felt the desire to find my place in the world.

Aware of the competitiveness of global careers, I worked hard and graduated with honors in law and was offered a job as a lawyer-trainee at one of the most prestigious law firms in Bologna. As honored as I was when I accepted the job offer, something inside me questioned whether this traditional path was really my course to follow. Despite countless hours of hard work on interesting cases, a competitive salary, and career advancement opportunities, the calling for something more grew stronger. During work breaks I caught myself researching master’s programs in international relations, which I believed to be a perfect fit for my international ambitions. I caught myself dreaming of new adventures. I wanted more.

At IE I found more. I encountered an endless pool of people – students, professors and staff – that work hard to leave their imprint on this world. I met people that question traditional approaches as much as they value them provided they serve the greater goal of moving human development forward. I found a graduate school of international relations that wants to change the world in the business setting, the real driver for advancement in our era.

All these factors made me find my place at IE. As someone who deeply cares about finding a sustainable way of ‘fueling’ our economies, I became the president of the IE Energy Club. It was my goal to show why changing energy usages – which constitute the biggest chunk in CO2 emissions – is difficult. With the panel discussions we organized, we tried to demonstrate that energy, far from being merely a question of innovation, is a rather political matter. Climate change and clean energy depend to a large extent on the will of world leaders to move important projects forward. However, political leaders themselves depend on their constituencies. Constituencies, by turn, have their own preferences, largely dependent geographic, economic and historical factors: moving the American Rust Belt away from coal is difficult because coal has historically shaped the economies of the region. In this context, the legacy I tried to leave is that it is imperative for all of us to understand the political dynamics behind climate change and clean energy. Only if we fathom why people might favor political leaders who oppose clean energy efforts, can we find solutions that can change our future to the better.

Bio: Manuel Weissenegger was born in Italy on 20 May 1989. After graduating with honors in law at the University of Bologna, he worked for 1.5 years at Maffei-Alberti, a prestigious law firm located in Bologna, Italy, that deals with bankruptcy and business law. Simultaneously he was engaged as teaching assistant to Professor Vincenzo Calandra-Buonaura, professor of business law at the University of Bologna. Manuel is currently a Master in International Relations candidate at IE Business School where he will graduate in July 2017. Besides Italy and Spain, he also has academic experience in Switzerland and the United States. He speaks four languages (German, Italian, English and Spanish).


Amanda Kelly
Associate Director of Communications at IE University
From: Saskatchewan, Canada

Before IE University, I worked in Montreal with Global News, a national TV broadcaster in Canada. In addition to reporting on news and writing, a big part of my role there was helping the team to transition to digital, which involved a complete mind-shift in terms of how stories were filed and how social media could be used to report and gather news. In fact, it’s this mind-shift that seems to be a constant in my life, personally and professionally – and it has been source of incredible challenges, frustration, excitement and joy!

I was born in Saskatchewan – a province in Canada that very few people can pronounce and even fewer have visited. In my early 20s, I moved to London, England, where I worked, first in television production and later with the newspaper, The Guardian. I returned to university to study art history at Cambridge and then started my own business – a recording studio. 

When I came to IE, I had been living in Spain for just a year and I have been amazed. IE offers an intellectual and entrepreneurial hub, with students and staff from Spain and across the globe. It brings together the most talented and interesting people in the country and provides so many interesting opportunities to exchange and grow. It really is a pleasure to communicate and share all the fascinating projects and innovative ideas that are developed here with the world.

Bio: Amanda was the web producer for Global News in Montreal, curating the news and covering local and provincial stories for GlobalNews.ca from 2011-2015. She began her career in journalism at The Guardian and Observer in London, England, working on the then just-started Guardian Unlimited website while studying History of Art at Cambridge University. Passionate about culture, digital media and politics, she is currently the Associate Director of Communications at IE University in Madrid, Spain. 


