Archive for the ‘IE Stories’ Category


Volunteers in Ethiopia

Written on July 19, 2018 by Campus Life in IE Stories

How can you do something to help people a continent away?  How can you support social entrepreneurs in other countries?  Can we, sitting in our comfortable world, really make a difference?

These are questions that IE professor Gayle Allard and her students have grappled with for the past six years, since she began leading volunteer groups to Ethiopia.  This summer, they hope that they will be able to give an answer.

Since the IE students first volunteered as English teachers for little girls in southern Ethiopia in 2013, they were struck by the immensity of one overwhelming problem:  water.  Ethiopia has one of the lowest rates of water access in the world:  the World Bank estimates that only 3.9% of the rural population and 37.8% of the urban population have access to a safely managed water source.  The result is disease, death and servitude of women and girls, who walk miles to fetch water rather than being able to work or study.  The IE volunteers came back asking: is there anything we can do to make things better?

As groups have continued going to Ethiopia each summer as English teachers, water has always been on the agenda.  Four IMBA groups presented Impact projects recommending solutions to alleviate the shortage in specific communities.  The US water purification company Kinetico sent scientists with the IE students, to test local water sources and make recommendations.  IE students surveyed local communities to help identify possible solutions, and people´s willingness and ability to pay for them.

In August 2018, a group of IE students from three programs –the MIR, the IMBA and the IE-Brown executive MBA–, along with a Kinetico scientist and Dr. Allard, are returning to Ethiopia to roll out what they hope is a sustainable answer to the problem.  A local entrepreneur has been found who wants to manufacture simple water filters locally and sell them at affordable prices to households.  The IE team is drafting a strategic plan for him and Kinetico will provide technical support.  The Ethiopian entrepreneur will fly to the United States after the IE visit to complete a technical course in the manufacture of the filters, and hopes to start production in fall 2018.  If his venture is successful, he wants to expand to other cities in Ethiopia, creating jobs and incomes but above all providing a source of safe water to Ethiopian households.

It isn´t easy to help from far away.  It requires time, patience, flexibility and perseverance.  About 70 IE volunteers have been part of this effort, and all will celebrate if this venture gets off the ground and becomes a reality.


By IE Professor Gayle Allard


A story of one small change; #iegoesgreen

Written on June 14, 2018 by Campus Life in IE Stories

It started when our team of 7 IE HST students: Angel Galeano, Ghita Haloui, Rafael Herrera, Gaby La Fata, Marilia Ribeiro, Nadine Taha and myself, Natalya Shustova, were working on a regular assignment for a Change Management course. We paid attention to the plastic bottles of 0.33 ml offered to professors before each of the class. Since all our team members are passionate about sustainability, we asked ourselves: how many plastic waste do these bottles produce? Little research showed us: our institution has consumed 43,680 bottles in 7 months what is equal to 1,092 kg of plastic waste. Just imagine: it is enough to kill 37 Sperm Whales!! (remember the case of Sperm Whale found in Murcia coast on March 2018?). Long story short, we decided to change it. We did some research, had couple of meetings and today we are happy to see the results of our efforts: IE has started to purchase bottles of 0.5 ml instead of 0.3 ml.

You may think: “But it’s nothing, guys! In reality you haven’t done that much to reduce the plastic waste!”. We reply you:  just changing the volume of these bottles from 0.33 to 0.5, the amount of plastic waste it produces has been reduced twice!

Each of us can make a small but impactful change. Which change will you do?



On May 17th, our MIM students Lorenzo Alibrandi and Ernesto Cifaldi pitched their start-up, Box’nPapers, in the Grand Finale of the luxury business model competition “The Mark Challenge” winning the contest! Among more than 200 students and 77 teams participating in the competition, they were finalists together with only seven teams from six Business Schools that went through to final round in Monaco, to pitch in front of the jury composed of investors and professionals in the industry and chaired by the CEO of Moschino, Gabriele Maggio. Lorenzo and Ernesto held a 6-minute pitch that earned them the first prize in the competition.

Their project, Box’nPapers, born out of the market inefficiencies in the vintage high-end watch industry, aims at matching the needs of watch and warranties buyers and sellers who are looking for an easier and safer shopping experience. As requested by the competition rules, the project also focuses on social and environmental impact. The start-up is committed to sponsor sustainable watchmakers and help small shops to go digital.

“We are fully aware of the stakes. Many solid ideas were out there, it is not easy to challenge the industry! That’s a starting point. We are proud of having prized IE Business School in such an international competition, without the tools we learnt here we couldn’t have succeeded” – Lorenzo, founder of Box’nPapers

Box’nPapers is already operating, and by the end of the month will be part of a VC fund’s portfolio.We are looking forward to seeing how this project evolves!






The Global Inclusion Seminar 2018

Written on May 21, 2018 by Campus Life in IE Stories, Professional

The IE Europe and Talent and Careers travelled to the Global Inclusion Seminar 2018 in Zurich, Switzerland last month, aimed at getting closer to employers who are actively looking to recruit LGBT professionals, and to talk about IE’s master programs.

