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.



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



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.


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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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…


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


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.


The Cook

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

One of my all-time favorite films is The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover by Peter Greenaway. It’s a great story and the cinematography is excellent. I would’ve loved to have been able to render my own small homage to this film, but unfortunately there are no thieves I can think of around here to work into the script. The cook only won´t do!!!

Joking aside, I’m delighted to say that what I do have is an excellent cook, namely Leadership Professor Balvinder Powar. He is not only capable of masterfully mixing ingredients to create a delicious dish out of almost nothing, but also of using cooking as a metaphor to talk about leadership, Gandhi and life in general.

I enjoyed listening to Prof. Powar as much as I enjoyed tasting the dish he prepared during the shoot. I just love Indian food…

P.S. If you get the chance, try the Indian food at Tandoori Station, where we shot this video. You’ll like it, believe me.

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First published on The Other Side | By Felix Validvieso


Tyba wins TNW Startup Rally

Written on June 13, 2013 by Dirk Hopfl in IE University

Tyba Homepage

Tyba, a project from IE University BBA program, wins the Public Vote Award of this year The Next Web Europe Conference.

Tyba, created by Eiso Kant (22), Jorge Schnura (22) and Philip Von Have (24), all final-year students of IE University’s Bachelor in Business Administration, is an online recruitment tool that permits students and recent graduates to showcase all their professional potential. Young people have been under-represented in the online talent recruitment revolution. Large firms receive hundreds of applications for every job they offer with CVs that are so similar that it is impossible to do an initial screening, and SMEs do not have enough clout to attract the attention of young candidates, and end up spending a great deal of time and money on the search for talent.

Tyba provides a platform where companies can search for, screen, organize and follow up on potential candidates, making it easy to gain fast access to candidates with innovative profiles. Candidates not only provide a description of their professional and academic achievements, but also present intangibles such as personality traits and what they can contribute to the firm, all key factors when it comes to recruiting young people.

Tyba opened its offices in September of 2011 and now has a team comprising 12 people of nine different nationalities. It has obtained €240,000 in funding to date and is currently in the process of raising further funds with a view to expanding to new markets.


LAUNCH is just the start…

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

Basil Alrayes, IMBA student

Some weeks back the April 2013 intake of the International MBA started. Basil Alrayes from Saudi Arabia talks about his first impressions and especially his experiences during the LAUNCH week.

Last week I participated in the LAUNCH program, which consisted of a week full of activities designed to prepare the students for the upcoming year. I have only two words to describe my experience: surprising and inspiring.

It was nothing like a typical MBA class. There was no talk of finance or accounting (that, for sure, will come.) Instead, the classes were about teambuilding, working in diverse environments, communication, sports, and even acting!

I had several favorite classes, one of them was “The Pursuit of Happiness” delivered by Adam Pervez, an IMBA alumnus who graduated in 2009. After his graduation, Adam worked in two very demanding and high paying jobs in Copenhagen and in Dubai until he realized that, in spite of the excellent financial incentives, he was not happy. As a result, he left his job and started traveling around the world and searching for happiness. He showed us pictures of his travels to India, Cambodia, Colombia, Ecuador, and many other countries. His story was quite interesting and very relevant to us, since many of us wish to improve or switch careers. It made us question the meaning of success and what we really want and although I have a different view from Adam’s, I admired his courage in doing what he wanted. I also realized that we worry too much!

Another favorite session was “Teambuilding,” delivered by a professional basketball player. We took the session in a gym and our teams were given goals to achieve with time limits. As we practiced, the lessons became clearer. First, the more you practice the better you get, as a team. And second, the whole team improves even if not all team members improve. Our results were an eye-opener for me, as they demonstrated that a team generally does better than its individual members. To build a strong team, you do not marginalize the underperforming members; instead you practice more as a team. That was my conclusion.

The classes I mentioned are just examples, as each class had a lesson to learn and a question to think about. I particularly appreciated the fact that our instructors came from different professional backgrounds. We had an architect, an actor, a professional mountaineer, and an athlete, which made our experience more diverse and richer. I also loved the intellectual nature of the discussions. We were not learning and applying tools, instead we were learning a new way of thinking.

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