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There are many ways of getting familiarized with your industry of choice: workshops, company presentations, networking events, and, of course, conferences. This academic year, IEU students attended several renowned conferences such as LSE AIBC in Hong Kong, WHU Campus for Finance in Koblenz, and LSE AIC in London, which took place from January 22nd to 23rd 2018.

LSE’s Alternative Investments Conference is the biggest student led conference, dedicated to Private Equity, Venture Capital, Hedge and Pension Funds Industry. Each year it gathers around 340 delegates, who are selected on competitive basis out of approximately 7,400 applicants. This makes us even more proud to say that this year’s edition of LSE AIC had a representative IE delegation of 20 students from both the university and the business school along with Irina Zilbergleyt, Director of International Markets for IE Talent and Careers, who was invited by the conference organizers to do a workshop on “Breaking into the Buyside”. Moreover, as a part of the conference, the AMT Training DCF Challenge, which tested participants financial modeling and valuation skills, was held and the winning team was comprised of IE Masters Program Students: Sambhav Golechha, Marvin Müller and Julien Lézé!

Hosted in London, the financial heart of Europe, the conference offered a wide range of insights from industry professionals: from trends that will shape the industry in years to come, to hands on practical sessions where they walked students through some of their deals and offered market and investment valuation techniques.

We also got to hear from industry legends, such as The Carlyle Group’s David Rubenstein, and Terra Firma’s Guy Hands. Both of them underlined the importance of developing not only the traditional finance skill set but also compassion, awareness and giving back to the community. This conference was a unique blend of inspiration, practical sessions, company presentations, and of course networking opportunities, ranging from experienced industry professionals and company representatives, to like minded delegates from other universities.

“It was a great privilege to attend such a remarkable event, attended by some exceptional students and the world’s leading Private Equity firms, Hedge Funds, and Venture Capital Groups,” commented Dan Bloch, a 3rd year BBABIR student, “2018 is certainly shaping as a fascinating year for the sector, particularly as we are seeing global interest rates at such a low level, alongside an almost unprecedented amount of capital, and money ready to be invested from the international markets.

“It will be very interesting to see how these firms go about securing these investments, especially in this time of high global competition, and whether we will see more instances of the “alternative investments” coming to fruition; potentially coming through the likes of renewable energy, resource and energy infrastructure, agri-tech etc,” he concluded.

“I had big expectations while applying for this conference, and they were surpassed. From the amazing keynote speakers to the hundreds of like-minded students, I was constantly learning and developing industry knowledge day by day. There were many inspiring speakers that shared their experiences from when they were students like us, to how they became to be, who they are today,” noted Sebastian Sosa, a 2nd year BBA student, “We also got to meet amazing students, who shared their passions and inspirations, which was really helpful. By exchanging ideas, I discovered some new potential paths for the future that I had not thought about before. Overall I was really pleased to be a part of the 2018 LSE conference and I strongly recommend anyone interested in Finance to join and be part of this incredible experience!”

These observations by the attendees show that you should go beyond the classroom in order to learn more about your industry of interest!

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In December 2017, key speakers from 11 organizations travelled from their prime headquarters to visit the IE Campus and participate in the International Development and Social Impact Talent Forum. An event organized by IE Talent & Careers that enlightened our students about both local and global opportunities available in the field. This event also encouraged them to join these organizations to make a collective and global humanitarian impact.

The organizations that presented their pitch on Day 1 were a mix of financial institutions, social enterprises and humanitarian organizations such as Asian Development Bank (ADB), The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHC) and the World Bank Group.

ICRC spoke about a completely new human experience while making a difference for those in need, whereas ADB insisted on the importance of economic growth and cooperation in the poorest regions of the world, with a special mention of their Young Professional Program that will be launched this year. UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), as the name suggests is dedicated to the improvement of the future of refugees and the World Bank group promotes economic development in developing countries.

Organizations like Impact Hub, Fundación Hazloposible and Devex joined us at the Networking Hub. All of them focused on boosting the participation of all members of the society in social causes.

On Day 2, The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and Save The Children Spain spoke about various politico-military, economic and human aspects and the positions available in the field of humanitarian aid, migration and security planning and governmental organization experience.

The Representative of OSCE gave us an overview of the world’s largest regional security organization, that traces its origins to the Helsinki Final act. She explained that the organization comprises 57 states of North America, Asia and Europe and works to ensure peace, democracy and stability for a billion people by its field operations and special monitoring missions.

