Karel Lanoo – IE International Relations Club

Written on March 24, 2014 by Campus Life in Professional

Last February 2014, the IE Club of International Relations had the chance to host the financial market expert Karel Lannoo. During an hour, the CEO of the Centre for European Policy Studies and Independent Director of the “Bolsas y Mercados Españoles” presented us “The Great Plumbing: from Northern Rock to Bankia”. His presence gave the chance to the student to understand the current financial market policies and how they impact each national and European economy. His presentation terminated with a session of Q&A through which the students had the opportunity to further learn on the topic in the area of their interest.


The 4th Annual IE Africa Day

Written on March 19, 2014 by Campus Life in Geographic

RDR_9684On Tuesday, 25 February, 2014 the IE Africa Club hosted the 4th annual Africa Day. This is a day that places emphasis on the dynamic nature of business and opportunities on the continent. As previous years have been focused on understanding the nature of opportunities in Africa, this year the theme was “How to build and sustain business in Africa” because for all the opportunity there is, only a few have been able to create businesses that last and continuously grow in this unique environment. We had several guest speakers from various industries such as FMCG, Consulting, Energy, Finance and ICT, participate and shed light on their experiences of the business climate and how they have managed to build successful business on the continent. The event also included participation from a number of initiatives targeting the continent at IE Business School such as Emzingo and Financieros sin Fronteras.

RDR_9496The event started off with a few words from Gayle Allard, the club’s faculty mentor who introduced the president of the IE Africa Club, Octavia Manaka, along with other coordinators of the club: Jeanine Muokwe, Armando Belchior Nunes, Michael Burke, Antoine Abi Kanaan, Onyekachi Eke and Stuart Blyth. She thanked them for their hard work and commitment to hosting this event and others, in an effort to engage others in relevant discussions pertaining to business on the continent. She also spoke of new initiatives that students can participate in such as the annual summer trip to Ethiopia where students are immersed into the culture while contributing to local communities.

This was followed by a presentation from the Director of Financieros sin Fronteras, Maria Luque, who spoke about the efforts of the NGO in addressing the need for microfinance in Ghana. The NGO empowers individuals to overcome challenges by single sustainable capitalism and involves finance students of IE pursuing multiple projects in Ghana and transferring their skills and knowledge.

RDR_9558 (Medium)As interest in working in Africa from both African and non-African students is on the rise, the Africa CV Book was officially launched and Careers in Africa presented on the nature of opportunities for work on the continent. They were well informed and did an excellent job in addressing all the questions students had around work permits, labor laws and career growth on the continent. The session highlighted that the continent has significant potential and career opportunities, however there is still a lack of skilled labor even with the increasing number of diaspora returning to the continent.

After this presentation, the Dean of IE Business School and the President of IE University, Mr. Santiago Íñiguez, officially welcomed all the guests and speakers and started the second part of the event.

RDR_9567 (Medium)Ms. Sofia Cerqueira Serra, a lawyer from Morais Leitao Galvao Teles, shared her learnings from her experience working in Mozambique and Angola. She provided insights on the legal framework for investments in the 2 countries and regulatory requirements of the oil and gas sector. She spoke of the challenges they faced in being a law firm from Portugal when working on the continent and how they viewed these as opportunities. She pointed out that the nature of these challenges did not significantly differ from what they have encountered in other emerging and developed countries.

RDR_9586 (Medium)Following this we were honored to receive an exclusive preview of the Africa Retail Development Index: Seizing the African Retail Opportunity from Mr. Jose Ignacio Nieto Puertas, Partner at AT Kearney Madrid. The ARDI uses a set of tools to analyze macro-economic and retail specific variables to identify and rank countries on the continent on their potential for retail expansion. The report was rather insightful and informed the audience on the business climate in Africa and why some countries are more conducive to retail expansion than others. This report will be officially launched in March 2014 and made available on the website of the company.

Our keynote speaker, Mr. William Egbe, Group Director Sustainability, Strategy & Planning of The Coca-Cola Company captivated the audience by offering a realistic perspective on how to approach business on the continent and depicted how the unique nature of community and culture on the continent is not a challenge but rather a valuable asset. He highlighted 6 pillars necessary to building and sustaining successful business on the continent namely:

RDR_9615 (Medium)Local Partners, as they understand the local environment and become endorsers of your brand.

Long Term Perspective, where no matter the challenges faced today, one needs to remember that the demand is great and will exist long into the future thus significantly diminishing the costs of risks in comparison to the long-term gains.

Continuous Improvement, by building on what you’ve learnt and developing processes and components of the business in context of a continuously changing environment

Create Value to Drive Distribution by ensuring that you are creating shared value for all participants of your supply chain, as this will ensure your product keeps moving.

Social Investment, as no company can succeed in communities where people don’t have the basics and can’t afford to buy the product the company is selling, it is of great importance to help improve communities and empower them to provide for themselves in order for business to be sustainable.

RDR_9629 (Medium)Brand Building because the brand helps mass markets filter through the numerous products they are flooded with to identify quality. Coca-Cola’s managed to get its product to every corner of the continent by building its brand and integrating it into the local culture so successfully that the product moves itself to places where formal supply chains wouldn’t be effective.

