Written on March 25, 2014 by Caroline Quintanar in News

We would like to welcome the IE Brown Executive MBA class of 2015!  It’s a great mix of talented professionals from across the globe. Enjoy the ride!



Lawyers and MBAs are like oil and water, right? Think again…

Written on March 7, 2014 by Caroline Quintanar in News

Sabine H

As we prepare to welcome the 4th class and greet alumni from the first three cohorts, one of our current students, Sabiene Heindl, IP lawyer and strategic business advisor, reflects on one of the many facets of diversity in the IE Brown EMBA.

Lawyers and MBAs are like oil and water, right?  Think again.  An increasing number of lawyers are enrolling in Masters of Business Administration (MBA) across the globe.  As an Australian intellectual property lawyer, doing a MBA hadn’t occurred to me a year or two ago.  Now I find myself based in Europe undertaking the prestigious IE Brown Executive MBA across Spain, the United States and South Africa.  The following why, as a lawyer, you may wish to consider a MBA, together with some tips and perspectives to help you make up your mind.

Tips for lawyers:

  • If you have reached a pinnacle in terms of your technical legal skills, then a MBA can build on your management skills and prepare you for a leadership role
  • MBAs can provide an essential stepping stone in a legal career or enable a pivot onto a different career path
  • It’s important to choose your school carefully, but don’t limit yourself geographically
  • Like every other large undertaking in life, doing a MBA is a balancing act, so be prepared to juggle work, life and now study….

MBA: the gains

What can a lawyer expect to gain from a MBA?  From my perspective, the advantages of a MBA are:

  1. Leadership skills that can prepare you for partnership or a leadership position within your firm
  2. Broader perspective on the operational elements of business including finance, operations, marketing, strategy and IT – this is particularly helpful if you are working as in-house counsel
  3. Opportunities to consider career options outside of the law
  4. Cross industry perspectives on the businesses of your clients
  5. Opening up networking opportunities internationally

Balancing act

Of course, like everything that’s good in life, undertaking a MBA is a balancing act.  An increasing number of top MBA programs are run as blended programs, that is, residential face-to-face periods interspersed with an online learning campus.  These provide more flexibility for busy executives that have a day job (eg practicing law) and personal and family commitments.  But don’t be fooled.  25-35 hours a week of study on top of what may already be a 50-60 hour work week, will take its toll.  If financially feasible, consider options around part time work for the duration of the program (usually between 15-18 months) or recognise that you seriously won’t have much of a life!

So whether you want to jump ship from your legal career or have a desire to bridge the gap between private practice and commercial thinking, a MBA is worth considering.  Spend lots of time researching business schools across the globe to ensure that you find one that is a good fit with your career goals and aspirations.  Happy studying!


South African Adventures with the class of 2014

Written on February 6, 2014 by Caroline Quintanar in News


First SA foto

All 25 IE Brown EMBA participants, 5 faculty, 4 IE Brown program staff and 3 local support staff met up last month to begin the long-awaited Cape Town immersion face-to-face.  Participants reconnected with their teams, classmates and professors and met with the local facilitators from Reciprocity to help set the context for their work in South Africa during this week, particularly in examining business opportunities in the townships.  More than 25 million South Africans live on less than $2 per day (2010 Goldman Sachs statistics) making this an important opportunity and challenge for the nation.

Each IE Brown project team was challenged with developing a business opportunity, focusing on integration with the Bottom of the Pyramid via innovative models across 5 different themes: Investment Opportunities, Last Mile Distribution, Globalization of the Arts, Access to Healthcare, and Financial Services.

The key issue was for participants to examine “what is there, what isn’t there and what is needed” across the chain of stakeholders.  Each group met with a series of representatives from different tiers within that chain.  Healthcare team visited private and public clinics, township households, and representatives from NGOs such as Doctors Without Borders . Last Mile Retail conducted interviews in informal basic goods shops called “spazas” and in pharmacies and major wholesale centers.  Field research and immersive visits culminated in the presentation of five innovative business ideas pitched to a panel of faculty and thought leaders from Brown University, IE and the South African community.  Interested in the results?  Stay tuned to the IE Brown Student Blog for upcoming video highlights!


