17
Jul

The eternal formula

Written on July 17, 2013 by Dirk Hopfl in IE News

 

Cristina Bondolowski, IE alumae 1995

Ideas, the IE Alumni Magazine, interviewed Cristina Bondolowski, VP Global Brands at Coca-Cola Company and IE Master in Marketing graduate from 1995:

“The most important thing is to have very clear ideas and then get things done instead of worrying about them.” This is the philosophy Cristina Bondolowski has successfully applied at each of the challenges she has faced to become world executive director of the most famous soft drink on the planet: Coca-Cola. Always with the same work formula: “Kicking into action when I face a challenge”

After working under a fellowship at IBM during the last two years of her degree, graduating in Business Administration at CEU San Pablo and completing an MBA at IE Business School, her interest in marketing took her to companies that included Estrella Seguros, Pepsico, Universal & Paramount Video Pictures, and Colgate-Palmolive, “where there was a school exclusively for marketing”, on her way to Coca-Cola at the end of the 1990s. She started working as manager of one of the company’s products (Sprite) and later became the brand’s director in Spain. She was then promoted to director of the fizzy drinks business unit in the same subsidiary.

Since May 2008, she has controlled Coca-Cola’s global development strategy in the 207 markets in which it operates. Has so much responsibility ever made you feel giddy?

If I’m honest, it has never made me feel giddy. First of all because we are all directors of the Coca-Cola brand because we all have an opinion about it. I always say that Coca-Cola is like the economy: everyone wants to give their opinion and they do so because they are interested and that is a very good starting point. And, of course, you feel very protected when you have so many brand directors outside and inside the company. The main challenge has been how to lead those points of view in the direction I want them to go. And it has never made me feel giddy because when the company offers you a position like that, it’s because they think you are capable. Perhaps one of the things Spanish directors often lack is the ability to believe in themselves. When you go elsewhere and start working with people from other cultures, you realise they believe in themselves much more than we do. In the end, the company takes its decisions on the back of a great deal of experience. They have seen your work, you have achieved results in your starting country (in my case, Spain) and they select you because they want the way you understand the business, the brand, marketing and team leadership to be applied and transmitted on a global scale. Read more…

12
Jul

Team Work – Love it or Hate it?

Written on July 12, 2013 by Dirk Hopfl in IE News

Michael Jordan might be the greatest basketball player of all time. In 1986-87, he had one of the most prolific scoring seasons in NBA history, scoring over 3,000 points. But from 1987-1990 Jordan had an Achilles heel, the Pistons. The Bulls met and lost to the Pistons in the Playoffs for three consecutive seasons. All that changed in the 1990-1991 season when the Bulls beat the Pistons in a surprising sweep. So what do Jordan and the Bulls have to do with IE?

Let me explain.

Some say that a part of the Bull’s success is because Jordan changed from an individual on a team to a player leading a team. And if there’s one thing you should know about IE, is that it loves group work.

Group work is synonymous with class work.

But with people from all around the world working together in stressful environments, sometimes this doesn’t always go down so well; expect possible conflicts, and expect a lot of them. True, you might be blessed with a group with none at all, like vultures on diets eager to share, but chances are slim. You’re more likely to find yourself in a group where someone or several people have completely different working styles compared to your own. When you want to go “left”, some might want to go “right”, and vice versa. However, together you have to figure out how to go straight which often is easier said than done. But it’s a great way to learn for all. “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

I think the two most important things I have learned so far are:

It’s important to become friends with the people in your group

Sound silly? It’s not. You’re far more willing to go the extra mile on a group project for someone you consider a friend; and you’re also far more likely to actually pay attention to what they have to say.

Just because you think you are right, it doesn’t mean they’re wrong

As I see it for now, group work isn’t about proving who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s about getting the job done the best way possible; and although I might sound like I know exactly what I’m talking about, I assure you, I don’t; I’m still learning, a lot.

Some might say that IE gives it too much credit and puts too much focus on group work. I disagree; because if you can’t figure out how to work in a group when only your grades are on the line, how will you fare when you graduate and your job is on the line?

Group work, hate it or love it?

The most important thing is to make sure you learn from it.

First publish on IE Master in Management blog, written by Charles Oben.

9
Jul

Wings

Written on July 9, 2013 by Dirk Hopfl in IE News

Professors talk about all kinds of issues. Issues are not, however, remarkable in themselves, no matter how hot the topic might be. What makes them remarkable is the way you talk about them.

Operations professor Luis Solis is one of those people who truly believes not only in what he teaches but in whatever he is saying to you. Finding someone who still genuinely believes in what they are talking about makes you feel good, because you instinctively know when you are at the center of some seriously valuable attention. And isn’t being at the receiving end of attention the ultimate feel good factor?

I love it when he comes round in December with a bottle of tequila to share a shot with you to welcome the new year and bring you a piece of his beloved Mexico.

Don’t miss what he has to say about operations and how he became a pilot.