In addition to OECD and OSCE, the World Bank Group and United Nations World Tourism Organization, joined the Networking Hub to guide the students about their job prospects.

This event gave a rich insight to IE students who see themselves, in the future, as social workers, generating a deep impact on the lives of the members of our society. 

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Amr Abaza, an IE Alumni from Cairo, Egypt, always considered himself as a Financier, but what he didn´t know was that starting his studies at IE could be what he defines a “life changing experience”.

Amr obtained his Bachelor Degree in Business Administration and Management with a Finance Concentration at The American University of Cairo. One year later he joined the largest Private Bank in Egypt, The Commercial International Bank of Egypt.

After working for almost four years at CIB, where he started his career in the Financial industry and had the chance to work within both Corporate and Credit departments, in 2016, Amr came to Spain to start the Master in Business Administration (MBA).

This experience introduced him into a new world, the Tech field, “because of IE’s start-up and tech focus but also because of the dynamic nature of the industry which changes overnight and requires companies to adapt continuously to those changes” and drove him to start looking for opportunities in the sector.

Amr applied to the Microsoft’s MBA Mach Program and today he works as Licensing Sales Specialist at Microsoft’s Dubai offices. If you want to know more about this perfect example of a successful career shift, keep on reading:

Q: Could you please let us know your job title, the date when you started working in Microsoft and the city where you are based at?

A: I’ve joined Microsoft in March 2017 and I am currently based in Dubai covering the Gulf Region (United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar)

Q: Can you please tell us briefly what your previous job was about? Did you make a significant career change on any of those?

A: I started my career in the Financial Services Industry working at the largest Private Bank in Egypt, The Commercial International Bank of Egypt (CIB). I joined them as a Corporate Specialist as part of the Corporate Banking Department. I am a financier by study and this was a great place to start. I progressed in my role and moved to become a Credit Analyst covering Manufacturing and Resources Industries to later become a Senior Financial Analyst in that industry focus.

Then I embarked on my life changing experience at IE Business School. The reason I say that my experience at IE was life changing is because it allowed me to make the most significant career change of all as I changed function, company, industry and geographical location after graduating. I moved from Finance at CIB in the Financial Service Industry in Egypt to Sales & Licensing at Microsoft in the Technology Industry in the Gulf region.

It is anything but easy to land in a new organization, function, industry and market, but it is doable with enough hard work and luck.

"I started to see Technology as an appealing industry shortly after joining IE. Partly this was because of IE’s start-up and tech focus but also because of the dynamic nature of the industry which changes overnight and requires companies to adapt continuously to those changes.

Joining Microsoft was exactly what I was looking for without knowing. The company has a wealth of knowledge to offer and the industry dynamics keeps the flow of new information and learnings coming constantly, so surely it fits in my career strategy."

Q: Can you please tell us briefly about your new job?

A: I joined Microsoft as part of their MACH MBA program, which stands for Microsoft Academy for College Hires. It is a great program which aims to recruit fresh grads into the company who can bring in energy and new ideas as well as focuses on the development of the candidates until their successful contribution in their new roles.

Microsoft boasts a very inclusive culture where the biggest focus is on learning and growth and I think that’s one of the things that help make new joiners like myself feel both welcome and able to contribute.

I’m currently a Licensing Sales Specialist covering Microsoft’s Enterprise Customers in the Gulf Region focusing on customer in the Financial Services and Manufacturing and Resources industries. This allowed me to capitalize on previous experience in my banking career.

In short, what I do is support Microsoft’s sellers in translating our customer’s software requirements into licensing solutions to enable our customer’s digital transformation journeys. It is a very exciting role from which I can touch and interact with almost all of the business functions at Microsoft and Microsoft’s Enterprise Customers. I would say it’s a role that bridges the gap between Sales and Operations.

Q: Has your personal career strategy always been focused on this job? How does this new job fit into your career strategy?

A: Soon after I started my professional career I realized that I need to be in an organization and a role where my learning curve is constantly upwards sloping, and the steeper the better. I found this in my banking career and am very proud of and grateful to the organization from which I learned so much. I was also able to join IE as an IMBA in January 2016 given my background with that organization.

