Posts Tagged ‘IE Stories#8217;


Gabriela Alvarado
Doctor in Business Administration
IE Business School
Associate Dean of MBA programs, ITAM
From: Mexico

I have always believed that higher education has the power to transform the lives of individuals by providing them with the required knowledge, skills and values to contribute to the development of better organizations truly committed to building a better world. This is why I have worked at ITAM, one of the leading universities in Mexico, for the last 24 years of my life.

I started at ITAM as a marketing professor at the undergraduate level and a few years later I joined the group of professors who teach in the MBA and Executive Education programs. The marketing professors team really wanted to have an impact beyond the classroom so we launched a marketing magazine aimed at executives in the late 90’s which was distributed throughout the country and merged with Dirección Estratégica, ITAM’s business magazine after 11 years. In 2003, I was appointed Associate Dean of MBA programs and was fortunate to lead the launch of ITAM’s first three MBAs with international partners and residencies abroad.

Nine years ago, ITAM supported me to study a Doctorate in Business Administration at IE Business School and it was when I had the privilege to start being part of the IE community. I was so excited to study in one of the top business schools of the world! My professors and my mentor at IE taught me what it meant to be a true scholar through their living example and unwavering enthusiasm and inspired me to start my research on business education around the world.

This year, as part of my sabbatical, I spent five months at IE writing a book about the future of management education in Latin America and actively participating in some initiatives for two of the current IE business school’s programs: one aimed at young professionals and the other for senior managers. I am very happy to have had the opportunity to be involved in a project devoted to form the leaders of the future and another to support present leaders with the challenges facing organizations and societies nowadays with a forward-thinking.

But above all, I feel extremely fortunate for the opportunity to better know IE people, learn from them and develop lifelong relationships with them. Every single day, I was impressed by their remarkable leadership, passion, generosity, high-level thinking and way of understanding the current and future challenges confronting business education. After these months, I fell completely in love with IE and its people. They are truly committed to reinventing higher education for a better world!

Bio: Gabriela Alvarado is the Associate Dean of MBA programs at ITAM, Mexico, where she also teaches Marketing Management and Marketing Research at the graduate level. She holds the degrees of Doctor in Business Administration from IE Business School, and MBA and B.S. in Actuarial Science from ITAM. Gabriela was part of the team who developed the Executive MBA, Global MBA, and Americas MBA programs at ITAM and is also the publisher of Dirección Estratégica, ITAM’s business magazine. Her research examines the influence that international accreditations and global rankings exert on business schools’ strategies and actions and currently she is writing a book about management education in Latin America.


Isabel Macías Núñez
Associate Director of Communications at IE Business School
From: Spain

After completing my Bachelor in Journalism, I decided to do a Master in Corporate Communication at IE because I thought it would equip me with further essential tools before joining the professional world. At the time I had no idea of how IE was going to change my life.

I have been passionate about reading and writing since I was a child. This passion has been extremely helpful in terms of personal development, as well as on a professional level. Hence, last year I was delighted to discover initiatives like the IE Foundation Prizes in the Humanities, which encouraged students and alumni to participate in a totally different form of competition to what is considered normal in business schools. After participating in last year’s edition, what really impressed me was meeting IE students from other programs, from other schools, with the same passion for prose, poetry, photography, video … It was wonderful to realize that there was also a place for us at IE.

I like to compare IE with literature because they have both offered me the option of traveling to unknown places, observing and learning from the behavior of people, and developing my creativity, among many other things.

Today, in a society that lives at a dizzying pace, I believe that the fact that IE promotes the humanities as a fundamental complement to business education is even more significant. I feel very fortunate to be part of a community with a strong commitment to the humanities. I am also very happy to be able to pursue my two passions in a place as dynamic, flexible and cool as IE!

Bio: Isabel holds a Bachelor of Journalism from Complutense University (Madrid) and a Master in Corporate Communication from IE School of Human Sciences and Techonlogy. Isabel currently works as an Associate Director of Communications at IE Business School. 