Beatrice Murage: doctor, MBA and IE Big Data Club President

Written on April 6, 2017 by Campus Life in IE Stories

Beatrice Murage
International MBA / Master in Business Analytics and Big Data 2016
IE Big Data Club President
IE Dual Degree Ambassador
From: Nairobi, Kenya

I love treading the unknown; many of my best lessons and character honing processes have happened in the white space. The more abstract and creative it is, the better. That is what drew me, a medical doctor, to apply to IE Business School and to challenge myself by taking the International MBA and Master in Business Analytics and Big Data dual program.

On the one hand, my journey at IE has been a tougher kind of unknown. When I started in January 2016, I was ecstatic about the upcoming IE experience. I quickly realized that adjusting was going to take more effort than I had anticipated. Working with the level of diversity in personalities and cultures represented at IE was particularly stretching and required a lot flexibility. I soon learnt to make my priorities dynamic in the fast evolving IE environment and to ask for feedback – which was initially uncomfortable. I felt like a fish out of water and this time I did not like it much. When I started my second program, two people in my family who had been key pillars in my life passed away, setting in motion one of the most tumultuous and character defining months I have ever had.  At that point, my journey seemed so daunting, with the end no longer in sight.

On the other hand, I have grown in so many ways. One of my early decisions was to immerse myself in the chaos created by the crazy schedule, time constraint and events that were out of my control. I wanted to regain my love for the unknown. That goal has been tried and tested anew at IE. I have grown in resilience, learnt many new and cool skills, met amazing people and made new friends. I have taken up challenging opportunities within and outside IE that have motivated me to keep my curiosity alive and provided a platform to grow my ability to lead and work with different people.  I am still learning to embrace the diversity and thrive in it.

I choose to trust the process. I choose to keep stepping up despite the curve balls that come along the way;  to show up consistently, even on days I do not think I have any more fight left in me; to actively participate in this community  and to be present.  I am okay with feeling like a fish out of water

The main nugget I take from my IE experience is that people come first. I love connecting with people, really getting to hear what they have to share. I have mostly enjoyed learning from my colleagues and the staff at IE. I admire the ones who are brave to ask and learn about my continent, Africa and my country, Kenya. They challenge the common narrative about both and widen their views to include the wealth of mind and spirit that we contribute to the world. The personal and work stories they have shared and my experiences in interacting with them have significantly recast my perspective on the world around me.

My IE blueprint is to “Step Up”. To that effect, I have the pleasure of currently leading a phenomenal team that runs the IE Big Data Club (we invite you to join the community through Campus Life). In addition, it was a great learning experience for me to work on a start-up idea with an amazing team and to pitch it at IE Venture Day in November 2016.

Moving forward, I will throw my hat in the ring, even when I may be afraid to do so. I will take up challenges that interest me despite the risk of failure. I will prepare, show up and participate in different opportunities that present themselves and even those that I have to create along the way. I will keep stepping up.

Bio: Dedicated, high-performing and enthusiastic professional with 8 years’ experience spanning across business development, digital innovation and public – private policy development in emerging markets. International MBA and Master in Big Data candidate with proven leadership of cross-functional teams. Merging interests in healthcare, business strategy, entrepreneurship, mentorship and analytics to redefine customer experience.


Changing the Way We See Water

Written on April 5, 2017 by Campus Life in Professional, Social

On March 29th, the IE Net Impact Club hosted a seminar on Changing the Way We See Water: from a Social, Entrepreneurship & Big Data point of view, to conclude World Water month.

This year, IE students were taken on a two-week virtual journey to understand:

a) The Problem: posters across campus provided facts & figures related to water scarcity on a global scale.

b) How it Affects Us: In order to realise how these problems actually hit us so close to home, IE students were encouraged to think of a personal story about how waterrelated issues have personally affected them and their countries of origin in video testimonials.

c) The Solution: finally, we scouted for examples of entrepreneurs who have taken real action to tackle water sustainability problems, in addition to any trends at the frontiers of technology i.e. the use of Big Data that have revolutionised water management systems.

