30
Sep

Lego Bricks and MBAs- remebering the good times

Written on September 30, 2008 by uwe.spangler@ie.edu in General

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Professor Angel Díaz simulates a production line with Lego in his MBA Supply Chain Management class.

The exercise teaches the essentials of lean production in an easy-to-understand environment. Students take on different roles, some are involved directly in the production line and thus have difficulties in seeing the root of problems, whilst others pose as consultants and see the entire process and in this way are able to provide essential advice on how to improve it.

Angel, also developer of the game, believes “You learn things you won’t forget by actually doing. The idea is to put students into a simple but realistic situation where they have to manufacture toys under an assembly line approach, using old fashioned mass production techniques and practices. As can be expected this is frustrating and produces little. You then change the rules and empower your workers (the students) to apply all the process innovation they can think of in 15 minutes. When the exercise is repeated the improvements are amazing, usually productivity increases 500 to 600% with total quality and a much better working environment. In a single session you have thus introduced the power of lean and JIT operations, worker empowerment and process simplification. I have met some of my students from 15 years back who tell me that they remember little of their MBA, but they do remember the Lego game!”

30
Sep

Soundtrack to the MBA

Written on September 30, 2008 by uwe.spangler@ie.edu in General

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The first audio case is used by professor José Esteves in an International MBA class.

The audio case is based on the written case “SecurityXperts” by professor Fernando Aparicio with the story being re-designed for audio usability and recorded with the help of a professional actor. For the head of the IS/IT department and professor José Esteves, the pilot test has been a success and has the potential to form an everyday part of student lifes: “Audio cases facilitate the analysis of cases for class discussion since the students listen to the cases while they are travelling, in the gym or participating in other activities. Although many times they have to go to the paper version to get more details, particularly in the case of exhibits, they get a very good initial perspective of the case problem.”

Students also show a keen interest in this innovative learning approach, with one International MBA commenting: “I think they are very useful and time saving for students who are working and travelling around a lot.”

30
Sep

Tourism students TAKE-OFF from Terminal 4

Written on September 30, 2008 by uwe.spangler@ie.edu in General, Visits

Students from the Executive Master in Tourism Management visit BarajasAirport’s Terminal 4.

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A member of AENA’s department of Communication received students at T4’s departure lounge, where he explained that the terminal is designed to handle up to 35 million passengers annually, this way establishing Madrid as a major European hub. IE students explored all the installations and in particular were impressed by the Operations Control Centre, where they saw first hand how it functions: big screens on the walls showing data, images of the airplanes, lounges, security controls, check-in desks, communication with pilots, weather conditions, etc.

As one student commented: “The Big Brother” of the airport. The experience was concluded with a visit to what could be considered the “backstage” area, the baggage transportation system. 80 kilometres of conveyor belts running at 11,5 metres per second from check-in to the aircrafts. As Antonio López de Ávila, Director of the Master wrapped up: “This was an important learning experience for the students. They had the opportunity to visit and analyse the infrastructure of a major European hub, designed to attract airlines and tourism.”

30
Sep

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IT professor Enrique Dans invites Fernando Aparicio, General Director of Paypal, to his International MBA class to discuss the PayPal Case.

As Enrique Dans comments: “The idea is not to invite someone to give a speech, but to put him or her in front of the students as a “living case”, as a person who can provide extra value to the students by bringing the case to reality. This means the students need to be able to ask any question, no matter how politically incorrect, in a relaxed environment and having the same level of preparation as they would have had for a regular case. Another critical factor is the value for the guest: you cannot bring guests and keep inviting them several times a year unless you are being able to provide them with a great deal of value, either by showing them how our students understand their business (like in a big focus group), or allowing the company to ask about company’s future decisions (as in a consulting company with forty consultants or so), or even accessing talent (starting conversations with potential hires), etc.”

Students are also very excited about this approach. Olga Slavkina, International MBA student in 2008 and author of one of the “First Person” reports in the Financial Times online edition writes about the exciting experience: Enrique’s case discussions were unusually practical in that he often invited the people behind the cases to class, which meant we had many entrepreneurs from technology start-ups address us, as well as representatives of big business organisations like Google.”
To read the FT article click here.

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