Archive for the ‘IE Stories’ Category


Cynthia Hamouche: “My biggest fear was stagnation”.

Written on November 30, 2017 by Campus Life in IE Stories

Cynthia Hamouche
Global MBA Student, 2017 intake
From: El Manssourie, Lebanon

“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”—Sheryl Sandberg

I believe mothers face difficult decisions especially in the part of the world I live in. Some choose to leave work and dedicate their time for family which is the most respectful selfless act of love. However, the model which I would like to present to my daughter is that there shouldn’t be any compromise between self-accomplishment and independence on one hand, and family life on the other hand. It is important for me that she knows that she can reach whatever she aspires to, that she needs to work hard for it, that she can do it no matter how hard it is and that she has an equal chance as her brother. This is also one of the reasons why at 34 with 2 kids I decided to go for an MBA while working full time. I truly believe that I cannot convince my children to go for a higher education if I don’t do it myself. I need to walk the talk.

I have been working in the same company in the past 11 years where I started as a junior developer after my graduation from engineering school in 2006. Gradually, I started managing teams until I reached the position of Head of Development/ Country Manager two years ago. Although I hold a position with a lot of responsibilities in addition to raising two kids, I reached a point in my life where I started to ask myself “is that all?”, “where should I go from here?” My biggest fear was stagnation.

The company I work for is a software vendor specialized in Supply Chain Management solutions based in France with a branch in Germany. I manage the Lebanese offshore branch responsible of development and consisting of 31 employees; I’m very passionate about my job. It is true that working with the French and German branches provides me with some international experience but I needed to have more exposure. Learning from different cultures, acquiring managerial expertise by experience sharing and broadening my network would help me stretch myself to further career progress in my current position and future opportunities. This is why I decided to join the GMBA program of IE Business School last.

I really appreciate the women empowerment theme in IE since it is a subject I’m passionate about and I want to work on in the future. I can say that GMBA program has been one of the most fulfilling life experiences I have ever had. The mixture of nationalities in the global program gave me the international exposure that I was looking for thanks to class dynamics and emphasis on multi-geographical and cultural team work. Moreover, I thought that balancing between managerial position and family life helped me be a good time manager. Well, time management while doing the MBA is on a totally different level; I soon realized that there have been many hours of the day which could be used more efficiently in the past. I know it is hard and it demands a lot of effort but hard work and perseverance will pay off when we are passionate about what we are doing.

Bio: Cynthia Hamouche is a current Global MBA candidate at IE Business School. Living in Lebanon, she is the Head of Software Development/Country Manager of Acteos where she works since 2006. She is a mother of 6 year-old twins. She enjoys team planning, organizing and empowering. She is passionate about spending time with her kids, travelling and networking.


Deniz Torcu: a curious rebel

Written on November 23, 2017 by Campus Life in IE Stories

Deniz Torcu
Director of Executive Programs at IE
Master in International Relations, 2014 intake
From: Trabzon, Turkey


“A curious rebel”. These two adjectives would be on the top of my professors’ list every time my parents would come to a teachers-parents meeting throughout my childhood and teenage years.

Born into a family of professors, I had the enormous luck of growing in the university campus where my mom taught history, in particular, the revolutionary first years of the Turkish Republic.

Curiosity is what killed the cat, so much I know. However the same curiosity led me to learn and try many things, amongst which was learning Spanish, which to my parents was one of the many crazy ideas that I had, since a typical Turk would go for German or French. Especially if you come from a family like mine: my grandparents had immigrated to Germany in the famous “gast-arbeiter” years in the 60s and ended up never coming back to the mother land.

Here comes the rebel part.

While everyone was expecting me to study some kind of engineering, I ended up studying economics, which is something that no one-not even myself saw coming. The result was four years of intense studying, where I’d also take any minute I’d have free to work on my Spanish, in Instituto de Cervantes, where I was known as a renowned freak for languages.

After completing my studies, the job offers had started to pour in-since I held a degree in economics and were fluent in many languages. All of those promised great salaries, great executive career paths, fancy suits-all the Spiegel.

The rebel strikes back.

The fact that my poor father did not have a heart attack when I told him that I was accepting a temporary job offer (a 2 months contract, to be exact) from Instituto de Cervantes to work on an exhibition between La Alhambra and Topkapi Palace instead still astonishes me to this day.

Little did I know that those 2 months would eventually become 5 years and transform me into a literary translator from Spanish into Turkish and have me translate 10 novels by the age of 28.

In a moment where everyone taught that I’d be staying at Instituto de Cervantes until retirement-curiosity got the best of me yet again. I decided to learn modern Greek, since my grandmother had roots from an ancient Greek community from the Black Sea-an experience that opened me to the world of anthropology and cultural heritage.

My growing interest in cultural heritage took me on a new journey at the Turkish National Commission for UNESCO, where I was in charge of monitoring the implementation of the seven cultural conventions of the organization within my country. A challenging task that took me to several countries and gave me a firsthand experience of working in an international community.