I started to see technology as an appealing industry shortly after joining IE. Partly this was because of IE’s start-up and tech focus but also because of the dynamic nature of the industry which changes overnight and requires companies to adapt continuously to those changes.

Joining Microsoft was exactly what I was looking for without knowing. The company has a wealth of knowledge to offer and the industry dynamics keeps the flow of new information and learnings coming constantly, so surely it fits in my career strategy.

Q:  How did you find out about this job opportunity? Where did you apply for the job?

A: I remember my last 3-4 months at IE, the pressure was mounting, and the graduation finish line was looming. I remember how worried I was about finding a job post-graduation and how sad I was that my IE experience was coming to an end.

I remember that most if not all of my graduation class felt the same. I remember applying for job opportunities daily and my final count was 284 roles. Yes, 284 job applications submitted and I assure you I was not the job application gold medalist in my class, others I learned had an even more impressive count. I remember all the standard rejection emails I received with the standard “we regret to inform you that we will not be moving forward with your application at this time … etc etc.”. I also remember how those emails made me feel.

I was invited to apply to Microsoft’s MBA Mach Program maybe 3 months into my IMBA year via the Talent and Careers team along with many other IMBA candidates. Undoubtedly, I accepted. In late November, one month before graduation, I started my interview process with Microsoft and after some long and grueling interviews I was accepted.

The irony here is that I ended up in the only role which I did not apply for. Sometimes a little luck is needed with the hard work.

Q: How did Talent & Careers and your IE experience help you during the recruiting process? Did you use specific career resources or did you come across useful information via an Advisor or Alumni?

A: Talent & Careers organized a conference at the time where some of the IMBA students got shortlisted for Microsoft’s MBA MACH program with an IE Alumni who had landed a role in Microsoft Italy. It was great to see someone who’d made it to the other side and it was a great opportunity to ask questions regarding the program, the recruitment and the interviewing process at Microsoft.

I reached out to multiple Alumni who were working for Microsoft and their insight was invaluable to my recruitment process.

The lesson learned here is that the IE community does have each other’s backs. I’ve been approached by multiple aspiring graduates since I’ve joined Microsoft and I will always try to assist them in whatever way I can.

Q: How was the recruiting process: stages, tests, interviews, etc.?

A: The recruitment process was long, started in March 2016 and ended in March 2017 when I got hired. But the actual interviewing process was rather shorter as it kicked off in November 2017.

It is a very standard process including an analytical test and an assessment center until you get to the interviews. The interviews ranged from friendly chats to exhausting and stressful cross examinations. Also, part of the interviews were roleplaying exercise based on MBA MACH candidates suggested track in joining the program (sales, operations, marketing etc..)

Q: Would you want to share any tips or advice with students interested in applying to Microsoft? To your job position in particular?

A: If applying to Microsoft, make sure you come with a growth mindset. The expectation is not that you know everything but rather that you are willing and able to learn anything.

I was hired in Microsoft with virtually no industry, role, market or company knowledge but they tested by ability to learn this. They are looking for driven, coachable, energetic candidates who can be dropped in the ocean and quickly find their way to the nearest shore and I’m sure that IE preps up its students to that.

I would love to have a more 1 on 1 conversation with anyone who is interested in joining Microsoft and hopefully be able to help them in their future careers.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Microsoft refers to Microsoft Corp. and its affiliates, including Microsoft Mobile Oy, a subsidiary of Microsoft. Microsoft Mobile Oy develops, manufactures and distributes Lumia and Asha and Nokia X mobile phones and other devices.

(Source: Microsoft.com)

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Students from across many master programs in IE gathered on November 6th, at Serrano 99, to participate in the Start-Up Talent Forum. Participants attended the company presentations, where they learned about life at a start-up, the type of profiles these companies are looking for and information about career opportunities within these specific companies. Afterwards, a networking hub took place, giving the candidates a closer look at the companies and giving them the opportunity to network with the speakers.

Start-ups across multiple industries such as Consultancy, Real Estate, Technology and Human Resources, along with some business accelerators, presented to the audience during company snapshots. The first company to present was Opinno, a Tech Consulting company that creates ecosystems for their clients, using human centered-design to create solutions catered to customers. Wayra (Telefónica) was next up, presenting their company profile but focused on the difference between working at a start-up and a corporation.