Joël McConnell
Director for Europe and Central Asia
IE International Development Department
From: Vancouver, Canada

Originally from Vancouver, I grew up in English speaking part of the country but in a French-speaking home – something that would later prove very helpful when I moved to Spain and had to learn Spanish, my third language. When it came time to go to university I chose to move to Montréal, a city where I could study my Bachelor of Commerce in English, but live in a city where I could also speak my other language. At university I was very involved in student life, having held many student government positions and being part of the case competition initiative we had in place, where senior-year bachelor students were sent out in groups, all over the globe, to compete in competitions against other top schools.  When it came time to move into the working world, I joined a corporate rotational program in the financial services sector, and I shared the next 3 years or so between the US and Canada, before joining the MBA program at IE Business School – which looking back now, was probably one of the smarter professional decisions I’ve made to date.  What I didn’t know was that my move to Madrid would be a permanent one!

Since arriving in Madrid, I’ve not only completed several master and executive courses at IE, but I’ve also completed senior leadership programs at Judge Business School (University of Cambridge) and Saïd Business School (University of Oxford), but more recently at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business as well.  And it’s not only been about studying! I also lead market development and marketing initiatives at a successful industrial process automation company, held senior leadership positions at the IEEE –  a global engineering standards organization, completed an internship in Senegal in microfinance via the joint venture of the CRS and Caritas, and perhaps most importantly, built a successful career at IE via three roles: Director of Financial Aid, and then both Director for Asia Pacific and Director for Europe, within our International Development Department.  An added and important benefit of the roles I’ve held since moving to Madrid is that all of them have allowed me to travel extensively, all over the globe. Today, I’ve travelled to 58 countries worldwide, and perhaps as importantly, given my work at IE, I’m in constant contact with top professionals from all over the world – something that makes my work particularly enriching.

As part of the leadership team of the International Development Department at IE, I’m contributing incrementally to the building of the IE brand globally, thereby strengthening the relationships the institution has with our alumni, corporate and institutional partners, and making IE the first-choice school for degrees that are characterized by a strong focus on technology and innovation, regardless of the field of study, and by an well rounded experience that is infused with unmatched diversity and a real focus on entrepreneurship. We’re leading new projects that bring us closer to top global organizations, partner schools, and companies, and engaging with top regional events such as the Nordic Business Forum in Finland, FT events across the region, European Business Forum in Denmark, OECD Summits in France, and the Drucker Forum in Austria, among many others. Our next big opportunity will be to reinvent and position ourselves around the IE Exponential Learning portfolio of programs, which includes not only an updated executive education courses, but more innovative programs such as our High Impact Online Programs (HiOPs) and Bootcamp offering – short, technology focused programs that were initially pioneered by organizations like General Assembly, but that increasingly leading business schools are offering as a complement to their degree-based programs.  And we’ve got lots in store for the coming year, so stay tuned and join us at one of the more than 1000 activities we organize across Europe and Central Asia every year, events that are lead by the 7 offices and 25 members of my team.  IE is a top-ranked school, but we lead through actions that demonstrate real innovation and true focus on providing better learning and professional development experiences to our students, and after graduation, to our alumni.

Bio: Joel has worked in Field Operations at Novartis and Fleet Management at Enterprise, and completed the Headquarters Rotational Program at Edward Jones Investments before joining the MBA at IE.  From a study perspective he completed the Global MBA, Executive Master in Finance, and the Luxury Management EDP at IE before completing a Certificate in Strategic Performance Management at Cambridge, the Postgraduate Diploma in Global Business at Oxford, and most recently, he completed the Global Senior Management Program at Chicago-Booth. Some of the more exciting and far-flung places he has particularly enjoyed travelling to include Mongolia, New Zealand, Georgia, and Colombia.


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:

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