Mr. Jorge Portillo of Abengoa took us through some of the projects that the company has invested in across the continent, primarily South Africa. He highlighted the potential for renewable energy projects, especially solar in specific sunny regions, as having the ability to increase access to electricity while keeping the costs of energy at competitive levels. He also spoke of the benefits that the continent would enjoy from desalinization of plants.

RDR_9642 (Medium)Ms. Reine Essobmadjie, the founder of Evolving Consulting, which operates primarily in Cameroon and France, and co-founder of NGO ICT4MDG, presented her opinion on the current state of the ICT sector on the continent. She identified the fragmented nature of the market as a key obstacle that also provided significant opportunity through consolidation. She provided a few suggestions on how best to develop the sector in the market and provide better access for Africa’s significant population. She also spoke of her role and how her company helps in filling the gaps through training and capacity building, hosting events and providing rewards and recognition for efforts in the sector.

RDR_9653 (Medium)Guest speaker, Mr. Kim Allen Barkan, presented on “Entrepreneurship in Africa- Lessons from a Marx, Rhodes and Rockefeller”.

RDR_9658 (Medium)Mr. Pablo Esteves introduced the audience to Emzingo, a business created by IE Alumni with an aim to inspire responsible leadership, prepare individuals to tackle global challenges and connect business to the citizen sector.  The business has multiple programs, one of which involves social consulting projects in South Africa. This is an amazing cause that helps professionally tackle social challenges while developing leaders’ social conscious.

A cocktail ended off what had been an insightful day, and the audience had the opportunity to interact with some of the speakers and other distinguished guests. The turnout at this event was the greatest seen since the initiative began 4 years ago and speaks to the rapidly increasing interest in business on the continent. The overwhelming support from speakers who were keen to present and discuss multiple topics regarding the continent, is a clear indication that 1 afternoon is not enough to address the dynamic nature of business on the continent.

You can visit the full gallery of photos of the event HERE.


The 4th Edition of IE Digital Forum

Written on March 7, 2014 by Campus Life in Professional

IML_2357On January 30th, IE held the 4th Edition of IE Digital Forum, the main event about Technology and Innovation at IE Business School.

Organized by Fernando Esteve, Vikas Sheth and The IE Technology & Innovation Club, the event counted with professionals from well know companies like Écija, Deloitte, Indra, Altran, Oracle, IBM, Acciona, Ideagoras, Amadeus and Accenture.

IE Digital Forum is the event where you can learn about the last trends in Technology and Innovation directly from the actors that shape them.  The event, held completely in English, was organized in 3 panels, preceded with an introductory speech by Fernando Esteve and Vikas Sheth, organizers of the event and alumni and student representatives of the club.

Panel 1: Trending Topics in Technology and Innovation

The objective of this panel was to discuss about state-of-the-art technologies and nnovations.

The panel started with the speech by Teresa Pereyra, Senior Associate of Privacy and Information Technology at Écija, who talked about “Trending IT legal aspects”.

“Each technical solution”, Teresa said, “appears as an answer to a need, as a solution to a problem but, once developed, it has to exceed the obstacle that implies the business and customer’s legal compliance. It is there where IT law enters, to provide with complementary solutions to transform technological solutions into legal and viable technologies”.

IML_2363“IT law is and will always be an inseparable and necessary companion of any technology and innovation trend”.

The panel continued with Óscar Rozalén, Director IT Strategy/Operation/Transformation-Technology at Deloitte, who talked about “The Digital Race”, about how the information demand has increased enormously, that “we, the customers, have changed: we do not have time and we require ubiquitous and immediate services”.

Óscar explained how analytics are the answer to these new requirements and that it provides intelligence to this massive amount of information.

To finish the panel, Alejandro Pérez Candela, Head of Smart Cities and Urban Traffic Solutions Department at Indra, introduced the “Smart City” concept as “cities that use innovation and connectivity to provide a model that enhances economic and political administration”. “It implies the definition of a new city model, with a dynamic long term vision, where people receive relevant information, immediately and with the new participating services that they require”.

IML_2497Panel 2: Setting up a new innovation environment

The objective of this panel was to discuss the difficulty of introducing new improvements and new technology in order to increase creativity and productivity in companies and society.

The panel started with Teresa Hernández, Innovation Partner at Altran, who talked about Innovation as making new things, offering new products and services, and providing value. Furthermore, she explained that these objectives can be achieved by applying the Innovation Canvas Model which “allows you to ask yourself the proper questions”

Then, Javier Torres, Business Operations and Demand Generation Director in Oracle, talked about Innovation and the impact of data in business.

“The data volume is increasing at high speed. The source of this data is different and, as long as new applications appear, it continues growing. Also, that data is unstructured”. That is why, “we need systems that can analyze that data, provide relevant information and the ability to provide that information when needed”.

To finish the panel, Miguel Ángel Martín, Big Data sales Leader at IBM, explained the future beyond Big Data. “We are in an early stage for Big Data Technology, an opportunity of future development, that allows creating systems that will learn by themselves by analytics and that will be able to propose valid solutions”.