Spot-a-Home Human Resources Director spoke about the company’s values and explained that one of the most important things they focused on is the company’s culture. The fourth to present was Sigfox, a Technology company aiming to create solutions for businesses using the Internet of Things. It is the largest European start-up to date and is currently present in 36 countries.

"Overall, the common factors among all the company snapshots were that working in a start-up is dynamic, fun, collaborative and passion-driven.
The representatives emphasized that start-ups care about customers through their helpful approach, also about their employees in the way they empower them through the company’s values."

The last two presentations were focus on Human Resources and recruitment. The first was Fundación Universidad-Empresa (FUE), which is a non-profit foundation that designs innovative internship programs targeted to current students and fresh graduates. It is an amazing tool to connect and apply to different companies ranging from start-ups to multinationals. Lastly, Job and Talent, a digital staffing agency, presented both their platform and career opportunities within their company. The speaker also talked about the start-up life, wherein she mentioned that no day is the same when working in such company.

Overall, the common factors among all the company snapshots were that working in a start-up is dynamic, fun, collaborative and passion-driven. The representatives
emphasized that start-ups care about customers through their helpful approach, also about their employees in the way they empower them through the company’s values. Moreover, start-ups are a great place to create a big impact on different sectors. Not only will employees learn from the day-to-day grind of working in an agile setting, but also serve a purpose to the needs of people and businesses.

Text by: Bianca Lontoc.
IE Master in Management 2017 Candidate
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In the month of November, IE Talent & Careers organized an information session about Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy’s new program: Inside LVMH. This program brings together students from the 40 best business and engineering schools worldwide to work on a project and learn about LVMH throughout the process.

LVMH is considered the biggest group in the luxury industry with up to 70 different houses or maisons as they call them. The group was created in 1987 under two holdings that covered all the brands. Today this group has more than 140,000 employees worldwide, owns 3,948 stores and divides its portfolio in six main categories: Wines & Spirits, Fashion & Leather Goods, Perfumes & Cosmetics, Watches & Jewelry, Selective retailing & other activities.

LVMH is a decentralized organization, meaning that its maisons share common guidelines but have developed their own strategy and have registered an organic growth independently. For example, Sephora, one of their brands, created in 1997, two years later became the largest subsidiary in the U.S. Synergies are created among their maisons, facing the savoir-faire challenge: “keeping the tradition of the brand to the new-comers”.

Their core belief is “People make the difference” and their main values are excellence and quality, entrepreneurship and creativity and innovation. It is important to mention that 74% of the employees are female and 40% of the key positions within the company are women-owned. The average age is only 36 years old and the seniority is 7 years, which means that one can grow professionally within the Group, with opportunities for both international mobility, as well as mobility amongst brands.

The objective of the on-campus presentation was to present the new Inside LVMH talent program, which they are launching in Spain. It consists of a 4-month program where students work on innovation in the luxury industry to address the challenge “2018: Imagine the luxury experience of tomorrow”. The objectives of the program are to give the students the chance to know the Group and its maisons from the inside, understand
the luxury industry, develop an innovative spirit and give exposure to students in front of LVMH recruiters.

The presentation was a total success given the number of attendees and the number of IE students who are participating in the program. In order to be accepted into the programs, students had to submit a one-minute video containing an elevator pitch talking about why they were interested in participating and what they liked about LVMH.

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Jorge Lázaro Ibáñez, a former Master in Management student from the February 2016 Intake, started as a Logistic Manager at Inditex in January 2017. Inditex’s headquarter where Jorge is currently working, is located in the north of Spain in Arteixo, La Coruña.

He had previous experience in the Hospitality industry as Manager Assistant in Austin, TX. However, after his Master at IE, he decided to change completely his career path and shift to the Retail industry focusing on Logistics. Jorge has shared with us his story and how he achieved his career success at Inditex.

Q: Can you please tell us briefly about your new job?

A: Currently, I am working at Inditex in the Import/Export and Transport department. This department makes sure that all the stores around the world get new clothes twice a week. It is a fast-paced environment where you need to adapt and solve multiple issues that arise during the transportation process from the logistics center to the stores.

Q: Has your personal career strategy always been focused on this job? How does this new job fit into your career strategy?

A: At IE my specialization was International Business because I wanted to work in a company that operated around the world.  And this is exactly what Inditex has given me: an opportunity to constantly communicate with all coworkers and business partners around the world.

