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IE University Notable Alumni | 12 Famous MBAs

IE University's notable alumni from the International MBA program include global CEOs and successful entrepreneurs


Mon Nov 22 2021

Founded in 1973, IE Business School of IE University is renowned as one of Europe’s best business schools. The school boasts 60,000 alumni in over 140 countries, and its International MBA program welcomed its 50th class in 2021. 

The 50 IMBA cohorts have produced a range of notable alumni. Most now work in Spain or Latin America, though the program typically admits students from over 75 countries. 

The school has strong ties to businesses in Europe and has a large focus on innovation and technology, it’s no surprise that many IMBA grads have gone on to launch their own businesses. 

Here are 12 IE University notable alumni from the IE Business School IMBA. 

1. Gerhard Peter Gross


MBA class of 1985

President & CEO of Daimler Financial Services Mexico

Gerhardhad no business expertise when he entered the IMBA in 1984—in fact, he had studied French and Humanities. After graduating, he worked in Madrid as a sales manager for several companies, before moving into finance. 

He joined automotive giant Daimler in 1990 as a director of business development for Mercedes-Benz financial services. Over his 30-year career at Daimler, he’s worked mainly in emerging markets in Mexico, Turkey, and Russia, and now presides over all financial services activity for Daimler in Mexico. 

2. Javier Estades-Saez Johansson

MBA class of 1992

CEO & President of Tabacalera USA

Javier spent seven years at Imperial Tobacco before joining Tabacalera USA as CEO and President. He is also Chairman of the Cigar Association of America and President of the Spain-US Chamber of Commerce. 

After graduating from his MBA, Javier also spent many years in FMCG companies including Heinz and Bristol Myers-Squibb.

3. Isabel Yordi Aguirre


MBA class of 1989

Program Manager, Gender and Human Rights at World Health Organisation 

A graduate of the IMBA class of 1989, Isabel has used her expertise and skills to make a positive impact in the world, first with the United Nations and then with the World Health Organisation (WHO), who she joined in 2006. 

After 15 years with the WHO, Isabel was promoted to program manager for the office of gender and human rights in August 2018, within the regional Europe office. She's responsible for bringing gender and human rights into health policies by building relationships between stakeholders and policymakers.

4. Pablo Largarcha 

MBA class of 1993

Vice President, Business Planning & Integration at The Coca-Cola Company

Pablo began his career in corporate law in Bogotá, Columbia, before deciding to pivot into business and enroll in the IMBA in 1993. He started his career at Coca-Cola not long after graduating in 1997, and has been with the company ever since.

Starting as a legal affairs manager, he rose through managerial roles up to Vice President of the Latin Centre Business Unit based in Costa Rica. Moves to Argentina and Singapore followed before landing in his current role.

5. Claire Beaumont


MBA class of 2001

CFO of Finance Business Partner

A former UN business development consultant, Claire Beaumont used the IMBA to move into management consultancy with the boutique consulting firm Globalpraxis. She later used her expertise to land a number of financial controller roles with the likes of Carlsberg Group and Laboratoires Expanscience. 

In 2019, Claire earned the illustrious role of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at information services conglomerate Iron Mountain, where she led a change in the firm's business model and environment. In 2021, Claire took up another CFO position with The Finance Business Partner, a global public workshop offering professional training and coaching services.

6. Meinrad Spenger

MBA class of 1999


As an MBA graduate, Meinrad spent several years at McKinsey & Company before co-founding his telecom operator, MASMOVIL. Now, the company is the top alternative telecom operator in Spain, and is listed on the Spanish stock exchange. 

Since its founding 15 years ago, the Iberian telecom operator has grown to revenues of €3 billion, and is now also active in Portugal under the Nowo brand. 

7. Sebastian Mackensen 


MBA class of 1996

President & CEO of BMW in North America

Sebastian has worked in the automotive industry for almost his whole career after graduating from the IE IMBA. He has spent the last eight years at the BMW Group. 

He moved from a role as Vice President and Head of Sales Region Americas at AUDI AG to Vice President and Head of MINI Sales at BMW in Munich. In 2021, Sebastian continued his rise through the ranks at BMW with a move from Germany to the US, becoming responsible for the entire Americas region.