As you may already imagine by now, the minute I was expected to settle at my exciting job, I applied and received the equivalent of a Fullbright scholarship from the most prestigious educational organization in Turkey and the scholarship was for no other school than IE Business School.

You can imagine my happiness after completing my master in international relations, when I received the chance to stay on board within the staff and work for the institution, which I’ve known from my Cervantes years to be one of the world’s most renowned business schools.

For me IE is a tiny United Nations, where you can meet nearly any one from any country you may or may not imagine. The cultural richness is also reflected in the business ethic, which relies on mutual conversation and understanding-two values so crucial yet so missing from many places within our world. Being part of the IE family goes way beyond than working as an admissions or program manager-it’s being part of an international family where each family member is trying their best with passion to make sure that you never stop growing both professionally and personally.

It’s an honor to be part of a young, dynamic, diverse and forward looking institution where every day is a new opportunity to learn something new. Reinventing higher education is not a simple marketing act, it is our day to day mission here at IE Business School.

For a curious rebel such as myself, I cannot think of a better home.

Bio: Deniz Torcu is the Director of Executive Programs within IE Business School Executive Education. She holds a degree in economics and two master degrees, in European Union Studies and International Relations. She identifies as Turk-although is always curious about her Greek-Georgian roots. Fluent in English, Spanish, Greek and German and highly ashamed of her rusty French, Deniz is currently thinking about a new language to conquer. She enjoys anything related to history, literature, politics, music, cinema and traveling.


Betty Yunlei Lu
MIM September 2017 Intake
President of IE Artificial Intelligence club From: Vancouver, Canada

Coming to IE is one of the best decisions I have made in life. Here I am not only able to embrace the values of cultural diversity, a cause I have believed in for many years, but also leverage my passion in new technologies and lead my club to discover the the fascinating world of AI.

I was born in China, and raised in Canada since a young age. For the past nine years, I have devoted myself into promoting the values of cultural diversity. In 2008, I co-founded and later became the president of a student organization called Byng Inclusion Club, with a mission to promote active citizenship and friendship among newcomers and students from various cultural backgrounds. During my years as president I organized over 50 school activities and 15 community events such as cross-cultural performances, workshops and fundraisers. The club grew from five members to over 300 registered members who collectively contributed 5000 community service hours.

From 2014 to 2015, I decided to take my social cause to a higher level. I joined the prestigious Miss World Canada Contest, whose mission is to discover “beauty with a purpose” to be charity ambassador for Canada. The platform allowed me to promote the values of cultural diversity and cross cultural understanding to more audience, with the support of many student and community organizations as well as media attention. One of the biggest events I organized that year was named ‘Harmony in Action – Multicultural Engagement Gala and Fundraiser’. The 3-hour event consisted of a series of cultural performances and attracted over 500 attendees, raising over $10,000 for charity. In May 2015, I had the honor to become 1st Runner Up of Miss World Canada, and continued to dedicated into many philanthropic activities.

During the same year, I was so lucky to meet my Mr. Right, Brian Yadu Yang, to whom I am engaged three months before we come to IE to pursue graduate studies together. Brian worked as a senior investment manager at Silicon Valley Venture Capital, Plug and Play Tech Centre, and invested extensively in new technology companies, especially artificial intelligence start-ups. Brian’s enthusiasm in AI greatly influenced me to also develop a strong passion in the area, which inspired us to create an AI Club at IE University.

Artificial Intelligence is an inevitable trend in our era and is widely used in many fields, such as ADAS, AI Chatbot and Face Recognition. With the help of a talented team of co-founders (Liuyun X., Catherine L., Brian Y., Alex L. and Suzane W.) and IE Campus Life, we established the IE AI Club within one month of arrival in Madrid. Our club’s objective is to educate our members about the business opportunities in this field and equip them with the AI knowledge they need to know to prepare for the ever more demanding workforce. On November 8th, we held a successful AIcebreaker event, and will be holding another event in the upcoming week. AI Club is our team’s IE blueprint, and we hope to keep up this blueprint for as long as the world needs new technology transformation like artificial intelligence.

Bio: Betty Yunlei Lu is a MIM Candidate at IE Business School and the president of IE Artificial Intelligence Club. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with dual bachelor specialization in Finance and International Business. Born in China and raised in Canada, Betty has a diverse cultural and educational background, having studied in Canada, US, Spain, China, UK, France and Czech Republic. She is a devoted student leader, award-winning dance teacher and cultural diversity ambassador. She is also 1st Runner Up of 2015 Miss World Canada and Winner of 2014 China International Model Contest.


Maria de la Peña
Responsible for Interlibrary Loan
From: Madrid, Spain

I love working with information, performing searches on internet and discover new things I’m interested on… and also I’m an avid movie goer and lover, and thus so from time to time I read film magazines, and back then I even had the chance to go to a two or three film press conferences and movie sessions for critics. When I had to decide what I wanted to study at university while talking with my cousins about the pros and cons of the careers I had in mind, with their help then I had it clear, Library and Information Sciences, it looked like the best way to combine both passions.

