Warning: Her enthusiasm is contagious!

Written on December 19, 2012 by Vani Nadarajah in News

Meet the wonderful Peggy ‘superwoman’ Onwu. From Lagos, Nigeria, Peggy is a successful banker, mother of 4 and an outstanding student from our class of 2013.

Peggy recorded this interview halfway through her IE Brown experience. Hear about her personal learning experience, her classmates, her professors and her views on the added value of an Executive MBA that goes beyond business. You want to make an impact on society – this could be the program for you!

Thank you Peggy!


Gregorie’s view: The IE Brown EMBA Fit

Written on November 7, 2012 by Vani Nadarajah in News

Current IE Brown Executive MBA student Gregorie Perez heads up a social enterprise in Manila, the Philippines.

Hear what Gregorie has to say about the uniqueness of this special program, why she chose the IE Brown Executive MBA and why this program is the right fit for her. If you’re interested in making an impact beyond ‘the bottom line’ then click on the video below and prepare to be inspired!


IE Brown EMBA: Transforming the way you think

Written on October 29, 2012 by Vani Nadarajah in News

The final video in our IE Brown Executive MBA from end to end’ series: Recent graduate Bill Reich checks-in with us at three different points in the program (beginning, middle and  at graduation), to update us on his IE Brown learning experience.

Bill reports on how the program has transformed his ability to think critically and he reflects on how this unique Executive MBA has made an impact to his organization, his clients and his life….be inspired!


A new destination for the IE Brown Executive MBA!

Written on October 23, 2012 by Vani Nadarajah in News

 Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest developing regions in the world. The IMF forecasts sustained growth across the region, despite global uncertainty.

South Africa is one of the countries leading this transformation, as well as serving as an interface between Africa and the rest of the world. IE Business School and Brown University believe that the African continent is increasingly important for the business community, and that in line with the forward-thinking nature of the program the IE Brown Executive MBA should have a presence there.

We are delighted to announce that the next IE Brown Executive MBA Class (starting March 2013) will travel to South Africa. The program’s blended structure (combining face-to-face interaction with interactive, online learning) will include a one-week immersion experience centered in the area of Cape Town.

IE Brown Executive MBA: Madrid, Providence, Cape Town & online.

Next program starts March 2013.


The IE Brown EMBA: How did it impact me?

Written on September 6, 2012 by Vani Nadarajah in News

Want to learn more about the IE Brown experience directly from someone who lived and breathed it for 15 months?

In the next in our series of graduate interviews, hear about Myah’s experience as we accompany her on her IE Brown EMBA journey. We check in with her at the beginning, middle and end of the program, where the blend of the Liberal Arts and Business, the flexibility of the program’s blended format and diversity of her class are recurring highlights for her.

 Mostly importantly, find out how the program changed the way that she views the world.



The IE Brown EMBA from end to end.

Written on July 11, 2012 by Vani Nadarajah in News

Mary Pan, a graduate of the very first Cohort of the IE Brown Executive MBA, shares her perspectives on the program, via reflection points at the beginning, middle and end of the her 15-month experience. Join Mary on her IE Brown journey and find out more about how her program and her classmates have made a difference to her.


Congratulations IE Brown Class of 2012!

Written on June 18, 2012 by Halley Bennett in News

On Friday, June 8th, the 23 members of the IE Brown Executive MBA Class of 2012 walked across the stage to receive their diplomas amidst resounding applause from family, friends, professors and institutional representatives from around the world.  The program’s first Commencement Ceremony took place at the Santa Cruz la Real Campus at IE University in Segovia.

The event featured inspiring speeches deliverd by the Dean of IE Business School Santiago Íñiguez, the Vice-President of International Relations at Brown University Matthew Gutmann, and keynote speaker David Suarez, Vice-President and Partner at Booz & Co.  The class was not only congratulated on their achievement in receiving their MBA, but also for striving to go beyond conventional ideas about the world of business, as evidenced by their participation in the unique program.  Both IE Business School and Brown University are honored to send off this first group of incredible graduates and look forward to their future accomplishments!

Make sure to check out the video of the first IE Brown Graduation here:





Welcoming the IE Brown Class of 2013

Written on June 12, 2012 by Halley Bennett in News

Top-ranked IE Executive MBA again joined together with the Liberal Arts of Brown University, a prestigious Ivy League school, to welcome the second class of their partnership program, the IE Brown EMBA, at the Opening Ceremony, held on March 4th in Providence, Rhode Island.

The program participants hold various roles from industries around the globe and are united by their interest in going “beyond business” to develop new insights about the best way to take on the global issues of today’s complex world.  “By weaving the Humanities into MBA training, I hope to make decisions with a greater awareness of their impact beyond the obvious and to be able to communicate that type of decision-making to my colleagues” said Lisha Cole, the Director of Worldwide Regulatory Strategy for Pfizer.