“It’s not just about the career, it’s about life”

Written on December 13, 2013 by Caroline Quintanar in News

Meet Rahul Puri, tech expert and current IE Brown EMBA student.

Check out why Rahul thinks the IE Brown EMBA can catapult his career and what makes it stand out for him.

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O me! O life!

Written on November 28, 2013 by Caroline Quintanar in News

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.


This month we posed to our 2014 IE Brown Executive MBA students the following question from the Walt Whitman poem O Me! O Life!:

What verse will you contribute to the powerful play that is your life?

 Here are some of the uplifting and inspiring responses we received:

IEBX Blog - Poem 2


Creativity at IE Brown Goes Glamour

Written on November 21, 2013 by Halley Bennett in News

This speed-design workshop challenged the students of the IE Brown EMBA to explore new ways to engage their creativity and reach solutions in record time, all while designing fashion-forward items displayed in a runway show at the end of the day.

The workshop required participants to develop new ways of thinking and strategize to create tangible results under high levels of pressure and with limited materials at their disposal.

Check out the video produced by Brown University Creative Mind Intiative for a close up look at the experience and the powerful learnings that each participant took away from the course.


Reflections on the IE Brown EMBA

Written on October 21, 2013 by Halley Bennett in Video

Meet Mickael Pinto, the Director of New Business at Universal Music Group and IE Brown EMBA Alumnus from the Class of 2013.

Just prior to graduating, Mickael shared his thoughts on the program experience from balancing personal life, professional life and the MBA to forging relationships that last a lifetime. Hear how the Blended Format was the perfect way for him to participate in the program while succeeding on an international playing field as a media guru. YouTube Preview Image


Professional coaching – what’s in it for me?

Written on October 8, 2013 by Caroline Quintanar in News


Alice: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

Cheshire Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”

Alice: “I don’t much care where –”

Cheshire Cat: “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

The famous quote from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” is frequently used in business strategy, but it applies equally well when it comes to you as an individual and achieving your personal goals. Rightfully, what you do today matters for what it is you want to do tomorrow and who you want to be in the future.

To help participants work through that question of where they want to get to, individual coaching is an integral part of the IE Brown EMBA. Each participant is offered a couple of individual coaching sessions with a certified coach.

Being part of the Class of 2012 I remember very well that doing this Executive MBA is extremely time and energy demanding and it often comes in conflict with work obligations and personal life. Adding professional coaching may seem like an impossible addition to your already well-packed schedule that you cannot afford to add. I would like to encourage you to think again!

WIIFM? (What’s In It For Me?)

  • What’s your true potential? Some of you may have identified your life or career goals, while others haven’t. Well, what are those goals exactly? Goal setting, potentially the theory that has influenced management theory the most1, states that if you know very well where you are heading and why; and if your goal is ambitious enough you’re more likely to reach the furthest. If you have not found that clarity and meaning in your goals yet, you might want to invest some time in doing so, otherwise “it does not matter which way you go”.
  • Innovation to get desired results. And if you do have your crisp and clear goal all figured out, are you also as clear about how you are going to achieve it? What will it take you and what will you need to acquire to get there? In fact, coaching just starts out with the obvious answers; what coaching really does is urging you to be creative! And sometimes coaching will push you to be more innovative. Great coaching should stimulate as many mental “paradigm shifts” as possible, allowing you to find a unique path and solutions that nobody else sees.
  • Take action today and accelerate your career. Coaching is all about getting results. During the course of the program, you get plenty of material, meet a lot of inspiring people and there is no shortage of interesting discussions. Hopefully this triggers you to do more, to be more. Though it may also feel a little overwhelming. This is where your professional coach adds value. Together you will work on channeling this input into a meaningful action. Your coach will guide, challenge and capacitate you in this process and act as a supporting board in the implementation of your next steps.