8. Catalina Borrero 


MBA class of 1995

Senior Vice President at Santander 

Catalina has had an impressive career since graduating from the IMBA in 1995. She's worked for some of the world's top financial institutions, including Barclays, Citi, JP Morgan, and Morgan Stanley. 

Specializing in financial advice and private banking, Catalina left Morgan Stanley in 2021 after three years to become Senior Vice President at Santander. She's also passionate about bringing more women into top positions across industries, and is part of the Chief network which looks to strengthen women's representation across C-Suite and VP roles.

9. Bernard Niesner

MBA class of 2006

Co-Founder and CEO of Busuu

Busuu is one of the most successful startups to come out of IE University. The platform is the world’s largest online community for language learning. 

Bernard met his co-founder while on the International MBA, and they launched the company just after graduating. Now, the EdTech company has more than 100 million users in 190 countries. 

10. Christopher Fuchs

MBA class of 2005

Co-Founder of Honest Greens

Another successful startup from the IMBA program, Christopher is the co-founder of healthy living restaurant chain Honest Greens. Based in Madrid, the company has 10 restaurants across Spain and Portugal, producing ethically-sourced, organic produce. 

Before founding Honest Greens in 2016, Christopher was also co-founder of private gastronomic members club ClubKviar. He’s come full-circle now, though—one of his Honest Greens outlets sits right across the street from IE University. 

11. Alejandro Artacho 


MBA class of 2013

Founder & CEO of Spotahome

Long term accommodation booking platform Spotahome has attracted a significant amount of investment in the seven years since it was founded, and is now one of the biggest competitors to Airbnb in Spain.

Alejandro spent some time in the real estate industry before founding the company in 2014. He also works as an associate professor at his alma mater.

12. Alessio Quaglini 

MBA class of 2009

Co-Founder & CEO of Hex Trust

Alessio has built a career on his interest in banking and management consulting. After graduating from IE University, he undertook another MBA in Finance and followed it with a role at the Italian Financial Services Authority. 

He also spent five years at digital bank BBVA as Head of Strategy in Asia, and has also worked at First Abu Dhabi Bank. He co-founded Hex Trust in 2018, a company that acts as a custodian for digital assets including cryptocurrencies. 

All images in this article were provided by IE Business School.

Student Reviews

IE Business School




On Campus

My Review

Madrid Is incredible, I've had a fantastic time at IE University. I've had some excellent lecturers overall. They sincerely want the students to flourish and are concerned about developing a personal relationship with them. Having said that, students typically must fulfil their half of the contract by putting in the necessary work and demonstrating a desire to achieve success.




On Campus

Coming Master

I spent 1 semester on my Erasmus during my BBA trip. This was the great experience and after that I decode to enroll for the master program there. I must say that the only disappointing fact is connected to distribution of the students. Master students are being connected to the old campus what is not fully fail.




On Campus

Former BBA

As the former BBA student I can say that the level of the learning is quite high. In addition the place (IE Tower) is probably one of the most innovative and networking-support place in the Europe. I totally recoupment this Uni for business students.




On Campus

International focus

IE university has a global perspective and attracts a highly diverse student body, with students from all over the world. This international environment fosters cross-cultural understanding and prepares students to work in a globalized world. This is same for the faculty members as well, the university's faculty members are from diverse parts of the world and are reputable. they are not only experts in their fields but are also often actively engaged in research and industry. Their practical experience and academic expertise create a stimulating learning environment.




