An extraordinary event

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It was an extraordinary event worthy of the launch of an extraordinary program. On April 14, IE unveiled the fruits of the redesign of its International MBA at an event that gave attendees the opportunity to enjoy first-class speakers in a unique venue.

The Madrid Dome was chosen to hold the event, a circular space topped with a white dome that gives it more than a passing resemblance to a planetarium. The lights were dimmed, the seats were filled and the sound of music could be heard, before Amber Wigmore Álvarez, Executive Director of Career Services, finally got the proceedings under way.

The first speaker was the Dean of IE, Santiago Íñiguez, who talked about the origin and rationale of the program, proudly describing it as extraordinary. Íñiguez explained how this reflects a key part of IE’s DNA, which is supported by three principles: entrepreneurship, diversity in all its forms and a passion for bringing different professional profiles together. Not for nothing has the Financial Times described IE as an unusual school with unusual students, usual teaching staff, unusual methods and an unusual campus. As Amber Wigmore Álvarez remarked at the end of the Dean’s talk, “when students from different nations or professions come together they create a magical, unique and inspiring moment, like the Northern Lights.”

Erik Schlie, Associate Dean of IE’s International MBA, followed with a talk that highlighted the innovative features of the new International MBA. “In a changing, uncertain and complex world, education needs to adapt. It’s important that MBAs keep up with the times because it’s our job to prepare students for the outside world,” explained Schlie. Study and effort, but above all, a willingness to listen, were the most important aspects of the new unconventional study plan. IE has sought to understand and address the needs of students who want to become independent and develop new skills, of recruiters looking for passionate and adaptable candidates, and of entrepreneurs looking for support to find their way and the tools required to make their idea reality. The conclusion of this research was that MBA students can be divided into two types: “transformers,” who seek to create an impact either within a company or on their own; and “creators,” who are entrepreneurs that want to live a dream and leave their mark on the world.

The new International MBA study plan has been designed to allow both types of student to find what they are looking for, regardless of whether they are transformers or creators. The program has developed new and specific content for this purpose. Students now have the opportunity to spend a five week period in the “Startup Lab” or “Business Impact Lab”, designed to address the practical aspects of interest to creator or transformer students, respectively. In parallel, a Professional Fitness module has also been devised to develop certain aspects required for the labor market and the world of business.

After this guided tour of the new MBA and hearing from alumni throughout the world, it was time for two very special speakers to take to the stage. Both were successful figures that have never stopped chasing their dreams and are an inspiration for anyone who is lucky enough to hear them speak. First up was Michael López-Alegría, a Spanish-born astronaut who has spent over 200 days in space and has been commander of the International Space Station. He was followed by Marc Randolp, co-founder of Netflix, who gave a fascinating talk on the importance of self-belief and the transformation of ideas into reality.

This healthy dose of inspiration from the two speakers marked the end of IE’s extraordinary event, one in keeping with what you would expect from an unconventional MBA.

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