The class is comprised of 29 equally impressive profiles, 28% of whom are women, hoping to make their own impact. They span 20 nationalities based in over 15 different countries of residence, creating a truly diverse learning community.  René Klose who is a Program Manager for Siemens, a German citizen now living in Brazil, expressed his excitement about the upcoming months saying “in the corporate world, we often encounter mentalities very similar to our own and this incredible diversity allows us to revitalize our perspective.”


“How Slavery Led to Modern Capitalism”

Written on January 26, 2012 by blended.team in News

How Slavery Led to Modern Capitalismby Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman, historians at Harvard University and Brown University respectively. Seth Rockman also forms part of the faculty for the IE Brown Executive MBA.


A slave being auctioned, 1861. Source: Sketch by Thomas R. Davis, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division


When the New York City banker James Brown tallied his wealth in 1842, he had to look far below Wall Street to trace its origins. His investments in the American South exceeded $1.5 million, a quarter of which was directly bound up in the ownership of slave plantations.

Brown was among the world’s most powerful dealers in raw cotton, and his family’s firm, Brown Brothers & Co., served as one of the most important sources of capital and foreign exchange to the U.S. economy. Still, no small amount of his time was devoted to managing slaves from the study of his Leonard Street brownstone in Lower Manhattan.

Brown was hardly unusual among the capitalists of the North. Nicholas Biddle’s United States Bank of Philadelphia funded banks in Mississippi to promote the expansion of plantation lands. Biddle recognized that slave-grown cotton was the only thing made in the U.S. that had the capacity to bring gold and silver into the vaults of the nation’s banks. Likewise, the architects of New England‘s industrial revolution watched the price of cotton with rapt attention, for their textile mills would have been silent without the labor of slaves on distant plantations.

The story we tell about slavery is almost always regional, rather than national. We remember it as a cruel institution of the southern states that would later secede from the Union. Slavery, in this telling, appears limited in scope, an unfortunate detour on the nation’s march to modernity, and certainly not the engine of American economic prosperity.

Yet to understand slavery’s centrality to the rise of American capitalism, just consider the history of an antebellum Alabama dry-goods outfit called Lehman Brothers or a Rhode Island textile manufacturer that would become the antecedent firm of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Reparations lawsuits (since dismissed) generated evidence of slave insurance policies by Aetna and put Brown University and other elite educational institutions on notice that the slave-trade enterprises of their early benefactors were potential legal liabilities. Recent state and municipal disclosure ordinances have forced firms such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wachovia Corp. to confront unsettling ancestors on their corporate family trees.

Such revelations are hardly surprising in light of slavery’s role in spurring the nation’s economic development. America’s “take-off” in the 19th century wasn’t in spite of slavery; it was largely thanks to it. And recent research in economic history goes further: It highlights the role that commodified human beings played in the emergence of modern capitalism itself.

The U.S. won its independence from Britain just as it was becoming possible to imagine a liberal alternative to the mercantilist policies of the colonial era. Those best situated to take advantage of these new opportunities — those who would soon be called “capitalists” — rarely started from scratch, but instead drew on wealth generated earlier in the robust Atlantic economy of slaves, sugar and tobacco. Fathers who made their fortunes outfitting ships for distant voyages begat sons who built factories, chartered banks, incorporated canal and railroad enterprises, invested in government securities, and speculated in new financial instruments.

This recognizably modern capitalist economy was no less reliant on slavery than the mercantilist economy of the preceding century. Rather, it offered a wider range of opportunities to profit from the remote labor of slaves, especially as cotton emerged as the indispensable commodity of the age of industry.

In the North, where slavery had been abolished and cotton failed to grow, the enterprising might transform slave-grown cotton into clothing; market other manufactured goods, such as hoes and hats, to plantation owners; or invest in securities tied to next year’s crop prices in places such as Liverpool and Le Havre. This network linked Mississippi planters and Massachusetts manufacturers to the era’s great financial firms: the Barings, Browns and Rothschilds.

A major financial crisis in 1837 revealed the interdependence of cotton planters, manufacturers and investors, and their collective dependence on the labor of slaves. Leveraged cotton — pledged but not yet picked — led overseers to whip their slaves to pick more, and prodded auctioneers to liquidate slave families to cover the debts of the overextended.

The plantation didn’t just produce the commodities that fueled the broader economy, it also generated innovative business practices that would come to typify modern management. As some of the most heavily capitalized enterprises in antebellum America, plantations offered early examples of time-motion studies and regimentation through clocks and bells. Seeking ever-greater efficiencies in cotton picking, slaveholders reorganized their fields, regimented the workday, and implemented a system of vertical reporting that made overseers into managers answerable to those above for the labor of those below.

