Having worked for 10 years in Madrid, Irene Rocha knew that an Executive MBA (EMBA) was the next step she had to take in her professional career. Though she wasn’t unaccomplished by any measure.
Irene was, by the time she started her EMBA at ESADE Business School in Madrid, already an experienced PR manager at BBDO, the advertising agency that supposedly inspired AMC's Mad Men. During her studies, she consistently applied her comprehensive learning to her role at Gamelearn, the world's leading game-based e-learning platform.
Now, Irene is going it alone, implementing her highly-developed business skills and assiduous work ethic to her own PR, Marketing and Communications company. And she has big plans for the future.
Why did you decide to pursue an EMBA at ESADE?
I wanted to do two things, the first being to pursue future managerial roles in sales and marketing within the consumer goods industry.
Step two of my career path was to leverage the knowledge and experience I would gain from my EMBA to start my own communication and marketing consultancy with a global management perspective.
I chose ESADE because they provided a learning model predicated on collaboration and participation, as well as a very well-sorted and cohesive international program, which is crucial in a globalized world.
Which tracks or specializations did you choose and why?
For the first 12 months of the EMBA we study the core content, but in the final four months we’re able to choose from a range of tracks.
I focused on Marketing and Communication, since this was already my area of interest and expertise, and believed I could benefit from the more specialized network.
How did you enable Gamelearn to grow in size so quickly during your time there?
Gamelearn is a start-up dedicated to creating video games that provide management skills training, improving qualities such as leadership, time management and negotiation.
I made a huge effort to educate society on game-based learning, and also designed and implemented our international entry strategy in the B2B segment.
In short, I helped Gamelearn achieve growth by recruiting a specialized, ambitious and motivated team. I think that having clear objectives and empowering each team member while monitoring them very closely using scrum methodology enabled us to expand rapidly.
Our results were spectacular. We increased our website traffic tenfold, developed a new product launch plan, collaborated with HR directors of multinational companies, and positioned Gamelearn as an industry leader. Now Gamelearn boasts thousands of clients from Burger King to Hyundai, and hundreds of thousands of satisfied users.
How have you gained from your EMBA experience?
My EMBA has proven a very important milestone in my life, and a decisive step in my professional career. I now have a much more global business outlook, and the EMBA has afforded me many new business and employment opportunities.
I´ve also been very fortunate to share my EMBA experience with a group of international and extraordinarily creative classmates with a wide range of values, experience and knowledge.
What is the value of an EMBA in the gaming/e-learning industry?
Completing an EMBA gives you a broader view of a company, and you can begin to understand realities from other areas.
The inherent value of an EMBA to the e-learning industry is that it helps you to understand the issues, realities and needs of different departments, apply your graduated business knowledge, and have a better and more holistic outlook.
What are you hoping to achieve with your own PR, Marketing and Communications company?
Throughout my years of experience I have acquired many professional contacts who value my performance. Setting up my own company at this tage of my career was the right move for me as I had developed a large enough network.
So far, they've proposed some interesting projects where I can get involved and add value. My next steps will be to strengthen my business with brand marketing, and associate with new strategic partners.
What should EMBA applicants take into account when deciding on a program?
It’s of huge importance that you know beforehand how you intend to profit from your EMBA experience.
Most of us decide to do an EMBA because we are looking for a career change, and even though an EMBA does push you towards that path, it isn’t enough on its own. You need to make the best of each class, teacher, alumnus, and moment to make the most of the program.
What are your plans for the future?
Currently, I want to invest my time into growing my own company. However, I would not say no to joining an organization that offers an interesting, challenging project and that brings me new contacts, experiences and an international outlook.