IE Business School Online Masters
Juan Gutiérrez Juan Gutiérrez
I live in Guatemala City, I have a double major in Mechanical - Industrial engineering, and a minor in Civil engineering. I've worked in a Sugar Mill for one year in the Maintenance department and Production, as a Supervisor, then I worked another year at MTL Bureau Veritas CPS, which was a quality control laboratory for textiles, we used to certified the Textile Mills working in GT, these companies manufactured garments for renowned brands as Liz Claiborne, Abercrombie and Fitch, Gap, Levi's, Old Navy, just to mention some. I was in charge of the maintenance of the laboratory equipment, and I was also one of the laboratory analysts performing the tests to the textiles and garments.

Currently I'm working in my own company, Bara Ingenieria, S.A. which I founded 4 years ago. We are completely dedicated to Real Estate investments, developments and construction. So far we've developed 4 successful projects and currently we have three more in progress. The situation has been challenging with the global scenario, but the interesting part is that with the MBA I am learning new tools and ways of thinking regarding business, and I'm sure I will be able to bring all these new skills and knowledge to the company, taking it to the next level.

Juan Gutiérrez
June 17, 2009
The forums…

Hi again, its me :-),

This time I would like to share a little bit about what happends during the week. I think my colleagues made very good posts regarding the VC and I loved Virginia’s post with the photo of the class! its simply amazing to see how time and location become so relative nowadays, in the photo you see in her post, you have people located at that moment in the whole globe! amazing isn’t it? only at IE!… 😉 that’s innovation!!!

Well, during the weeks we have the so-called discussion forums (or DB as we call them). During the forums we have the same quality interaction as in the videoconferences, this time its all written in a blog. The way it works is pretty simple and straightforward. We have a study case allocated for each DB, we have to read it, discuss it with our group, and prepare a report which is due Monday, the professor posts some warming-up questions regarding the case, in which we can give our views and answers (both from our group’s perspective and also individually), the professor (or sometimes a group) is in charge of moderating the forum, by analizing each comment and trying to go deeper in the discussion, this requires that everyone enters the DB at least twice per day, in some cases (when your group is moderating) you will be required to enter much more than that.

The beauty of this method is that you get the views of everyone in the class which is very nurturing, plus it gives you the advantage that each one of us can think and meditate on the question before answering, enhancing considerably the quality of each comment. This is waaaay better than the usual direct questions (or cold-calls) made in class in the presential format, in which the student has to answer right away, as we all know, this can be a bit scary sometimes, and since you have to answer so fast, your answer will not be as deep as if you have chance to meditate, re-read some material, do research or even ask a colleague at work about a topic, and after this, you prepare your answer or comment, adding soooo much value to the answers and comments you get in the DB.

I will come back with more soon…

take care


Juan Gutiérrez
May 16, 2009
Time zone differences…

Hello, today I want to comment about the time zone differences and how this affects…or not the scheduling of your agenda each week. As you already know, I live in Guatemala, which means that in my class I am the one that has the craziest hour to attend classes on Saturdays. Just for your information, I have to wake up at 3am every Saturday to be ready for class…….yes it sounds inhuman but the way I see it, there is always a price to pay for the things you want, in life there is no such thing as “a free meal”, so in this case I have to say, no pain no gain.

I have the personal belief that everything we do in life has to be done with energy, enthusiasm and dedication (added to passion and joy), so this is pretty much what drives me to wake up every Saturday at that crazy time. Yes, is not an easy task, but I guess the adrenaline that your body pumps once you realize that you have a great class coming, plus a presentation to give to your fellow class, plus some fun interaction with your colleagues all around the globe in real time, makes the waking up more bearable, additional to this, a strong cup of coffee aids in the process. 

