When the IE Brown Executive MBA March 2012 intake began we interviewed a few of the participants to understand why they chose the program and what they expected to get out of the experience. Gregorie Perez, Executive Director at Gifts and Graces in Manila, was one of the participants we interviewed (see the original interview here). Fifteen months later Joël McConnell, IE’s Director of International Development for Asia Pacific, caught up with Gregorie in Madrid to see how the program went.
JM: Gregorie, first of all congratulations for your graduation! What have been your personal highlights of the program?
GP: Overall, I’m more than satisfied with the program and I’m really proud and happy at having completed this big step in my professional career. For me, the best parts of the program were primarily:
1) The friendships I have developed with classmates, as it really was an honor to have been part of such a diverse cohort
2) Madrid (which is a wonderful city in October, but is even better in June!)
3) Having been part of such an innovative program that really does allow students to gain a broader perspective, better their critical thinking skills, and also acquire hard business skills too.
At the same time, I have to be frank that the program wasn’t easy! The final exam presented a big challenge, especially as the case assigned was only provided 30 days before graduation. Concretely, the final exam focused on a PPP project between the Brazilian government and GSK, specifically surrounding the dengue epidemic. While we had to use the case to showcase everything we learned during the program, we had to present our recommended course of action as if we were GSK employees, no easy feat!
JM: That sounds like an exciting finale of the program! What would be your top recommendations for potential candidates applying to an MBA at IE?
GP: Be yourself, especially during the admissions interview. The admissions process at IE is very interactive, and it is as much about the school choosing you as it is about you choosing IE. Being yourself will help both sides gauge whether you’re a good fit for the program at IE. When completing the application form, use the essay components to differentiate yourself.
If you are admitted to the program, keep in mind IE handpicks its program participants and if you were chosen, there is some special value you bring as a student on the course. So, be generous once you’re in and share your expertise and knowledge with your peers. Being overly competitive can be counterproductive in innovative programs like the IE Brown Executive MBA, the idea is to learn from the program and your (very experienced) peers. The master degree is not just about getting an education, it’s about a “whole” experience – something you’re more likely to get at a top European school. But keep in mind also that by doing the IE Brown Executive MBA, you get the benefit of being an alumnus of both a top European school and a top US school.
JM: Now being alumni with a lot of sudden free time, what are your next plans?
GR: Well, I’m off to see the best of Spain, France and Italy. When I return to the Philippines, I will dedicate myself primarily to developing a design lab at Gifts and Graces. I expect to apply my knowledge from the MBA with regards to creating and managing the lab, and I will use crowd-sourced funding to fund this project. In fact, if someone is interested in learning more about the lab and how to participate in the funding process, they can see here for more information.
My passion and mission is to make a real difference in my local community.