Every day I am in touch with people from different countries, this international work environment makes me learn a lot. Besides this, it is a department where you can move from one position to another so you can have a full understanding of all the processes.

Once they see that you are confident handling a specific task, they move you to the next one so you do not have time to accommodate. It is a great chance for recent graduates to figure out what you like.

Q: How did you find out about this job opportunity?

A: I found this job opportunity thanks to an email sent by Mariola Díez from IE Talent & Careers.

Q: How did Talent & Careers and your IE experience help you during the recruiting process? Did you use specific career resources or did you come across useful information via an Advisor or Alumni?

A: As I found this opportunity very interesting, I contacted Mariola and she helped me out to change a few details in my CV to make it more suitable for Inditex.

Q: How was the recruiting process: stages, tests, interviews, etc.?

A: After I applied through IE, I got an email to make a first interview via Skype. It was during summer and after 20 minutes they told me that the program started in September. The problem I saw was that I was from the February intake so the program did not work for me. Nevertheless, the recruiter told me that I had a good profile so we agreed that once I finish my master, we would talk again.

In October, I had a second Skype interview with the director of the department. After that interview, I did not hear from them until I sent an email in December letting them know that I was about to graduate and asking if they still had any vacancy.

A couple of weeks later, they called me to have a third interview with another colleague from the department. At the beginning of January, I received an offer to work with them.

On the first Interview I had during summer 2016, they asked me about myself and my professional experience. In the second interview (the most important one), they asked me about my interest in Logistics and the position within the company. For the third interview, they were focused on my international experience and the career path I would like to follow, making questions like Where do you see yourself in five years?

Q: Would you want to share any tips or advice with students interested in applying to Inditex? To your job position in particular?

A: Inditex is a fast company, you need to be able to adapt and do not be afraid to make mistakes, which is normal.

They value proactive behavior, since day one you have responsibilities, you are in charge of many things so you need to step up your game. You need to be comfortable getting out of your comfort zone and know how to deal with stress. If so, this is the place for you to work at.

You need to show that you can handle work under pressure, a good attitude to face problems, and most important being able to adapt to all circumstances. If you fit this profile, Inditex will offer you plenty of opportunities to grow.

Inditex is a Spanish multinational fashion retailer headquartered in Arteixo, Galicia. Being the biggest fashion group in the world, Inditex operates over 7,504 stores in 94 markets worldwide and employs around 162,000 people.

Zara is the company’s flagship store, but there are several other known chains that also belong to Inditex, as for example: Zara Home, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Oysho, Pull and Bear, Stradivarius and Uterqüe.

The majority of its stores are corporate-owned, while franchises are mainly conceded in countries where corporate properties cannot be foreign-owned. The company’s business model is unique and works as follows: instead of committing a large percentage of production for the next fashion season, the company commits a small amount and uses customer feedback and an efficient production network to replenish stores with new and different products weekly.

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There are many ways of getting familiarized with your industry of choice: workshops, company presentations, networking events, and, of course, conferences. This academic year, IEU students attended several renowned conferences such as LSE AIBC in Hong Kong, WHU Campus for Finance in Koblenz, and LSE AIC in London, which took place from January 22nd to 23rd 2018.

LSE’s Alternative Investments Conference is the biggest student led conference, dedicated to Private Equity, Venture Capital, Hedge and Pension Funds Industry. Each year it gathers around 340 delegates, who are selected on competitive basis out of approximately 7,400 applicants. This makes us even more proud to say that this year’s edition of LSE AIC had a representative IE delegation of 20 students from both the university and the business school along with Irina Zilbergleyt, Director of International Markets for IE Talent and Careers, who was invited by the conference organizers to do a workshop on “Breaking into the Buyside”. Moreover, as a part of the conference, the AMT Training DCF Challenge, which tested participants financial modeling and valuation skills, was held and the winning team was comprised of IE Masters Program Students: Sambhav Golechha, Marvin Müller and Julien Lézé!

Hosted in London, the financial heart of Europe, the conference offered a wide range of insights from industry professionals: from trends that will shape the industry in years to come, to hands on practical sessions where they walked students through some of their deals and offered market and investment valuation techniques.

