IESE EMBA: The Change Begins

New students talk about their first few days on the program

31/10/2013 Barcelona

Executive MBA

"It’s only a month since we started the program but we all feel like we’ve known each other all our lives. The EMBA is not just an educational experience, it’s a process that changes the way you look at the world, the unity of the group and the way you treat people." This was the view of Elvira Pomares, who has a degree in psychology and has joined IESE’s 2015 EMBA course in Madrid. "I wanted to go to a prestigious school and I wanted to make a worthwhile investment, and I was especially interested in IESE because of its focus on the individual. It appealed to me right from the start," she added.

The program is a unique opportunity for people to change their career and broaden their global vision, and it helps them confront issues of leadership. "You spend a lot of time with the group and it’s very intense. By the weekend you feel that you’ve taken in a lot. It’s quite hard, it needs a lot of effort and involves a radical change in your life but in return it is enormously enriching. That’s why I’m sure that what’s still to come will be even better," says Eduardo Lopez.

Eduardo has a degree in business management and is currently a manager of structured finance at CaixaBank. He decided to join the EMBA program on IESE’s Barcelona campus to broaden his outlook and to complete his business education. "It’s a platform for professional and personal development, learning and progress. Every day the program gives you a little more to help you reach better decisions, to be more confident and more creative."

"There are days when I have to say for myself, ‘drop this case, Paqui, you have work to do’," says Paqui Lizana, a telecommunications engineer at Hewlett-Packard, who is taking part in the program on the Barcelona campus. "It’s a new and strange feeling for me. It’s a lot of work to combine your job with the Master's but it helps you because every day you get more back in return. Furthermore, there is a great relationship within the group and we all look forward to Friday so we can go to class."

Josué Ramos, a mining engineer and a new EMBA student on the Madrid campus, also highlights the demands of the program and the unity of the group as two things that have stood out for him during his first weeks. "They warned me that it would be a challenge. Even so, right away you realize that you’ve really got to be on top of your game to keep up. This helps you to find time wherever you can, to use it better and be more efficient. Furthermore, it’s been really welcoming and we’ve created a little family in a short period of time." Another fundamental aspect for him are the values. "The academic opportunities in other places are enormous but I was really clear that I wanted to study at IESE for, among other things, the emphasis they give in all their programs to business ethics. At this point in my life this is been an important factor," he said.

Unlearning and relearning

Above all, and right from the beginning, the EMBA implies a change for these four students; a new outlook and a turning point in their lives and their careers. "For me it’s a case of unlearning and beginning again," says Josué. "I studied mining engineering because I was very interested in the energy sector and in resources but I realized that my profile was too technical, and I needed to branch out. Now I work for Técnicas Reunidas and my profile is more managerial but I have a lot to learn. I want to be able to manage people and feel proud of what my team is able to do and to achieve this I have to change many of my ideas, as well as my way of thinking," he says.

Paqui’s interest was also focused on engineering when she was at university, but she was always looking beyond the numbers. "I always liked mathematics and processes but I’ve always been fascinated by image and communications. That’s why after I finished my degree I studied digital marketing, and in my current job I have a technical role but with direct contact with the client," she says. "I want to be a good executive, set up teams and manage different business areas. I want to take things further with people and have a mutual learning experience with my team. That’s why I think the EMBA is a big step towards achieving this."

Elvira is a consultant in the company Improven and has developed projects in areas such as systems, organization, human resources, sales and marketing. "I started off studying psychology like just about everyone else but right away I realized that I was more interested in organization. In my current job I have a profile that is technical, commercial and psychological," she says. "What I want is to continue learning in the executive milieu and help companies in all aspects of their organization. I’ve learnt a lot from the program, which has broadened my outlook about business."

Eduardo says he has always been interested in business and this has taken on a new dimension since undertaking the EMBA. "I decided to study business management because my family was involved in running small and medium-sized companies, and since I was a child I’ve been drawn to it. Later, I specialized in finance and investment and I want to continue to develop my knowledge in this field. I believe that the intensity of the program, the shared experiences, the quality of the faculty and the tools that we are acquiring are going to be fundamental to my development in my company and to bringing new ideas to the job through the complete vision that I will have gained of the organization."