The fun part is that sometimes in my case I simply don’t sleep from Friday til the class at 3am…..and not because I went out to a party and just arrived on time for the class, no! 😉 well maybe sometimes, but that’s more the exception rather than the rule, most of the times I didn’t sleep because I was studying or working on those presentations or reports due Saturday before the class. This is part of the fun, I don’t complain nor regret it because its all part of the learning (and also because I’ll sleep all day once the class is over). For me, 3am is equivalent to 11am Madrid Time, therefore classes finish around 7am which is equivalent to 2-3pm Madrid Time (sometimes it takes a bit longer because we have group meetings to split the tasks during the weekend for the reports due Monday :-), it sounds fun, isn’t it?)  

Not everything is a “con”, living at this side of world is like living in the past, why? well let me explain a theory of relativity that I developed in this program. Since we use Madrid Time as reference for everything we do, meetings, report deadlines, classes, quizzes, etc, then for the duration of the program Madrid Time will be “the present”, people who live farther to the east therefore having their time zome ahead of Madrid Time, they live in “the future” and people like me who live farther to the west therefore having their time zone behind Madrid Time, we live in “the past” :-D.  This gives us an advantage when delivering cases and presentations, because we have more time so to speak to prepare for them, since we are “lagging behind” we can take advantage of our nights to finish them, i.e. on Fridays when we can finish the presentations while our colleagues at the other side of the pond are sleeping (of course, here is were the cycle closes regarding our lack of sleep during Saturday early-crazy mornings)….but well this is another chapter of the fun story named Global MBA at IE…..

later gator


Juan Gutiérrez
May 9, 2009
How is the interaction with your classmates….

Hello people, its me again, Juan 😀

As I promised in my previous post, I will talk a little bit about how the methodology works, and in this post I will focus on how the interaction is with your classmates. The first thing you have to consider is that you will be organized in groups (A, B, C and D which can vary depending on the number of students in each class). Each group consists of 5-7 members, and you will be working with them for several months. After that you will be shuffled again and groups are reorganized, this way you will have the opportunity to work and interact on a daily basis with everyone in the class, this will help you to improve your skills to relate with different people, with different cultures and the most important, with different personalities. This is an excellent training to learn how to deal with people with different ways of thinking, personalities, characters, etc, as its the case in real life. 

I remember when I started the program I had the chance to work with three excellent persons, Lena, Hiro and Borja. The interaction is constant, you have to use all the resources available, MSN, Skype, email and the virtual campus (which has the platform to interact live with camera and audio in real time, with some awesome tools like whiteboards, chats, polls and a section to share documents so everyone could see them at the same time, trust me is hard to give the details written, but once you get used to it, is like being in the same room working with your colleagues. 

The routine is the same, we worked on cases, starting with a first draft and building over it until we came up with the final report that was due Saturday or Monday. The interaction is daily, we used to schedule meetings every other day to discuss our thoughts on how to approach the case, for instance, when we were taking the Marketing course we used to spend all Sundays working on the reports. The course was excellent which implied that the reports the professor expected had to be high quality. We used to eat together while working, we also used to joke a lot and laugh like crazy while working, these made the whole experience very rewarding. The most amazing thing was that we were all in different locations: Guatemala, Germany, UK and Madrid! and it was fun to see our everyday activities merge with our MBA-work: Hiro going downstairs to put the laundry, or me calling McDonald’s to order my lunch (yes in Guatemala McD has home delivery), Lena being called by her husband that her dinner was ready, or Borja saving his dog from choking with a tangerine! hahahaha it was so fun when he told us that while we were working :-D, of course he saved his dog, otherwise it wouldn’t be fun at all ;-). 

At the end it was like working in the same physical space, it only took dedication, responsibility and discipline from the members to be there making the time to work. At the end, the result was rewarding, the final report deserved a 10/10. Just FYI, this was every Sunday, while the Marketing course lasted, almost three months!

I have to go now, talk to you guys later….



Juan Gutiérrez
May 4, 2009
First thoughts about the GMBA….

