Irina spent 12 years in the corporate world with Accenture, a Fortune Global 500 IT consulting firm, where she became principal director of financial services and clean innovation.
From her position, Irina recognized that more could be done in business to make a difference to environmental and humanitarian problems. She also felt tackling these issues was aligned with business goals.
That’s when she looked to the EMBA program at IE Business School, in partnership with Brown University, aiming to find a way to enact sustainable change.
Learning innovation on the IE EMBA
Despite being offered scholarships for other programs, Irina was attracted to the opportunity to immerse herself in Spanish culture at IE. She also felt the IE Brown EMBA would push her towards a more transformational and innovative career.
“Every course addressed the intersectionality of society and business in a way that was deep and meaningful. I knew the program would elevate my leadership by allowing me to think more broadly,” she says.
Combining online and in-person classes, the 15-month EMBA program is aimed at experienced professionals aspiring to become innovative and socially responsible leaders.
The curriculum includes courses like Climate Change at the Intersection of Business and Society, Technology and Innovation Strategy, and Managing Communities of Work.
“During the course, I adopted the IE mindset which really merged an understanding of creating profit in business while having a long-term societal impact,” says Irina.
This mindset inspired her to go above and beyond in class. Towards the end of the program all students take part in a Key Reflection Project where they merge their understanding of society and business to solve a challenging problem.
Irina was inspired to work towards transforming business mindsets at the highest level. She promised her professors that she could turn her project proposal into a real business venture, it was the birth of what would later become her startup, AMNIe.
Becoming an impact leader
To successfully lead change in the corporate world Irina knew she’d need a firm grounding across fundamental business and social theories.
The IE Brown EMBA provided this through a core curriculum section covering courses like Financial Management, and Competitive and Corporate Strategy. There was also a focus of geopolitical issues and ethical responsibility in modules like Society and Culture in the Age of Globalization, and Global Markets: Money, Power, Taxes, and Growth.
“Each course developed my entrepreneurial mindset by opening up new investigations and ways of thinking into how I could create something that could make a real difference,” Irina says.
Courses like Leading People, Teams, and Organizations taught Irina how to be an effective leader and guide a team towards a common vision.
The IE Brown EMBA cohort is made up of professionals with an average work experience of 16 years, bringing together people from more than 20 nationalities. It was engaging and inspiring to talk to so many likeminded people on the program about her ideas, she adds.
During the program, students take part in a course focused on entrepreneurship in developing regions. For Irina, this involved spending one week in South Africa to come up with creative business solutions for Cape Town townships.
“Travelling to Africa really tested us to problem-solve and come up with innovative solutions so far out of our comfort zone but more than that, it taught us to turn empathy into a real driving force behind our business decisions,” Irina says.
Launching an impact ESG consultancy
Combining her leadership and innovation skills helped Irina launch her own venture after graduation. AMNIe is a consulting and technology company focused on evolving businesses by integrating impactful purpose and ESG strategies. She hopes the company will help change the future of business.
“At AMNIe, we find and nurture talent and build strong, synergistic partnerships that create longevity and profit through environmental and social impact, and scale up a net positive business mindset,” Irina says.
“I hate the word employee as I see everyone in my team as a leader. We collaborate, debate, and have complex discussions that manifest into impactful results that shows the world literally transforming in front of our eyes.”
Reflecting on her journey, Irina feels the EMBA helped her turn the ambitions she held at Accenture into actions, helping her make a difference.
“I’m so grateful for the entire journey getting to where I am, the ups, downs, and challenges to reaching that point of bringing theory and practice together into something really magical,” she says.