Let’s change the status quo of Education!

I feel like I am helping with this process and this makes me a happy person these days. Here I share a little bit of information about what I’m doing at IE (a lot of people ask me about it), besides being an associate professor. A larger version of this interview was published last month within IE’s internal communication newsletter (I took out some strategic internal information).

ieCOMMunity News: Where are you from? What is your academic and professional background? How did you come to IE?

I’m Brazilian, born in Rio de Janeiro, from a family that came originally from Portugal. I started work in the technology sector very young at 16, as a software programmer. My father worked in the sector and ever since I was a child I loved anything to do with computers. I went on to study management and accounting at university in order to help out in my father’s firm, but I ended up loving marketing, particularly everything to do with the sale of technology-related services. 

I was one of the first Brazilians to study at IE, in the year 2000. I mapped out a career plan with the directors in our company which included studying business abroad. In Brazil at that time hardly anybody came to Europe to study business. I decided to take a look at European Schools because I had a total cultural affinity with Europe. When I came here to visit some top schools I fell in love with IE because of all the schools I visited it seemed the most technology-friendly. Although I really like history, I don’t like lectures about the past, rooted in tradition. I prefer to hear about the future, and that is what I found here. 

My experience as a student surpassed my expectations and a year and a half after I graduated, while I was working here in Madrid with Telefónica, IE invited me to find a way to increase relations between the School and Brazil. That’s how I ended up going to São Paulo to set up IE’s office there in 2003. At the time there were some 2 or 3 Brazilian students at IE each year, and today there are over 50.

ieCOMMunity News: Tell us about your day-to-day at IE. What is the most rewarding part of your work? What do you like most about it?

Today, as Director of Admissions for Blended Programs and Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, my day-to-day is pretty intense. I tend to place myself and everyone I work with under a lot of pressure to keep us at the forefront of our sector. 

Right now the whole knowledge industry is playing major role in all sectors, but particularly where online education is concerned. There are so many challenges and so many courses of action you can take that it is easy to lose yourself and your motivation when there is so much to do in so little time. But this is exactly what I find motivating and gratifying: being able to help IE and society as a whole by finding alternatives to improve the way we create and transmit knowledge among ourselves. 

What I like most is to be able to dream about possible solutions for these challenges and within a matter of months be able to share these dreams with other people and see the results when they have become a reality. 

ieCOMMunity News: Tell us about how you have seen IE Business School grow and evolve since you first came to work here. 

With great excitement. IE’s culture is unique, marked by its origins but not constrained by them. For instance, it is very gratifying to see that each time I go to Brazil more and more people are starting to know about IE and its values. It is something that I couldn’t have imagined in 2003, when I first arrived there full of dreams but with limited resources. 

ieCOMMunity News: What does the restructuring of IE Business School Programs mean for the School? 

The first major step was taken 10 years ago when IE decided to commit to blended education. The second major step came with the decision to continue to commit to this model, even after the internet bubble burst. I see this restructuring process as the third, very important step, taken in the direction in which thinkers in the field of education say that we should go, namely toward the possibility of offering quality education that can be adapted to meet the needs of each individual. 

Today, developing modular courses while providing a good blended education model is a logistic and academic nightmare for any large school or university. 

As the best Business School in the world in Distance Learning (The Economist, 2010), I feel that at IE we are ready to move forward with all these models (and perhaps some others). If we don’t keep raising the bar, other schools can quickly catch up. Everything moves very fast nowadays. 

ieCOMMunity News: Which programs will be restructured? What are the key features of the new MBA+ programs? 

The programs affected are some of the part-time program groups, and certainly the majority of blended programs – or online programs as they were called up until two years ago. The changes will also affect some of IE’s more traditional programs, such as the MBAs and weekly and bi-weekly Executive MBAs. Together with the blended programs, these programs will be modular, and will be divided into two groups known as the Global MBA+ and the Executive MBA+. 

The majority of specialized programs will be integrated into these MBAs. For example, the Master in Sports Management will become a +Module, known in this case as +Sports Management, in such a way that it will fit into any Global MBA+ or Executive MBA+ format. The same will apply to the Master in Sales and Marketing, which becomes +Marketing & Sales, etc. 

There will be many possible combinations of different formats, languages, specializations and networking opportunities, which will enable the student to organize him/herself to suit his/her personal and professional needs. For example, a student can opt to do the core period in face-to-face format and change to blended when they begin the +Module, or vice versa, start with a blended format and then do the program on campus. The same goes for languages. Students can start the core period in Spanish and then change to English, or vice versa. It’s amazing.

[Here I attach the first video we did to try to transmit what are these new programs about.]

ieCOMMunity News: What should we know if students, graduates or candidates ask us about the MBA+ programs? 

That both the Global MBA+ and Executive MBA+ programs are part-time and therefore compatible with their work. The curriculum of both programs combines the content of an IE Business School MBA program with the depth of a specialized program. The many customization options will permit students to adapt the program to their own specific professional needs and personal circumstances without losing the group spirit and the chance to build the kind of powerful network that is so typical of the IE experience. 

ieCOMMunity News: How will students and graduates benefit from this new structure? 

Students will begin to feel the benefits of using technology for personal and professional development purposes from day one, getting to know unique and diverse people who nevertheless have similar concerns. The personalization, the immediate applicability of knowledge acquired during the program, and the networking contacts established between professors and students will be further strengthened by the “pieces” that make up these programs. 

Hence, students will see that technology is there to help us mankind to go further not only in terms of productivity, but also intellectually and in our social relations. 

ieCOMMunity News: What about your life outside IE? What do you do in your free time?

I read lot, more and more all the time. I think that after five years reading really thick and dense books during my doctoral studies – I completed my doctorate in 2010, I now find it so easy to read books that are not academic (they look like magazines to me). I like books (and documentaries) about history, religion, science fiction and sociology. I also practice a type of self-defense called Krav-Magá, I play the guitar sometimes, and I like to travel to different places with my wife, as often as possible. 

Twitter: @neweduca

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