P.S. The title of the video comes from Wings, a silent film made in 1927 about fighter pilot friends in World War I . It was the first film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, and the only truly silent film to do so given that The Artist was not totally silent.

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First published on The Other Side | By Felix Validvieso

 

4
Jul

2,020 start-ups for Madrid 2020

Written on July 4, 2013 by Dirk Hopfl in IE News

IE’s Area 31, the start-up incubator

Three of the startups – Top Around, Pathfinder and 3dPrintMe – developed by entrepreneurs from IE Business School´s Venture Lab Accelerator and Area 31 Incubator are among the 12 winning projects of the ‘2020 for 2020 Startup Madrid’ competition.

The overriding objective of the Madrid 2020 initiative is to showcase the talent of 2,020 entrepreneurs to help them find the funding and guidance they need to launch their businesses in sectors like technology and environmental sustainability  which will play a key role in the future of the city.

“We are delighted to see these startups get the recognition they deserve, these teams have gone from an idea to a validated product in a short space of time demonstrating their excellent capability to execute.  Entrepreneurship at IE is all about doing and these teams are a great representation of the entrepreneurial talent in Spain”, explains Liz Fleming, Deputy Director Venture Lab.

Top Around is a mobile App that helps those eager for knowledge to discover and listen to audio guides and GPS guided tours. It’s a technological platform for tourists loving audio guides, with crowdsourced content which is reviewed & rated by the users themselves. “Madrid 2020 provides us with a top-level media coverage, and positions Top Around as one of the key startups with the greatest potential in the Spanish and international markets in the tourism sector”, explains Daura Carball, Top Around co-founder.

Pathfinder is a social pinboard created to help entrepreneurs reach valuable information, according to their location, needs and main challenges. It’s a virtual space where startups and entrepreneurs could have real perspectives on the resources available curated available to them, such as useful articles, recommended books, events happening nearby, etc. “We’re working to create a better environment for startups and entrepreneurs”, explains Rui Delgado, Pathfinder co-founder. “We’re extremely excited to be one of the 12 startups selected in the first generation of ‘2020 for 2020 Startup Madrid’. It’s not only a challenge for us, but also for Madrid to be able to help 2020 entrepreneurs before the year 2020. Since our startup’s mission is to motivate an entrepreneurial culture, it’s an honor to represent all the potential that Madrid has to offer to the startup world”.

3dPrintMe! is a collaborative platform that enables users to create customized products. The platform makes it possible to share creations with other users, modify, customize, and sell them, thanks to the new possibilities of 3D printing technology. “We are very interested in Madrid 2020 Olympic Bid for the shared values between entrepreneurs and olympic athletes: energy, sacrifice, passion, competition, perseverance, with the sole objective of reaching the goal as winner. We think we can learn a lot from this experience and we are delighted to represent the entrepreneurial talent that Spain has and should spread throughout the world”, explains Silvia Paredes.

1
Jul

Floydcounting

Written on July 1, 2013 by Dirk Hopfl in IE News

Hey, you! As the song goes…

You don’t expect an accountancy professor to be much fun, do you? Well, the beauty of life consists of expecting the unexpected. It was an absolute pleasure to listen to Prof. Trombetta talking not only about the dark side of numbers and financial literacy, but also about one of his favorite bands, namelyPink Floyd.

Basically what happened was that I was given a crash course on the band, in Cambridge of all places, as well as brushing up on music in general. This guy loves to go around buying LPs. He bought six, and none of them was by Pink Floyd for the simple reason that he already has all of theirs.

Check out Prof. Trobetta playing the piano!!! And remember, if you need to balance your books, or just fancy a chat about music and life in general, you know who to go to…!

P.S.: Here is a recommendation: Don´t miss Searching for Sugar Man, Documentary Oscar 2013.

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First published on The Other Side | By Felix Valdivieso

 

29
Jun

The MBA is about inspiration and electricity!

Written on June 29, 2013 by Dirk Hopfl in IE News

Germano Air ChinaSome of IE Business School’s most outstanding alumni are working in Asia, and this week Joël McConnell, IE’s Director of International Development for Asia Pacific, caught up with Germano Rollero: an International MBA graduate based in Beijing who is currently working for one of China’s major civilian aviation companies.

JM: What brought you to China, and what are you doing professionally right now?
GR: I came to China because I’ve always been fascinated by this country, so much so in fact that I chose Chinese as my Major subject during my undergraduate degree. Not surprisingly the majority (I’d say about 90%) of my professional career has taken place here in China.
Currently I’m part of the Global Corporate Accounts team at Air China International, the most important Chinese carrier. Air China is a state-owned enterprise and it has been one of the most profitable airlines in the world for each of the last 5 years. Consequently, the company is ambitiously growing beyond China’s borders. It’s very interesting being part of a company that is growing globally so quickly, it almost feels like I’m a pioneer, or better said: part of a team of entrepreneurs at a start up that has 25.000 employees.
In my everyday work I supervise the efforts of our offices around the world, with the objective of improving our service and growing our revenues from primarily global Fortune 500 corporate clients. I do also business development globally to find new corporate clients, signing global deals with them. Our team is at the forefront in making Air China a more global airline.