My goal while studying the career was to work at the archive of a production company or film magazine, and at that time my thought was that I’d NEVER wanted to work at a library as, even at college, it had that old book store, old woman with glasses falling down her nose and hushing feeling for me. But you never know what life has in store…

In 2011 after coming back from Sweden for my Erasmus and whlie finishing my Final Master Project, a very good friend of mine from college told me that her fellow time here at IE Library was coming to an end and that if I was interested in doing a fellow period. I thought that I could give it a try as it was a fellow period and in a very good place. Also as of yet I didn’t have any professional practice in libraries whereas in other areas I had, and being an information professional, of course I had to try everything I had the chance to in order to get to know as much as possible, because you know, professional deflection.

Then, when I started working at the IE Library was when things got interesting for me. Being here has shown me that it doesn’t matter how many experience you think you have (on anything), everything will have its twist. I learnt that libraries are not book warehouses, we have more of an information provider role if you want, and yes, libraries can have cutting edge technologies and having them has sense indeed.

That’s what I love the most of IE Library, it’s bet on technologies, which has shown me that resources now are everywhere and on every format. This has allowed me to represent the IE Library and IE as well in quite a number of places here in Spain and abroad as well while presenting our technologies such as My IE Library APP, the concept of Vertical Library, IE Tags Beat, Smart Libraries… I can assure that we are one of the first libraries on implementing those technologies and we have inspired others with them.

Also, on a more personal note, what I love not from the IE Library but from all IE is its international environment. I love travelling and meeting new people from all over the world, so I was really happy to be able to continue that here. I really love having such a close interaction with students, professors and staff and to exchange ideas or just a small talk, that’s one of the best parts of my job here for me. Of course everything can be up for improvement, but I think that the human touch never should be lost, and that we have it here. See you at the Library!

Bio: María de la Peña studied Library and Information Sciences at Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain), completing her master degree in Sweden at Borås University. While studding for her degree she worked on several internships on different companies, giving her a wider look and experience on librarianship, archives and documentation. In 2011 she started working at IE Business School Library; where she has been able to get experience on all the processes involving the library management such as cataloguing, acquisitions, circulation, interlibrary loan, communication or user training. She currently is developing a PhD on documentation at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid with a study on the last 40 years of documentation of the Latin American and Caribbean section of IFLA.



Patricia Morales: one of the “veterans” of IE

Written on November 2, 2017 by Campus Life in IE Stories

Patricia Morales
Executive Director of Master Programs at HST
From: Madrid, Spain

I can proudly declare that I am one of the ‘veterans’ at IE. I still recall my first day at work as Program Assistant of the International MBA program. Since the first moment I felt captured by the diversity and quality of our student body. Back then there were only 100 students in the program and we had to take attendance every morning. It gave us the opportunity to learn their names and start building a relationship with them. This is what I always have liked the most about my work: to have the opportunity to help and guide the students and also to learn from them about their different cultures, religions and behaviors. I have had the honor and pleasure of seeing many groups of amazing students graduate and I still get moved even today when students receive their diplomas during graduation. We know how much time and effort they have devoted to achieving their goal and we feel we have an important role in contributing to their success.

I have been developing my professional career at IE for the last 17 years in a range of different positions. First at IE Business School and more recently at the IE School of Human Sciences and Technology. I feel happy to be part of HST – this growing, ambitious and innovative School with a lot of projects in its portfolio. In my role as Executive Director of Master Programs at HST, I coordinate a team of fantastic people. This is the most challenging but enriching part of my work. We all work hard to enhance our students’ experience and make it unforgettable. Our motto at HST is “tough love”.

On a more personal level I can share with you that I am married and I have two children, a boy of 17, and a girl of 14. Last July my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Now that our children are more independent and we have more free time, we like to spend our leisure time travelling by motorbike. What I most enjoy in these road travels is to be in contact with nature and discover new picturesque small villages and landscapes. Also it gives us the opportunity to meet new people that also shares the passion for motorbikes. I am also passionate about cinema. I like to go to the cinema at least twice a month, alone or with my daughter.

During my years at IE, I have witnessed the enormous growth and transformation our institution, but I feel that despite all of this change, our main values remain the same: diversity, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and a humanistic approach. This mix is what make us different and unique. I still feel it is a privilege to be part of this community.

Bio: Patricia Morales de Setién is the Executive Director of Master Programs at IE’s School of Human Sciences and Technology (HST). She is responsible for coordinating the operational team and working closely with the Deans and Vice-Deans of the school to identify and implement operational excellence among HST’s diverse Masters programs, Patricia holds a BA in Psychology from Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, as well as an Executive Master in Business Administration from IE Business School, and an MA in Human Resources from ESIC.

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