As you can see, I’m a bit behind…still. I’ve been told that I will get my life back in Term 3, so I can’t wait for Term 2 to be over. But I’ve had some great experiences over the summer which I want to share with you.
I celebrated July 4th at the futbol (soccer) stadium. A group of us (US students) from IE organized a party on a terrace inside the stadium where we even had a DJ from the states! It was also nice to hear hip hop again. The theme was red, white and blue and I was so proud to see so many International students show up in all 3 colors. But not only did a ton of IE people show up, but the US Marines that we invited also made an appearance.
Although it may seem like I’m very social, I can’t afford (neither the time, nor the money) to go out frequently and I’m on campus upwards of 14 hours per day (and even on the weekends). The little free time I’ve had in the past weeks have been dedicated to coordinating the IE Women in Business Club, attending on-campus events, and having coffee with Spanish friends to help improve my speaking skills.
Specifically, I’ve been working with some other IE women to organize the IE Women in Business Club’s mentoring program. We had our kick-off event where we invited the Australian Ambassador to Spain and various business executives from Madrid to share with us the importance and benefits of mentoring. We had several phases of applications and interviews (I even interviewed a few candidates in Spanish!) and we have finally selected our mentees. We are 14 women and 1 man from a variety of IE Master’s programs and a variety of nationalities. Click here to see a few photos of our kick-off event. We meet our mentors in mid-October, so I look forward to sharing my experience on the blog once we start.
I have also attended a few events on campus that have been quite inspiring. First, I attended a guest speaker sponsored by the IE Family Business Club. The guest speaker was Gina Diez Barroso of the Azcárraga family and part of the prestigious Televisa family. I was very inspired by her. She left her family’s huge Televisa network to found her own real estate and design business, Grupo Diarq, which became one of the largest in Latin America. That was enough for her, though. She wanted to “give back” to those who haven’t had as much privilege as she has had. She knew that she wanted to create a school and she did just that. She founded CENTRO in Mexico City in 2004. CENTRO is the first university in Mexico City that focuses on creative studies. It has now expanded to a variety of majors, Master’s programs and cities.
I was also lucky enough to take a tour of a Zara logistics center outside of Madrid. If you aren’t familiar with Zara (as we don’t have one in KC), it is a clothing company that is part of the Inditex group. It is a Spanish brand that has fairly decent prices (comparable to the prices of Old Navy and Gap), but the most impressive capability that they have is their distribution and logistics. Imagine there’s a runway show in Milan today. Zara begins designing imitation pieces tomorrow and ships them to their stores a few days later. In fact, in Europe, the collections in their stores change every 2 weeks. How is this even possible? The answer: their insanely impressive logistics system. We have done several case studies on Zara in class (strategy, marketing and operations), so it was nice to see it work in person.
This week I attended another interesting presentation by students who participated in an Emizingo project over the summer. Emzingo was founded by IE alumni a few years ago and their group takes MBA students to Peru or South Africa for consulting projects with local organizations and NGO’s. Projects range from helping pig farmers in a small village in Peru to consulting an NGO in South Africa that helps HIV-infected children and their families. The students that spoke are from the previous intake (November 2013) and they were completely honest about the good, the bad and the ugly. As part of the April 2013 intake, I’ll also have the opportunity to apply to this project in a later term.