JM: How did your MBA experience at IE Business School help you get to where you are today?
GR: The MBA helped me because it made more confident and outspoken. I am not a finance major, I was not working in investment banking or in strategy consulting before the MBA, but some of my classmates covered these topics. At the beginning, I was kind of more reserved when expressing my own views about the cases discussed in class and our work groups because my classmates had more knowledge about these subjects. After some time though I realized that my fresh take and views on the cases were adding a lot of values to the discussions, actually many times much more value than the views of my more experienced peers. I gained more self-confidence and I became more capable of establishing a vision and of instilling enthusiasm in others.
My MBA experience helped me at Air China, in fact in addition to my day-to-day job I am asked to attend many other project team meetings related to the future of the company, because of my ability to express new ideas and points of view about complicated problems and unclear situations.

JM: What do you remember most fondly about living in Madrid?
GR: Without a doubt the friends I made at IE. It was great to be surrounded by so many wonderful people full of enthusiasm and creativity. You feel so much inspiration and electricity on campus, and Madrid helps you to bond with them, given the many opportunities to network and have fun in the city. Furthermore, after the MBA you become even closer with all your peers. Even though they’re scattered around the world, you know you can count on them should you need to ask them for help.

JM: Any tips on applying to the program, especially with regards to the admissions application?
GR: Focus on your dreams and on what you want to achieve after the MBA, and you will find the enthusiasm and the motivation to go through all the steps of the application. It’s tough, but the MBA experience at IE is worth it!

JM: Where do you see yourself in 2 years?
GR: I see myself in an overseas assignment with Air China, leading globalization efforts in foreign markets to help Air China to become one of the best airlines worldwide.

26
Jun

From Asia to Africa?

Written on June 26, 2013 by Dirk Hopfl in IE News

Some African countries are among the fastest growing countries in the world. It is no wonder that many Asian businesses are looking into investment opportunities and some IE graduates from Asia are doing the same.

The IE Africa Club organized recently the first IE Africa Day to inform interested students at IE about investment and career opportunities. Watch the video and learn more!

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23
Jun

Leaders in innovation: the battle between Samsung and Apple

Written on June 23, 2013 by Dirk Hopfl in IE News

IE Focus | By Ricardo Perez, Professor at IE Business School

Only a couple of years ago Apple was the indisputable leader in consumer electronics, but it hasn’t kept up the momentum and now Samsung has it in its sights.

Just two years ago Apple was the undisputed leader in innovation in consumer electronics. Its telephone was unparalleled in features and applications ecosystem. The iPad was sweeping the decks in sales worldwide and it made us learn to work and play in ways that we never imagined, while its competitors tried to copy its products as fast as they could. But the latest products launched by Apple have lost a little of their wow factor. They are merely reinterpretations in different sizes with better features than their previous versions.

Samsung is in total counterphase. After many years of trying to reach Apple’s levels of functionality and ecosystem, it would appear that it is now managing to close the gap. Its telephones are selling at the same price, the company is experimenting with different form factors and they have at least the same technological and software capacities as Apple’s phones. Obviously the war that is being unleashed is not just one of company against company, like Nokia and Motorola years ago, for example. Today these companies are competing in three major fields: technology, ecosystem and integration.

In the field of technology, namely what handsets are able to do, the two firms are very different. Apple has never tried to be the most innovative in this respect. It doesn’t develop its own technology which means it depends on advances made by its suppliers. Its strength in the market is what now keeps it ahead of the rest. Samsung also produces screens and the chips that make telephones work. It invests thousands of millions in research in these areas. It uses these advances for its other electronic divisions, including televisions. That’s where Samsung’s advantage lies. Read more…

20
Jun

38 Flowers

Written on June 20, 2013 by Dirk Hopfl in IE News

Contrary to what you might think, this video isn’t about hippies with flowers in their hair, but rather a different type of flower power in the form of Bach flower therapy, explained to us here by microfinance marketing professor Maria Lopez-Escorial.

Prof. Lopez-Escorial is committed to making this world a better place. In order to achieve this she spends her time thinking about how to create and market ways to finance development projects in developing countries.

But that’s not her only passion. Some time ago one of her children had an illness that did not respond to traditional medicine, and her search for answers led her to discover Doctor Bach’s Therapy. Bach’s remedies use the healing properties of 38 flowers to treat a range of different disorders. The result of this happy discovery was that her son eventually recovered and she ended up becoming a Bach therapist.

You might also be interested to know that she’s a lovely person who really knows her stuff. Take a look at the video and you’ll see what I mean.

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First published on The Other Side | By Felix Validvieso

18
Jun

No easy feat, but it’s done!

Written on June 18, 2013 by Dirk Hopfl in IE News

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.

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