On Campus

Loved it

IE University, in my experience as a student, stands out as an outstanding institution for higher education. Its international perspective is a major strength, evident in the diverse student body that represents a multitude of countries and cultures. Interacting with such a global community has broadened my horizons and deepened my understanding of various subjects, providing a rich and comprehensive educational experience. The quality of the faculty at IE University is exceptional. Many professors bring real-world experience to the classroom, making the learning process more practical and relevant. This approach not only enhances engagement with coursework but also ensures that students are well-prepared for their future careers. The accessibility of professors and their willingness to engage with students personally fosters a collaborative and supportive learning environment. Practical learning is another significant advantage at IE University. The integration of real-world projects, internships, and case studies bridges the gap between theory and practice. This emphasis on hands-on experience equips students with practical skills and industry insights, making them more competitive in the job market. IE University offers a wide range of programs across various fields of study, making it a versatile choice for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. This diversity ensures that individuals can find a program that aligns with their academic and career interests. However, like any institution, IE University has its challenges. The cost of attending can be a major concern for some students, as tuition fees are relatively high. While scholarships and financial aid are available, not all students may qualify for them. This financial aspect is an important consideration, particularly for those with budget limitations. The competitive nature of some courses and programs can create a high-pressure environment. While competition can be motivating for some, it may also lead to stress for others. Maintaining high academic standards can be demanding, and students should strive for a balance between excellence and well-being. The workload can be quite challenging, especially for students undertaking double degrees or heavily involved in extracurricular activities. Effective time management is essential to manage academic demands while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. In conclusion, I would recommend IE University to prospective students with specific considerations. If you value an international perspective, practical learning, and a diverse educational environment, IE University is an excellent choice. However, it's crucial to carefully weigh the tuition costs against the benefits and to be prepared for the competitive nature of some courses. Students should also be ready to handle a demanding workload. IE University has provided me with a rich and globally-focused education, equipping me for a career in an interconnected world. Ultimately, it's important to make an informed decision based on your educational and financial goals, along with a willingness to confront the challenges that may arise.




On Campus

Rather Exciting

As a student at IE University, enrolled in the Business Administration program, I can confidently say that my experience at this institution has been overwhelmingly positive. IE University's innovative approach to education stands out as one of its most remarkable features. The interactive classes and focus on critical thinking, particularly through the use of case studies, have significantly enhanced my ability to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world business scenarios. Additionally, the global perspective at IE University, fostered by the diverse student body and international faculty, has broadened my understanding of global business practices, which is crucial in the field of Business Administration. The university's strong industry connections have proven to be invaluable. These connections provide students with numerous internship opportunities and networking prospects, allowing us to gain practical experience and build professional relationships while still studying. Moreover, the comprehensive career support services offered by IE University, such as resume building, interview preparation, and job placement assistance, have been instrumental in preparing us for the job market. On the flip side, it's important to mention that tuition costs at IE University can be relatively high, which may pose a financial challenge for some students, even though there are scholarships and financial aid options available. Additionally, the programs at IE University can be intensive, demanding a significant time commitment, which might not align with everyone's preferences. In conclusion, I wholeheartedly recommend IE University to individuals considering a degree in Business Administration. The innovative teaching methods, global perspective, strong industry connections, and comprehensive career support make it an excellent choice for those aspiring to enter the world of business. However, prospective students should be aware of the financial considerations and be prepared for the intensive nature of the programs. If you're willing to invest in your education and are dedicated to your studies, IE University offers an exceptional and enriching educational experience in the field of Business Administration.




On Campus

A Decent Experience

I've had the privilege of being a student at IE University, where I've been pursuing a degree in arts. My experience at IE University has been highly rewarding and unique. One of the aspects I appreciate the most is the university's strong emphasis on interdisciplinary learning. The opportunity to collaborate with students from diverse fields, including business, technology, and social sciences, has enriched my artistic endeavors. This cross-pollination of ideas has added depth and diversity to my creative work. IE University's international perspective is another significant advantage. The institution's diverse student body and faculty from various corners of the world have broadened my artistic horizons and encouraged me to think more globally. In the field of arts, where cultural influences play a pivotal role, this global outlook has been invaluable. The university also invests in modern resources and technology, providing students with access to cutting-edge software, creative tools, and state-of-the-art facilities. These resources have allowed me to explore new mediums and techniques, pushing the boundaries of my creativity. Furthermore, IE University places a strong emphasis on practical experiences. This practical orientation has given me insights into the professional art world and how to navigate it effectively. Opportunities for internships and collaborations with art institutions have been instrumental in bridging the gap between academic learning and real-world application. On the downside, tuition costs at IE University can be relatively high, which may pose a financial challenge for some prospective students. Additionally, the university's programs are quite intensive, demanding a substantial time commitment and strong time management skills. In conclusion, I would wholeheartedly recommend IE University to students seeking an arts education with an interdisciplinary and global perspective. The institution's innovative resources, practical experiences, and international approach have significantly enriched my artistic journey. Nevertheless, it's crucial to consider the financial aspect and be prepared for the demanding nature of the programs. If you're willing to invest in your arts education and are committed to hard work, IE University offers a truly unique and rewarding artistic experience.




