Students from IE’s Master in Finance win the 4th CFA Global Investment Research Challenge in Spain

A team of students from IE Business School’s Master in Finance have won 1st prize in the 4th edition of the CFA Institute’s Global Investment Research Challenge organized in Spain in collaboration with Bolsas y Mercados Españoles and Spanish business daily El Economista. The members of the winning team were Jonas Aita (Germany), Sebastian Mentzen…

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Improving productivity as a formula for beating the crisis

IE Focus - Improving productivity as a formula for beating the crisisIE Focus, March 2009 | By Jorge Diezhandino. MBA part-time 2005,  IE Business School;  Senior Consultant at Alfa Consulting
There are no magic bullets here. The only cure for the virus that has infected the economy consists of reinventing companies so that they produce more using the same resources.
Except for the odd diehard optimist, nobody has any doubts now that the present financial crisis affects all of us to a greater or lesser extent. The banking sector, the construction sector and the car industry all show signs of the effect it has had on their bottom-line results and, in turn, on their workers´ pockets. Furthermore, the effect is spreading and many are now making disastrous forecasts for the ancillary and services sectors.

According to José María O’Kean, Professor of Economic Environment at IE Business School, “there are elements in Spain that can help mitigate the immediate crisis, such as tourism and, to a certain extent, exports, but the model is still one of low-level productivity”. Indeed, as far as the present situation is concerned, replacing the construction sector with the tourist sector and support from exports is logical, but maintaining such a low-productivity model means not only failing to improve our business sector’s competitiveness, but also increasing the difference with those who, in this environment of change, are doing just that. Consequently, only the businesses that successfully assume the change required for improving their productivity will successfully overcome the crisis and come out strengthened at a time when, more than ever, it is essential to reduce costs on the value chain.

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The prosumer and new social advertising

IE Focus - The prosumer and new social advertising IE Focus March 2009 | By Manuel Alonso, Professor at IE Business School

Let’s face it, the customer is always right, and this long-standing truth is growing truer by the day thanks to new technologies. Traditional marketing doesn’t work anymore.
The main effect of the exponential technological development of marketing in recent years has been the increase in consumer power in commercial relations. We have to accept the situation: the consumer is in command. He is no longer an isolated person bombarded by commercial strategies that lead him to take purchasing decisions. He has his own opinion, which he can say very easily through digital channels, directing it not only at advertisers, but also at other consumers, over whom he has huge influence. It is very easy to gather from this statement that usual advertising has abandoned the traditional unidirectional format to become not bidirectional between brand and customer, but rather multidirectional, where customers exchange information with each other.

Bearing in mind this situation, it comes as no surprise that the 2007 New Year cover Time magazine always dedicates to the person it considers as being most important in the previous three-hundred-and-sixty-five days was dedicated to you, and me, and each and every one of us, since we are at the helm of the new information era in which the consumer has become the prosumer: he has unlimited options for choosing products, for comparing them, for hearing other buyers´ opinions, for influencing manufacturers and advertisers… And all that power is making him more difficult to reach using the staler advertising formats, especially in the cold, corporate tone.

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Personal Brand Management

1685.jpgFebruary 2008 | By Guillermo de Haro, Professor at IE Business School

We all have our own personal brand, and Personal Brand Management can help us to enhance our image using the same techniques that enable companies to sell themselves better.
Valuing things is always complicated. As someone once said, “only a fool confuses value with price”. In The Undercover Economist, Tim Hartford also gave a masterful explanation of how the utility (and, therefore, the perceived value) is different for each product or service, for each individual and even for each situation, and the price is a key element for making the system work, making it more fluid. That´s why putting a price on something is so complicated. And if we also try to put a price on ourselves, it is even more complicated. If you don´t believe me, ask people how much you are worth.

In Saxon cultures, they have no problem: you are worth as much as you earn. Nowadays, there are certain subtleties. If we ask a BoBo (Bourgeois Bohemian), they give more value to a million dollars that come from a book or a new company than from speculating on the stock exchange, something that would be valued very highly by a yuppie. And if I ask my mother, I would be listed on the stock exchange in less than 24 hours and I would also guarantee its recovery.

In my classes, I always tell my students that we should think of ourselves as another company. This exercise helps them gain a better understanding of things thanks to a new viewpoint that involves us in decision-taking processes. We can calculate our results account, value ourselves as an asset and value our assets, as well as determine our liabilities. And, as such, we can speak of the value of our brand and start thinking how to manage it.

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