We also got to hear from industry legends, such as The Carlyle Group’s David Rubenstein, and Terra Firma’s Guy Hands. Both of them underlined the importance of developing not only the traditional finance skill set but also compassion, awareness and giving back to the community. This conference was a unique blend of inspiration, practical sessions, company presentations, and of course networking opportunities, ranging from experienced industry professionals and company representatives, to like minded delegates from other universities.

“It was a great privilege to attend such a remarkable event, attended by some exceptional students and the world’s leading Private Equity firms, Hedge Funds, and Venture Capital Groups,” commented Dan Bloch, a 3rd year BBABIR student, “2018 is certainly shaping as a fascinating year for the sector, particularly as we are seeing global interest rates at such a low level, alongside an almost unprecedented amount of capital, and money ready to be invested from the international markets.

“It will be very interesting to see how these firms go about securing these investments, especially in this time of high global competition, and whether we will see more instances of the “alternative investments” coming to fruition; potentially coming through the likes of renewable energy, resource and energy infrastructure, agri-tech etc,” he concluded.

“I had big expectations while applying for this conference, and they were surpassed. From the amazing keynote speakers to the hundreds of like-minded students, I was constantly learning and developing industry knowledge day by day. There were many inspiring speakers that shared their experiences from when they were students like us, to how they became to be, who they are today,” noted Sebastian Sosa, a 2nd year BBA student, “We also got to meet amazing students, who shared their passions and inspirations, which was really helpful. By exchanging ideas, I discovered some new potential paths for the future that I had not thought about before. Overall I was really pleased to be a part of the 2018 LSE conference and I strongly recommend anyone interested in Finance to join and be part of this incredible experience!”

These observations by the attendees show that you should go beyond the classroom in order to learn more about your industry of interest!

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In December 2017, key speakers from 11 organizations travelled from their prime headquarters to visit the IE Campus and participate in the International Development and Social Impact Talent Forum. An event organized by IE Talent & Careers that enlightened our students about both local and global opportunities available in the field. This event also encouraged them to join these organizations to make a collective and global humanitarian impact.

The organizations that presented their pitch on Day 1 were a mix of financial institutions, social enterprises and humanitarian organizations such as Asian Development Bank (ADB), The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHC) and the World Bank Group.

ICRC spoke about a completely new human experience while making a difference for those in need, whereas ADB insisted on the importance of economic growth and cooperation in the poorest regions of the world, with a special mention of their Young Professional Program that will be launch this year. UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), as the name suggests is dedicated to the improvement of the future of refugees and the World Bank group promotes economic development in developing countries.

Organizations like Impact Hub, Fundación Hazloposible and Devex joined us at the Networking Hub. All of them are focus on boosting the participation of all members of the society in social causes.

On Day 2, The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and Save The Children Spain spoke about various politico-military, economic and human aspects and the positions available in the field of humanitarian aid, migration and security planning and governmental organization experience.

The Representative of OSCE gave us an overview of the world’s largest regional security organization, that traces its origins to the Helsinki Final act. She explained that the organization comprises 57 states of North America, Asia and Europe and works to ensure peace, democracy and stability for a billion people by its field operations and special monitoring missions.

In addition to OECD and OSCE, the World Bank Group and United Nations World Tourism Organization, joined the Networking Hub to guide the students about their job prospects.

This event gave a rich insight to IE students who see themselves, in the future, as social workers, generating a deep impact on the lives of the members of our society. 

Text by: Shivani Choudary.
IE Master in Management 2017 Candidate
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Amr Abaza, an IE Alumni from Cairo, Egypt, always considered himself as a Financier, but what he didn´t know was that starting his studies at IE could be what he defines a “life changing experience”.

Amr obtained his Bachelor Degree in Business Administration and Management with a Finance Concentration at The American University of Cairo. One year later he joined the largest Private Bank in Egypt, The Commercial International Bank of Egypt.

After working for almost four years at CIB, where he started his career in the Financial industry and had the chance to work within both Corporate and Credit departments, in 2016, Amr came to Spain to start the Master in Business Administration (MBA).

This experience introduced him into a new world, the Tech field, “because of IE’s start-up and tech focus but also because of the dynamic nature of the industry which changes overnight and requires companies to adapt continuously to those changes” and drove him to start looking for opportunities in the sector.

Amr applied to the Microsoft’s MBA Mach Program and today he works as Licensing Sales Specialist at Microsoft’s Dubai offices. If you want to know more about this perfect example of a successful career shift, keep on reading:

Q: Could you please let us know your job title, the date when you started working in Microsoft and the city where you are based at?