On Campus

A Great Experience

As a student at IE University studying architecture, I have a unique perspective on the institution. Let me share my thoughts on this university: Overall, my experience at IE University has been quite positive. The university's commitment to a holistic education, combined with its innovative approach to learning, has made my time here rewarding. Here are some key aspects I appreciate: Interdisciplinary Approach: IE University places a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary learning. In the field of architecture, this means I've had the opportunity to collaborate with students from various backgrounds, such as engineering, business, and design. It's been enlightening to work on projects that integrate different disciplines, mirroring the real-world scenarios architects often find themselves in. Faculty and Industry Connections: The professors at IE University are experienced professionals in their respective fields, and they bring a wealth of practical knowledge into the classroom. This has greatly enriched my architectural education. Additionally, the university's strong connections with industry professionals and firms provide students with valuable networking opportunities and potential internships. Global Perspective: IE University's international approach to education is a significant advantage. I've had the chance to collaborate with students from all over the world, which has broadened my cultural awareness and global perspective. This is particularly important in architecture, as it's a field where global influences and trends play a significant role. Innovation and Technology: The university's commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements is impressive. In architecture, this means access to cutting-edge software, tools, and resources, which have been instrumental in my academic and design work. On the flip side, there are a few aspects that might not suit everyone: Tuition Costs: IE University is a private institution, and as such, tuition can be on the higher side. This might be a challenge for some students, but there are scholarship opportunities and financial aid options available. Intensive Programs: The university's programs are often quite intensive, requiring a significant time commitment. While this can be beneficial for learning, it can also be demanding, so time management skills are crucial. In conclusion, I would certainly recommend IE University to those interested in studying architecture. Its unique approach to education, international perspective, and strong industry connections have enriched my architectural journey. Just keep in mind the financial considerations and be prepared to put in the effort, and you'll find a stimulating and rewarding academic experience at IE University.




On Campus

A Global and Innovative Learning Experience

IE University is a dynamic and innovative institution that has gained recognition for its unique approach to education. There are several aspects that make it stand out, and while it may not be the perfect fit for everyone, it certainly has a lot to offer. One of the notable strengths of IE University is its commitment to fostering a global perspective. The university attracts a diverse student body from all over the world, creating a rich multicultural environment. This diversity enriches the classroom experience and prepares students to thrive in an increasingly interconnected world. The emphasis on international exposure through study abroad programs, exchange partnerships, and a global network of alumni further enhances this global outlook. IE University is also known for its focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. The institution places a strong emphasis on practical, real-world learning experiences that encourage students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. This approach aligns well with the demands of the modern job market, where creativity and adaptability are highly valued. Furthermore, IE University's faculty is often comprised of professionals with extensive industry experience, providing students with valuable insights and connections in their respective fields. The small class sizes enable more personalized attention, fostering a close-knit community and facilitating meaningful interactions between students and professors. However, no university is without its drawbacks, and IE University is no exception. One potential downside is the cost of tuition, which can be relatively high compared to some public institutions. While scholarships and financial aid options are available, this cost may still be a barrier for some prospective students. Another consideration is the intensity of the academic programs. IE University is known for its rigorous curriculum, and students often find themselves facing a demanding workload. While this can be an advantage for those who thrive in a challenging environment, it may not be suitable for individuals seeking a more relaxed college experience. In conclusion, IE University is an excellent choice for students who are looking for a globally oriented, innovative, and academically rigorous education. Its emphasis on entrepreneurship, international exposure, and practical learning experiences can prepare students for success in a competitive job market. However, the high cost of tuition and the demanding nature of the programs should be carefully considered. Ultimately, whether IE University is the right fit depends on the individual's goals and preferences, but for those who are up to the challenge, it can be a rewarding and transformative educational experience.




On Campus

The liquid learning method

I do like my program so much, since it gives me the possibility to develop my own personal skills while building a strong professional cv with plenty of extracurricular material. The amenities are extraordinary and the campus is super professional and convenient for networking!