IML_2511Panel 3: Digital Identity

The objective of this panel was to discuss marketing and how it can be developed through the use of technology.

The panel started with the speech by Ángel González, Founder & CEO at Ideagoras, who said that “companies are no longer the owners of their brands”.

“In a connected world, collaboration economy appears: collaboration is key”. “Brands have gone social”. “A social brand is to be co-created by the audience, listening and with dialogue”. “In order to build strong brands, you need the audience to participate in its co-creation”.

Nerea García, Head of Talent Acquisition at Acciona, talked about “Digital Identity of HR”.

“Traditionally, companies used to hide company knowledge and kept it inside: internal trainings, internal knowledge sharing…”

This is the point where Acciona started a travel that implied deep transformations on the company where “employees are taught to chat about the company through social networks”.

This way, “Employees are company’s best ambassadors on the web”.

Luigi Battista, Head of Business Development in WEMEA at Amadeus, talked about “technology trends in the travel industry”.

“Travelers want to have a (travel) plan their own way. Usually, we visit several websites to plan a trip and we get many results”.  We like flexibility. In a digital world, “less is better”, we need to provide relevant information, especially when it comes to mobile devices. Companies use data, obtained through user navigation in web sites, to offer related information.

“Technology will allow performing semantic searches, in which no specific word is searched but the meaning of the whole sentence, to access user-context related content and C2C (Consumer To Consumer), business where consumers offer services to others, like car sharing…”


Mariano Prieto, Business Consultancy Director for Airlines at Indra and member of IE Technology & Innovation Club talked about “LATAM Airlines’ ecommerce strategy definition”.

Mariano explained the merge of TAM and LAN airlines and how technology allowed the efficient use of resources and the appearance of blended strategies for sales development.

We reached the end of the panel with David López Diaz, Digital Business Manager in Financial Services at Accenture, who talked about the use of technology in the banking industry. “There is no business without trust in the banking sector” and “it is damaged”.

Banking industry faces several challenges (business intelligence, social media and digital ecosystem)” and it should use “SoLoMo” (Social, Local, Mobile) strategies to “attend to the new customer behaviour”.


Last but not least, Santiago Íñiguez, the Dean of the IE Business School, took the word to thank this “initiative from students to students”, and the followers through social media and the variety of shared ideas.


Out of the Box: Innovation Thinking

Written on March 5, 2014 by Campus Life in Geographic

2014-02-26 20.29.50On Wednesday, February 26, the IE Israel Club Madrid Chapter collaborated with the Jewish Business Club of Madrid and hosted Mr. Niv Harel, CEO of Holmes Place, Spain. Holmes Place is a worldwide health clubs chain with more than 270,000 subscriptions. The Chain is branded in the high market and offers a unique sport experience.

Lecturing on “inspiring people to move”, Mr. Harel dealt with how to inspire and motivate people to live a better life. He used the metaphor of inspiring people to live a better life in order to explain how to motivate your employee and customers to follow your way; How to lead a company’s vision on the daily operating activities.

We learned that in order to create a sustainable company, it has to define “why the company does, rather than what it does” – and not only to acknowledge the message, but also to live by it – everyday.

2014-02-26 21.50.31Mr. Harel shared with us Holmes Place’s way of inspiring their vision on a daily basis by the following:

•         Reminding your vision everyday
•         Sharing inspiring stories
•         Asking your customer for feedback on a weekly basis
•         Leading by example

We were honored to host Mr. Harel for sharing his point of view as well as his philosophy for inspiring and leading people.

If you want to hear more, learn more and to get updates on our events, join our mailing list at israel.club@ie.edu and like us on our Facebook page.


Creating an LGBT friendly work space

Written on February 26, 2014 by Campus Life in Professional

RDR_8761The Embassy of the United States of America and IEOut Club had the privilege to organize an event focused on the best inclusion practices for LGBTIQ diversity. Professor Timothy V. Kane gave us his inspiring and committed insights about the topic. He made the conversation very participative, and he focused on the three main targets to create a safe place to work… or to study.

Advancing LGBTIQ Diversity & Inclusion

The conversation covered social norms, policies, procedures, laws and funding. We discussed sometimes very easy to implement and even inexpensive measures, such as controlling communications: words and images in internal and external messages, affinity groups (like IEOut Club) or neutral bathrooms, which is still an issue in Spain, but not outside our borders:

Beyond binaries

RDR_8721The world is not black or white anymore, man or woman, gay or straight, diversity is diverse when we talk about sexual and gender identities. Kane explained the audience the differences between biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual behavior and sexual orientation. If you think it is complex, imagine the three variable combinations of each of them!

Giving voice to all values

Later on in the conference we discussed the challenges and rewards of going out of the closet and the power of allies.
We played a game in which we had to choose the more powerful LGBTIQ ally from:

• President Obama
• Sasha and Malia Obama
• Madonna
• You

Watch this video before making your guess! You can find the answer from the minute 4:10:

Professor Kane also left us some very powerful resources:

www.givingvoicetoallvaluesthebook.com (a book by Mary Gentile)

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