A: I’ve joined Microsoft in March 2017 and I am currently based in Dubai covering the Gulf Region (United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar)

Q: Can you please tell us briefly what your previous job was about? Did you make a significant career change on any of those?

A: I started my career in the Financial Services Industry working at the largest Private Bank in Egypt, The Commercial International Bank of Egypt (CIB). I joined them as a Corporate Specialist as part of the Corporate Banking Department. I am a financier by study and this was a great place to start. I progressed in my role and moved to become a Credit Analyst covering Manufacturing and Resources Industries to later become a Senior Financial Analyst in that industry focus.

Then I embarked on my life changing experience at IE Business School. The reason I say that my experience at IE was life changing is because it allowed me to make the most significant career change of all as I changed function, company, industry and geographical location after graduating. I moved from Finance at CIB in the Financial Service Industry in Egypt to Sales & Licensing at Microsoft in the Technology Industry in the Gulf region.

It is anything but easy to land in a new organization, function, industry and market, but it is doable with enough hard work and luck.

"I started to see Technology as an appealing industry shortly after joining IE. Partly this was because of IE’s start-up and tech focus but also because of the dynamic nature of the industry which changes overnight and requires companies to adapt continuously to those changes.

Joining Microsoft was exactly what I was looking for without knowing. The company has a wealth of knowledge to offer and the industry dynamics keeps the flow of new information and learnings coming constantly, so surely it fits in my career strategy."

Q: Can you please tell us briefly about your new job?

A: I joined Microsoft as part of their MACH MBA program, which stands for Microsoft Academy for College Hires. It is a great program which aims to recruit fresh grads into the company who can bring in energy and new ideas as well as focuses on the development of the candidates until their successful contribution in their new roles.

Microsoft boasts a very inclusive culture where the biggest focus is on learning and growth and I think that’s one of the things that help make new joiners like myself feel both welcome and able to contribute.

I’m currently a Licensing Sales Specialist covering Microsoft’s Enterprise Customers in the Gulf Region focusing on customer in the Financial Services and Manufacturing and Resources industries. This allowed me to capitalize on previous experience in my banking career.

In short, what I do is support Microsoft’s sellers in translating our customer’s software requirements into licensing solutions to enable our customer’s digital transformation journeys. It is a very exciting role from which I can touch and interact with almost all of the business functions at Microsoft and Microsoft’s Enterprise Customers. I would say it’s a role that bridges the gap between Sales and Operations.

Q: Has your personal career strategy always been focused on this job? How does this new job fit into your career strategy?

A: Soon after I started my professional career I realized that I need to be in an organization and a role where my learning curve is constantly upwards sloping, and the steeper the better. I found this in my banking career and am very proud of and grateful to the organization from which I learned so much. I was also able to join IE as an IMBA in January 2016 given my background with that organization.

I started to see technology as an appealing industry shortly after joining IE. Partly this was because of IE’s start-up and tech focus but also because of the dynamic nature of the industry which changes overnight and requires companies to adapt continuously to those changes.

Joining Microsoft was exactly what I was looking for without knowing. The company has a wealth of knowledge to offer and the industry dynamics keeps the flow of new information and learnings coming constantly, so surely it fits in my career strategy.

Q:  How did you find out about this job opportunity? Where did you apply for the job?

A: I remember my last 3-4 months at IE, the pressure was mounting, and the graduation finish line was looming. I remember how worried I was about finding a job post-graduation and how sad I was that my IE experience was coming to an end.

I remember that most if not all of my graduation class felt the same. I remember applying for job opportunities daily and my final count was 284 roles. Yes, 284 job applications submitted and I assure you I was not the job application gold medalist in my class, others I learned had an even more impressive count. I remember all the standard rejection emails I received with the standard “we regret to inform you that we will not be moving forward with your application at this time … etc etc.”. I also remember how those emails made me feel.

I was invited to apply to Microsoft’s MBA Mach Program maybe 3 months into my IMBA year via the Talent and Careers team along with many other IMBA candidates. Undoubtedly, I accepted. In late November, one month before graduation, I started my interview process with Microsoft and after some long and grueling interviews I was accepted.

The irony here is that I ended up in the only role which I did not apply for. Sometimes a little luck is needed with the hard work.