The perverse reality of a capitalized labor force led to new accounting methods that incorporated (human) property depreciation in the bottom line as slaves aged, as well as new actuarial techniques to indemnify slaveholders from loss or damage to the men and women they owned. Property rights in human beings also created a lengthy set of judicial opinions that would influence the broader sanctity of private property in U.S. law.

So important was slavery to the American economy that on the eve of the Civil War, many commentators predicted that the North would kill “its golden goose.” That prediction didn’t come to pass, and as a result, slavery’s importance to American economic development has been obscured.

But as scholars delve deeper into corporate archives and think more critically about coerced labor and capitalism — perhaps informed by the current scale of human trafficking — the importance of slavery to American economic history will become inescapable.

(Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman, historians at Harvard University and Brown University respectively, are co-editing “Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development,” to be published by University of Pennsylvania Press in 2013. The opinions expressed are their own.)

To contact the writers of this post: Sven Beckert at beckert@fas.harvard.edu and Seth Rockman at Seth_Rockman@brown.edu.


Sexism behind lyrics? by Prof. Tricia Rose

Written on January 20, 2012 by blended.team in News

Jay-Z: Dropping the B-word doesn’t begin to cover it

Tricia Rose, professor of Africana studies at Brown University, is well-known for her work on the emergence of hip hop culture, Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (1994). In 2003 she wrote about black women’s sexual life stories (Longing To Tell: Black Women Talk About Sexuality and Intimacy), and she returned to hip hop in 2008 with The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop–And Why It Matters. This essay first appeared in the Guardian (U.K.).

IE Brown Prof. Tricia RoseSean Carter, who performs under the name Jay-Z, has apparently vowed never again to use the word bitch in the wake of the birth of his daughter, Blue Ivy Carter.

And while I celebrate and congratulate his new fatherhood, this vow didn’t impress me.

It doesn’t begin to address his role in contributing to and profiting from the global power of a hyper-sexist brand of hip-hop masculinity. I need to hear quite a bit more about how he feels about this legacy and its impact on millions of black girls and boys before getting all teary-eyed.

Sure, hip-hop didn’t invent sexism, nor has it been the only musical genre to profit from promoting it. The vast territory that is popular music is a treasure trove of sexist ideas and images. And it is also true that racist, rightwing critics have targeted hip-hop as a way to continue the demonization of black men while remaining silent on countless other sexist images, sounds, and stories that define U.S. culture.

As I noted in The Hip Hop Wars, just because your enemy is wrong, it doesn’t make you right. It is quite true that hip-hop has played a starring role in making sexist ideas sexy, visible and funky. Through the power of black music, style, swagger, and lyrical creativity, Jay-Z and many other highly successful rappers (e.g, Snoop Dog, 50 Cent and Lil’ Wayne) have expanded the visibility and value of aggressively sexist lyrics. And, frankly, if you want to find openly celebrated sexism against black women, there is no richer contemporary source than commercial, mainstream hip-hop.

This hasn’t happened because commercially powerful artists have randomly or dutifully dropped a sexist word here or there to punctuate an infectious beat. Whole identities in countless songs rely on excessively sexist behavior and name-calling to define the protagonist’s power and importance.

More than in any other genre in the history of black music, commercially celebrated hip-hop swagger depends on a brand of manhood that consistently defines black women as disrespected objects. And fans of all racial background, but especially young white males, who make up the bulk of U.S. consumers, eat it up.

Black women know much about the brutality of colonialism, racism, economic exploitation, and incarceration and their targeted impact on young black men. In the interest of protecting black men and boys from the extraordinary violence they face, many women have spoken out on behalf of men and remained silent about the violence done to women. They worry that naming their own suffering will add to black male suffering. But the forces aligned against black men roll on anyway, don’t they? And, as Audre Lorde so powerfully reminded us, “Your silence won’t protect you.”

Some members of the hip-hop generation have spoken up. Some young women have courageously responded in protest; and films Daphne Valerius’s The Souls of Black Girls and Byron Hurt’s Beyond Beats and Rhymes challenge fans on the subject. But the biggest players in commercial hip-hop — the artists and the major corporations that promote and distribute them — have shielded themselves from sustained engagement and accountability.

A progressive, feminist, anti-racist community is not born, it is made. Through widespread exchange of ideas about how these injustices are perpetuated we learn why it is in all of our interests to fight for justice for all. This is why direct engagement and accountability matters so much. It should not be about finger pointing, or separating “them” from “us.” Part of the power of sexism and racist sexism is their capacity to seem so normal they almost disappear from view: They recruit us all into participation even when we know better.

But at the same time, we cannot continue to defend or silently condone commercial mainstream hip-hop’s hefty contribution to the hostility and disrespect endured by black women. To do so is not to defend black men or hip-hop; it is to defend sexism against black women.

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