MBA Entrepreneur Goes Off Piste After Sports Start-Up

Jorge Gari Sanchez was a pro skier in his native Spain, but after the start-up life the MBA graduate has his sights set on the pharmaceuticals sector.

It has been a few years since Jorge Gari Sanchez was on the piste as a professional but the Spaniard has found a way to keep his passion alive.

Up until the age of 18 he was a pro skier in Spain – he hung up his snow boots to concentrate on studying. But it did not stop the IESE Business School student setting up a sports-based start-up business in 2011.

“I’m a crazy about sports,” says Jorge, who launched Moove Sports with a friend from undergraduate university. “The objective was to do what I’m passionate about.” They funded the launch with cash from their own pockets. Most of the capital was spent on building a website.

It was a slippery mountain to climb. “To be six months without having any income, [you need] cash to survive during those six months,” says Jorge, whose company organized sports events and competitions across Spain. The business had a team of 20 at any one time, and 1,000 athletes took part in their competitions over 12 months.

Moove Sports closed sponsorship deals with companies for each event. “Every event is new and different – the second time you do it, everything is much easier,” says Jorge, who spent most of his academic life in France.

He joined the entrepreneur’s ranks after plying his trade in the corporate world. After leaving pro skiing, he enrolled at Universitat Ramon Llull in Barcelona. In 2007 he landed a job as an analyst at Windcorp in the M&A department. “I worked there when I was still studying during my fourth year,” says Jorge.

He still skied when he had time, and spent his weekends coaching. “Under my schedule there was no free time,” he laughs.

In 2009, he left to join PricewaterhouseCoopers as an auditor. “I realized I needed a better financial background, and those big four companies are the best.” He spent two years leading SME projects with revenues of more than €10 million.  

But it was a “disaster”. “I’m a person that likes action, and the job doesn’t require it,” says Jorge. “I couldn’t be for more than two hours seated in the same place in front of a computer.”

After a friend approached him with the idea for Moove Sports, he left PwC at the end of 2011. The start-up had some success, but the co-founders have put the business to one side. “I realized that we didn’t grow and catch up, as [we did] at the beginning,” says Jorge.

In September 2012, he began a full-time MBA at IESE in Barcelona. He still managed to run events through Moove Sports from time to time. “I thought it a great option to continue with an MBA and re-think it [the company],” says Jorge.

After an internship with Banorte, one of Mexico’s biggest banks, he moved into the pharmaceuticals sector. He started work at Laboratoires URGO in the Dijon area of France in June this year, as a corporate controller. “That came through the MBA – through careers services,” says Jorge.

It’s quite different from a sports start-up, but he already had the experience. “I’m working in the financial controlling department, so it’s in line with what I did at Windcorp.”

For him, that was the whole point of the MBA investment – to switch career paths. “Either in an entrepreneurial aspect or in a ‘normal’ job,” says Jorge. “I ended up in a big company, and I’m happy with other and better and bigger expectations.”

He still finds time for start-up work, though. “Moove Sports is still running. We will continue this year the same as we have been in the last two years,” he says. “Right now I’m trying to catch up in that company, and grow.”

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