Q: How did Talent & Careers and your IE experience help you during the recruiting process? Did you use specific career resources or did you come across useful information via an Advisor or Alumni?

A: Talent & Careers organized a conference at the time where some of the IMBA students got shortlisted for Microsoft’s MBA MACH program with an IE Alumni who had landed a role in Microsoft Italy. It was great to see someone who’d made it to the other side and it was a great opportunity to ask questions regarding the program, the recruitment and the interviewing process at Microsoft.

I reached out to multiple Alumni who were working for Microsoft and their insight was invaluable to my recruitment process.

The lesson learned here is that the IE community does have each other’s backs. I’ve been approached by multiple aspiring graduates since I’ve joined Microsoft and I will always try to assist them in whatever way I can.

Q: How was the recruiting process: stages, tests, interviews, etc.?

A: The recruitment process was long, started in March 2016 and ended in March 2017 when I got hired. But the actual interviewing process was rather shorter as it kicked off in November 2017.

It is a very standard process including an analytical test and an assessment center until you get to the interviews. The interviews ranged from friendly chats to exhausting and stressful cross examinations. Also, part of the interviews were roleplaying exercise based on MBA MACH candidates suggested track in joining the program (sales, operations, marketing etc..)

Q: Would you want to share any tips or advice with students interested in applying to Microsoft? To your job position in particular?

A: If applying to Microsoft, make sure you come with a growth mindset. The expectation is not that you know everything but rather that you are willing and able to learn anything.

I was hired in Microsoft with virtually no industry, role, market or company knowledge but they tested by ability to learn this. They are looking for driven, coachable, energetic candidates who can be dropped in the ocean and quickly find their way to the nearest shore and I’m sure that IE preps up its students to that.

I would love to have a more 1 on 1 conversation with anyone who is interested in joining Microsoft and hopefully be able to help them in their future careers.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Microsoft refers to Microsoft Corp. and its affiliates, including Microsoft Mobile Oy, a subsidiary of Microsoft. Microsoft Mobile Oy develops, manufactures and distributes Lumia and Asha and Nokia X mobile phones and other devices.

(Source: Microsoft.com)

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Students from across many master programs in IE gathered on November 6th, at Serrano 99, to participate in the Start-Ups Talent Forum. Participants attended the company presentations, where they learned about life at a start-up, the type of profiles these companies are looking for and information about career opportunities within these specific companies. Afterwards, a networking hub took place, giving the candidates a closer look at the companies and giving them the opportunity to network with the speakers.

Start-ups across multiple industries such as Consultancy, Real Estate, Technology and Human Resources, along with some business accelerators, presented to the audience during company snapshots. The first company to present was Opinno, a Tech Consulting company that creates ecosystems for their clients, using human centered-design to create solutions catered to customers. Wayra (Telefónica) was next up, presenting their company profile but focused on the difference between working at a start-up and a corporation.

Spot-a-Home Human Resources Director spoke about the company’s values and explained that one of the most important things they focused on is the company’s culture. The fourth to present was Sigfox, a Technology company aiming to create solutions for businesses using the Internet of Things. It is the largest European start-up to date and is currently present in 36 countries.

"Overall, the common factors among all the company snapshots were that working in a start-up is dynamic, fun, collaborative and passion-driven. The representatives
emphasized that start-ups care about customers through their helpful approach, also about their employees in the way they empower them through the company’s values."

The last two presentations were focus on Human Resources and recruitment. The first was Fundación Universidad-Empresa (FUE), which is a non-profit foundation that designs innovative internship programs targeted to current students and fresh graduates. It is an amazing tool to connect and apply to different companies ranging from start-ups to multinationals. Lastly, Job and Talent, a digital staffing agency, presented both their platform and career opportunities within their company. The speaker also talked about the start-up life, wherein she mentioned that no day is the same when working in such company.

Overall, the common factors among all the company snapshots were that working in a start-up is dynamic, fun, collaborative and passion-driven. The representatives
emphasized that start-ups care about customers through their helpful approach, also about their employees in the way they empower them through the company’s values. Moreover, start-ups are a great place to create a big impact on different sectors. Not only will employees learn from the day-to-day grind of working in an agile setting, but also serve a purpose to the needs of people and businesses.

Text by: Bianca Lontoc.
IE Master in Management 2017 Candidate
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