The event brought together an excellent 4-person panel consisting of:

1. Diego Félez Armisen: Co-founder of The Water Van Project
An architect by degree and having worked at Amazon for 2 years, Diego shared the story of him and his 3 friends from Barcelona who quit the corporate world, raised funds for water filters and embarked on a 6-month adventure to provide access to clean water across Latin America, driving from Mexico to Peru. The Water Van Project has changed the lives of 15,000 people by providing them access to clean water for at least the next 12 years. Having returned to employment, this time at Facebook, Diego laid out how the team is currently working to develop the Water Van Project into a platform for volunteers interested in social impact, as a side project, planned to debut this summer.

2. Christina Stathopoulos: Expert Engineer in Project Development and Big Data at Nielsen
Originally from the US, Christina is an IE ambassador and alumni of the Master in Business Analytics and Big Data. Christina shared how the use of Big Data has led to a Revolution in Water Management, demonstrating how sensors & real-time monitoring, advanced analytics & predictive modeling, and image & pattern recognition are helping to decrease water waste and contamination, while facilitating better access to clean water around the world. Furthermore, inspiring examples of start-ups active in this field were provided as cases where entrepreneurship, big data and social impact are at work to better manage water e.g. Utilis, Emagin, PlutoAI and AquaSeca.

3. Ramon Lange: CEO Agua En Caja Mejor
Ramon Lange shared his entrepreneurial journey of founding his drinking-water company, Agua En Caja Mejor, which may be familiar to IE students as it’s carried by Do Eat in both MM31 and across MM11. Ramon started the company while doing his Executive MBA at IE and described the benefits of using 70% recyclable material in their carton packaging. He also explained how their business model, as opposed to generic plastic-bottled water companies, entails decreased plastic waste, decreased carbon footprint and the planting of new trees as a marketing tool.

4. Antonio Espinosa de los Monteros: CEO Auara
Antonio is co-founder and CEO of Auara, a social enterprise providing water bottles in 100% recycled plastic bottles. Antonio, also an architect by background, shared the risks, rewards and challenges that he has faced so far as a social entrepreneurial, starting his company in Spain from scratch.

Furthermore, he portrayed Auara’s vision and social goals to invest in projects that would improve access to clean water in some of the most impoverished regions in Ethiopia, where he has already visited four times initially to serve as a volunteer prior to founding his company, but also more recently to explore the possibilities and define projects to improve sanitation and access to clean water.

Finally, Mehrad Jaberansari and Matias Callieri, IMBA students from the January intake who organized the event, concluded by summarising the day’s learnings and encouraging their peers to take action for maximizing social impact in their future careers.

From left to right: Diego Félez Armisen, Antonio Espinosa de los Monteros, Christina Stathopoulos, Matias Callieri, Ramon Lange, Mehrad Jaberansari

We are not all going to become social entrepreneurs. That is a fact; but this seminar has demonstrated various examples consisting of how we can still make significant impact a) on the side of our corporate careers, b) within our professional sphere e.g. if interested in working with big data; and c) to invest ourselves full-time to starting or joining a social enterprise. Surely, there are many other ways to have our impact, but as our water month social media campaign intended to ask, the question is, #wateryougonnado?

Looking forward to seeing you soon at our next Speaker Series events!

IE Net Impact Club


The IE Finance & Capital Markets Club had the pleasure to host an event with Alessandro Canta – Head of Finance and Insurance of Enel, one of the biggest energy companies in the world.  Alessandro has been working with Enel for the past 25 years and was part of the company’s first swap, IPO and its internationalization. He manages liabilities of around USD 50b and was part of M&A activities in Asia and Latin America. He also took a particular focus on the importance of strong business relationships with stakeholders in order to remain successful in the long run. A big thank you to Alessandro and his team for having been here in Madrid in order to share with us his experiences.

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