So get ready to enjoy the journey! You will know that it is working if it feels meaningful for you. Having someone else asking the questions instead of you taking that role as your own “self-coach” can be a true bliss. Of course, in the end you are the one doing the real work to realize your own objective! As a coach, I believe that all people have the resources within them to achieve their objectives or can acquire them. However there is something that makes some people especially successful and others not. Ask your coach about it!

Regina Riegerbauer, IE Brown EMBA Class of 2012, Coach


“If you’d like to hear more from Regina and her fellow alumni about the things that inspire them and the kind of goals they hope to develop following the IE Brown EMBA experience, watch the “What Inspires You?” video here.” 

1 Professor Edwin A. Locke, Ph.D. pioneered the Goal Setting theory in 1968, http://www.edwinlocke.com


The best of both worlds

Written on September 17, 2013 by Halley Bennett in News

We’d like to introduce you to Jean Ng, a member of the current IE Brown EMBA class and a “speed queen” from Singapore.  Jean manages Formula 1 Racing and Sports for the Singapore Tourism board and is about to hit the half-way mark in her EMBA experience.

During her most recent face-to-face module in Madrid, Jean took some time to answer questions about her fellow classmates, the best parts of this unique program and the IE Brown blended advantage.  Check out her video to see how she’s getting “the best of both worlds” by spending time in the classroom as well as online with her classmates, despite being located around the globe.

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Beyond Business: Value-based leadership

Written on August 8, 2013 by Vani Nadarajah in News

Nearly four months into the IE Brown Executive MBA, current student Alexis reflects on her student experience a few weeks after her second residential period, which took place in Madrid. She highlights the value of perspective that her classmates bring to the program, as well as the beyond business philosophy of the program. Read on for an exclusive peek into life as a student of the IE Brown EMBA.


Arriving in Madrid in advance of our second face-to-face period (F2F) brought the final exam for the Leading People in Organisations course.  I sat it late at night, still adjusting to both jet lag from the 24 hour flight and the timing of the Madrid dinner hour.  The set case study examined, among other things, the concepts of leadership we had explored during the course and I did my best to get it all down in my paper.

As we closed the F2F session the week later, the world’s news outlets were reporting on a multiplicity of political leaders and leadership.  We were confronted with the sad but inevitable news of Nelson Mandela’s illness and reflected on his lasting influence in South Africa; the seeming paralysis of President Dilma Rousseff to respond quickly to mass riots in Brazil demanding more public services and less public corruption; the steadfast immobility of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad contrasted to the fallibility of the democratically elected President Morsi in Egypt.  In my own country, the farcical game of musical Prime Ministerial chairs between alternating leaders Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard was trite in comparison to the issues of leadership around the globe.

It is now a few weeks later and the grades are in for the Leading People in Organisations course.  It reminds me to reflect again on leadership in the current times.  In the course, we debated transformational versus transactional leadership, studied Margaret Thatcher’s sources of power, critiqued Kotter and assessed our own LMX scores.

Reflecting on this theory, and on the reporting of political leaders in the press, I come to think that being mindful of our own values is at the heart of understanding the type of leader we each are and want to be.

I have been motivated by the virtual interactions on the forum of my cohort in these past few months.  Just some of many examples: Isabelle questioning the environmental impact of over-production to drive demand in Operations & Supply Chain Management; Sabiene raising the negative externalities of increased airline traffic fuelled by low-cost carriers in Strategy; Brennan bringing attention to the morality of data collection and analytics in Marketing Management. Being a values-based leader is easier in principle than practice.   Just like the gorilla with the basketball, when attention is consumed by the technical detail, it is difficult to see the multiple alternative perspectives.

My learning experience has been enriched my classmates who, in addition to solid technical analysis, also step back to consider ethics-based positions.  They expand my thinking and prompt me to examine my own principles.  As we move through the second term and towards Madrid again next June, I urge my cohortians and Professors to continue this exploration and to develop it further.  It is what makes this EMBA Beyond Business.


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