Archive for the ‘General’ Category


Trapped in the prisoner’s dilemma? Just take a dip in the lake!

Written on January 19, 2009 by in General

Imagen Thumbnail para lago.jpg
The Lake Simulator is used in online and face to face masters by 1500 students in some 40 classes around the world.

“It is much more powerful for students to find themselves trapped inside a collective action problem or prisoners´ dilemma, than to just study the theory behind it.” David Bach.

“The simulation is a great way to help students get into the mindset of thinking about public goods and how we manage them collectively. Each group represents a firm that is pursuing its own objectives, learning how its actions impact on the public good (the lake) and their profits. Students explore the relationship between individual and collective behaviour.” David Bruce Allen.

This is what strategy professors David Bach and David Allen think about the Lake simulation, also called the Uncommon Value simulation. The simulation is presented in a very simple format where students have to manage a common natural resource, “the lake”. Class sections are separated into 8 groups, each taking charge of an industrial plant, and are exposed to the struggle of achieving good business performance whilst maintaining the water quality of the lake, which affects directly the industrial process. It is not only professors that highly value the experience, but also students: “These types of games are very useful because they give us a real view of how things are going to be: although everyone in class knew which the right choice was, no one followed it.”


The enriching experience of attending an industry fair

Written on January 19, 2009 by in General, Visits


Marketing Professor Manuel Alonso Coto and students from the Master in Digital Marketing attended AdTech ( in London, the most important digital advertising fair in the world.

The Fair lasted two days and the schedule was tight: two different keynote sessions at a time and several other side workshops overcrowded the event program; meaning many good conferences to attend in the little time available.

As Manuel A. Alonso Coto, Professor of Marketing and Associate Academic Director of Master in Digital Marketing mentions: “We had to do something to foster participation and to maximize the learning experience. We divided the class into two different teams: the agency and the advertiser ones. We read the Adtech program thoroughly and produced a series of questions for each team that required attendance to most of the conferences for them to be properly answered. We then left the students in each group to coordinate themselves, in order to be able to attend all the AdTech sessions they thought were necessary for preparing their report.”

Answers to the proposed questions had to be posted through a Wiki created ad-hoc: The students could also feel free to add any info they judged to be of general interest for the rest of the class regarding the sessions they had attended.

The day after AdTech, a class session was held in our headquarters at the Milleniun Hotel in Chelsea to discuss each of the questions and the students’ answers to them. The success of the learning initiative was clear, as one student mentions: “AdTech was a refreshing experience. On the one hand it confirmed that our knowledge, as a result of our studies, was right up there with current industry practices and on the other hand we learned how some of the biggest companies in the world where using digital practices to reach and engage consumers”.


Hunting pig`s noses in Shanghai

Written on December 10, 2008 by in General


Gamaliel Martinez, Operations Management Professor and Managing Director of the International Executive MBA Online invites students to get to know the city through an amusing scavenger hunt

During their two-week residential period in Shanghai, students of the International Executive MBA Online Programme acquaint themselves with the city in an unusual way, which aims to help teambuilding:

Gamaliel Martínez provides them with a list of 17 items in the morning. Students have to find these places, perform a particular task and/or take pictures of the different parts of the city:

“We invite the students to complete a list of actions, or ask them to gather information prior to the dinner, on the same day. Most probably they are not going to be able to complete all the activities on the list, but what counts is the Olympic Spirit.”

Some examples of these unusual tasks are:

  • To take a picture of a flying saucer, or something that looks like one.(For instance, the top of the Hotel Radisson)
  • To take a picture of a pig’s nose.
  • To buy the strangest thing you can find (that is not alive).

After an entire day of searching for the different products, photos and experiences, students vote for the winner of the scavenger hunt. As Novel, a student of the program mentions: “It was a great day and it helped a lot to build communication in the new teams.”


Simulations – feeling free to make mistakes in a risk-free “environment”

Written on December 10, 2008 by in General

Operations Professors and MBA students use a simulation Global Supply Chain Management session.


The simulation (developed by Enspire Learning and used by Luís Solís, Ángel Díaz, Daisy Escobar, Jesús Morcillo and Daniel Corsten, among others ), is summed up as follows: “The learner’s goal is to manage the successful commercialization of two new products. Learners take control of managing product design, forecasting demand, and allocating production quantities among different suppliers. They balance competing priorities and create a supply chain that is flexible enough to react quickly to shifts in demand. Learners evaluate quantitative and qualitative data presented in dialogues with virtual characters.”

The simulation illustrates key concepts of supply chain management, including:

  • Creating a cost-effective, yet flexible supply chain, that uses domestic and foreign suppliers with different lead times accordingly
  • Building flexibility into the supply chain to avoid stock-outs and excess inventory
  • Evaluating and using demand forecasts correctly

For Daisy Escobar, head of the Operations Managament Department the simulation is “a very effective ‘decision learning’ exercise whereby the students strength their knowledge about supply chain management and gain the skills they need to design and manage supply chains in a global and uncertain market. The students have the chance to make many and diverse decisions on production adopting the systemic view necessary for coordinating and integrating cross-functional processes. I consider this simulation as one of the best complement to a general course of Supply Chain Management. It is definitely a practical, amusing, and stimulating simulation.”


Going Mobile: Podcasting hits IE

Written on November 11, 2008 by in General


HR professor Aitor Larrabe uses the first in a series of podcasts with his Executive Master of Human Resource Management class.

In a 15 minute discussion about “How to manage your career in a multinational company” Aitor provides his point of view, based on both academic readings and personal experiences as HR Director. As he commented: “I really enjoyed the new experience and I think this could be an interesting approach for the future of distributing extra documentation to the learner.”

Students have been quick to support and to see the value of the initiative: “I think this has been a great idea, a new distribution format for complementary content of the programme. You have access whenever and wherever you want. I hope this great idea will be wide spreading throughout IE.”

Other episodes of the podcast series have also been produced, as for example two audio lectures from Professor Gayle Allard in the area of Economic Environment “GPD and the Happiness Index” and “The U.S. Dollar”. Those interested in the series just have to subscribe to the Podcast through this link or search for IE Business School in the iTunes Store.


Virtual World Experiences – the stuff of fiction?

Written on November 11, 2008 by in General


Professor Cristina Simón experiments teaching in Second Life with International MBA students.

Professor Cristina Simón organised a role play in the Managerial Decision Making program. Students adopted roles as a priest, a pregnant woman, a sportsman, a female doctor and a scientist, each fighting for survival after a thermo-nuclear conflict. The characters were locked in a bunker with only enough resources for two survivors. The characters had to decide who would be the unlucky few to leave the bunker and confront death.

A great experience – I was amazed how the second life platform strengthened role-playing.” Similarly students were as receptive to the idea, “I found that I was much more talkative and outgoing in the discussions, probably because I felt completely submerged in the experience.”


Lego Bricks and MBAs- remebering the good times

Written on September 30, 2008 by in General

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!”


Soundtrack to the MBA

Written on September 30, 2008 by in General


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.”


Tourism students TAKE-OFF from Terminal 4

Written on September 30, 2008 by in General, Visits

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


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.”



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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