The eternal formula

 

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.

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Team Work – Love it or Hate it?

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…

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Wings

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…

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2,020 start-ups for Madrid 2020

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…

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Floydcounting

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…

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The MBA is about inspiration and electricity!

Some 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,…

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From Asia to Africa?

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…

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Leaders in innovation: the battle between Samsung and Apple

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.

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38 Flowers

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…

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No easy feat, but it’s done!

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). …

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The Cook

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…

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LAUNCH is just the start…

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.…

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Relocation, another opportunity for SMEs?

IE Focus | By Gamaliel Martinez, Professor at IE Business School

The tide is turning. After twenty years of delocation fever among Spanish firms, some of them are now bringing their manufacturing back to Spain. It is a particularly good option for SMEs. After twenty years of delocation fever it would appear that the trend is now reversing, as some companies start to bring their production plants back home, while many more are considering it.

Labour costs have risen in China. The increase in the price of a barrel of oil has impacted the cost of logistics, and some of the hidden costs, such as expatriation, were not calculated properly. Distance has constrained flexibility. Some companies have lost control over their know-how. Quality is uneven. Although manufacturing in Asia (or other places) seemed like such an interesting option only a few years ago, this often turned out not to be the case. According to Fedecon 15% of delocated textil companies have returned to Spain or to countries nearby, and we already have examples in the toy sector, such as Juguettos and Injusa. These are two sectors in which it was supposed that production costs were everything.

Labor costs are going down in Spain resulting in an improvement in levels of competitiveness in the international market. Bringing production  back to Spain is now a real option which would improve quality, response time, and enable greater control over processes, all this at a very similar cost. Coming back seems to be a simple choice, given that in the majority of cases, and particularly in the case of SMEs, the companies in question did not make enormous investments in production plants, preferring to subcontract production, to the detriment of local plants. Nevertheless it is entirely possible that those businesses that decided to delocate at the time have lost all or part of their know-how and may even have closed down their factories, making it very expensive for them to return to Spain.

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IE and MIT expand partnership in Malaysia

IE Business School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have been collaborating in both the US and Spain for some time now, primarily through the offering of a Dual Degree option for the International MBA, our 1-year full time MBA program.  Until now, graduates of the Dual Degree could go on to complete a…

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