The Global Inclusion Seminar is a unique event where C-Suite executives, global thought leaders, academics and everyday practitioners will come together to share and learn new perspectives, models and strategic approaches towards creating and building organisations that truly embrace inclusiveness and diversity.

The IE Delegation comprised of Joel McConnell (Director for Europe and Central Asia (International Development Department) and William Gaber – Global Director of Recruiter Relations (Talent and Careers Department). IE also featured Sarah Finegan a current IMBA student who has been actively engaged with D&I initiatives at Goldman Sachs before coming to IE Business School.

The school met with top companies that are looking to recruit MBA graduates, engage with inclusion initiatives at IE, and co-fund scholarships for future students. Joel and I took to the stage and presented for 30 minutes on “Business School’s fast-tracking access to top talent”.

The conference presentations looked at diversity and inclusion from many perspectives. Some interesting ones of note were:

1)      Uta Menges from IBM (Generational Inclusion)

2)      Rachel Osikoya

from Maersk (Leadership Reflecting Customer Base and Workforce)

3)      David King from AirBnB (Inclusion in the Sharing Economy)

4)      Richard Spada from Novartis (Idea of Nudges for Change)

5)      Kristin Anderson from Barilla (Inclusion and Corporate Reputation

By Sarah Finegan, IE International MBA student



Suzette Meade & Gabrielle Rajkumar
International MBA Student, September 2017 & International MBA Graduate, January 2017 intake
From: New York, United States, & Trinidad and Tobago

The IMBA Program provides access to many valuable opportunities beyond the classroom. Recently, Gabrielle Rajkumar, graduate of the IMBA January 2017 intake, and Suzette Meade, current student in the IMBA September 2017 intake, identified a career learning and networking opportunity with Google through the IE Talent & Careers Achieve portal. Google hosted the “2017 Top Black Talent Forum” at its London office. This event was part of the tech leader’s core mission to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Gabrielle and Suzette were invited among 55 students from top European institutions selected through a competitive process of more than 1000 student applicants.

For two days, students enrolled in bachelors, masters and MBA degree programs participated in customized activities further to build their knowledge of the company, network with employees across a range of disciplines and learn helpful skills from the HR and recruitment team to enhance future job and internship applications. Also, attendees had the option to participate in variety of “soft” and “hard” skills” workshops, such as digital marketing (Ad Words), leadership development and building one’s personal brand. In addition, to the corporate context, the Forum included a lively Q&A session with successful external content creators from the YouTube network, which demonstrated how Google partners with and provides a platform for the broader community to monetize social media engagement. To cap off the experience, the group took a tour of the unique office space to get an inside look at the environment, new technology on display and day in the life of a Googler.

A message that came through loud and clear from the EMEA University Programs Team and company leaders, who took time out of their busy schedules to present at plenary and breakout sessions, is how much Google values highly qualified MBA graduates as part of its future talent pipeline around the world. The combination of education and work experience that MBA candidates offer is viewed as an asset to the company as it continues to grow and expand its business offerings and talent pool. An example of this is the fact that the Forum added an ad-hoc Q&A session with a Senior Director exclusively for the dozen MBAs in attendance. This session was not on the original agenda, but was inserted midstream to provide a small group experience for MBAs, and was yet another example of how being nimble and adaptive are part of the organization’s DNA.

Whilst the Top Black Talent Forum was aimed specifically at recruitment and networking for students of ethnicity from the global African diaspora, like Gabrielle and Suzette who have cultural roots in the Caribbean, it is just one manifestation of Google’s commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace. During the Forum, students learned about other Googler Networks such as those dedicated to the LGBTQ community, differently abled individuals and other underrepresented ethnicities. Ultimately, Google as a business is sustainable insofar as it remains a relevant utility for its users. By employing people who contribute diversity of culture, thought, ability, experience, etc. to the workplace, Google helps to ensure that its products and services reflect the expansiveness of its users worldwide.

Overall, Gabrielle and Suzette had a fun, informative and memorable experience at Google UK, and were thankful to IE for raising awareness of this opportunity, which has helped them as they pursue their post-IMBA career paths.


Gabrielle Rajkumar: Gabrielle Rajkumar is a graduate of the IMBA 2017, January intake. She is a native of Trinidad and Tobago and prior to moving to Madrid, lived in New York City where she worked in the Office of the President of the General Assembly at the United Nations. During her MBA, she was the treasurer of the IE Family Business Club and a member of the Net Impact and Soccer Clubs.

Suzette Meade: Suzette Meade is a first-generation Caribbean-American, born and raised in New York, USA. At IE she serves as a Careers Representative and is engaged in leisure and industry clubs. Prior to starting the IMBA program in September 2017, Suzette spent more than 10 years as a corporate communications and public relations professional at global hospitality corporations and consulting agencies. She has visited nearly 50 countries and is “mom” to her dog, Sassy.

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