Hello, I’m Juan from Guatemala, and I’m a student in the GMBA English program. After some months in the program I realized one thing, I was NOT in a part-time program, I was completely submerged in a full-time program…what?! yes, when students evaluate the options they have available to get an MBA, one of the trade-offs they have to make is to ask themselves if they want to:

– quit/pause their jobs/businesses/careers in order to pursue a full-time program or

– if they don’t want to make this “pause” in their professional lives consider a part-time option.

As some colleagues have stated in this blog, people think of an online program as “easy”….well if people think that is because they haven’t been in a Masters degree at IE :-).

As the first weeks passed by, I realized that I wasn’t in a part-time program, the term fits just because you work all day, but when you leave the office, the real work has just begun. What do I mean with this, well, one thing you have to consider is that your social life will vanish, you will have to dedicate a lot of time (more than you can imagine) to the program, and as I say to my friends/family when they ask me to go out with them or to spend time with them: I am physically here in GT, but you have to think of me as if I were full-time living in Madrid….

A full-time program has one feature that compared to an online format, is a weakness (no offense full-time takers :-p):

– Full-time students spend half the day working in the courses, attending classes and having group meetings to prepare the reports/presentations, etc for the classes, but they also spend the other half of the day “hanging around”. This is not bad, but I suppose this depends on each person. If you are in the early stages of your professional life, with no kids, no spouse, no major responsibilities, then I think the full-time program is a great option as you will have time to party, study, learn and have the best time of your life.

– Full-time students are “isolated” from their real lives back home, meaning that they are all in the same conditions, everybody lives in Madrid, nobody is working, nobody is living their “normal” lives with all the implications, no routinary hassles, no daily errands, nothing, you are all centered and focused on the Master, so this constrains a lot the learning and interaction in a more pragmatic and every-day level, I will go over this idea in the next paragraph (I promise, I am about to finish this post :-D).

The Online format allows you to:

– learn and receive a training so intense that it will resemble what real life will be. You will have to deal with your everyday issues (family, work, social, emotional, etc) all in one package, just as real life is. Since all the students in these programs are living their lives simultaneaously with the program, you will learn so many things from your colleagues’ lives (family-related, job-related, emotional-related, culturaly-related, etc) that the learning process will extend beyond the boundaries of the Harvard/IE cases, books and the lectures from your professors….., trust me, you will learn more from your colleagues (who in the end will become very close friends…you’ll see why) than from the books. The experience is so nurturing, that a day will not pass by without you learning something new. The amount of things you learn from your classmate’s cultures is so amazing that is like living in each and every country they represent without being physically there.

– Since an MBA is all about learning how to optimize, how to increase productivity, how to be able to orchestrate many things at the same time, with excellence, a person who is interested in an online program (due to some personal constrains that block him/her from a full-time program in Madrid) is certainly someone who has no time to spare, and who wants to test his/her capabilities to the limits, who doesn’t want to lose the opportunity cost of relinquishing an income for a year or two just to pursue an MBA (once you get to Cost Accounting/Financial Management you will see this concept in detail :-D), then the online format is the perfect solution to get the most of your time.

As I said before, you will have to take yourself to the limits because it’s not an easy task. You will have to work a lot, you will have to be a disciplined person, but the experience will start paying off right away, because due to the fact that you are working, you can implement the new tools into your business/jobs and since you are doing this in “real time” you get instant feedback from professors and colleagues once you implement it. I will go over this in more detail later on, in future postings….

Now, I think I already made my point clear, an online program is a full-time program, because you will be able to do just two things:

– Your job/business

– The GMBA

The program is demanding, you have a huge load to carry on, but don’t panic, all these is worth every penny you spend, all these is worth every drop of blood you will leave on the road :-p, all these is worth every drop of sweat you will leave on the track, trust me, the experience is so rewarding that if I had to do it again, I will do it without hesitating.

I will continue sharing with you my thoughts about this experience in the coming days…

take care


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