Jealemy Galindo Millan spent almost a decade in scientific research before deciding to break into the business world with an MBA at Spain’s IE Business School.
She wanted to work to commercialize academic research. After graduation, she took the fabled MBA triple jump – changing industry, role, and location – and moved to Zurich, Switzerland to work for CyanoGuard, a chemical technology startup doing just that.
Specialized in rapid toxin detection, CyanoGuard aims to reduce the risk of poisoning by improving water, food safety and emergency healthcare globally, and make professional toxin detection available to everyone. Jealemy is using IE’s 50,000-strong alumni network to help grow the business.
When BusinessBecause last spoke to Jealemy, she was planning to apply for 20 top-ranked business schools. In the end, she only applied to IE – ranked among the best MBA programs in the world for entrepreneurship by the Financial Times.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at IE?
I wanted to do a short MBA with a strong entrepreneurial character and IE is the best school in the world for it. I took a big chance and only applied for IE because I felt it was the only school that offered exactly what I was looking for.
Also, IE’s diversity offers a safe environment for people with limited commercial experience in their thirties (like myself), to touch on every single aspect of how a business is run. During the program, you get to spend lots of time with very smart and experienced people from whom you can learn a lot while enjoying what is probably one of the coolest cities in Europe.
What stands out from your IE MBA experience?
I went into my MBA thinking that it could not be as intense as some people said, given that I had already made it through a five-year PhD. I couldn’t have been more wrong! It’s fast, demanding, interesting, challenging – it takes you to the edge and back.
The startup lab at IE was a once in a lifetime opportunity. For five weeks, I worked with a team of people with very different backgrounds on developing my own idea; a natural alcoholic beverage.
We went through the whole creation process, from identifying customers to creating journeys, prototypes, websites to going out to sell our product. There was a lot of pitching involved. Overall it was a unique experience and I am very happy I had the chance to do it.
How are you applying your MBA learnings in your current role?
My role is to oversee all the marketing and PR activities at CyanoGuard. But we’re a startup so I do a little bit of everything. Our company is all about translating science into useful products and, in this respect, having an MBA combined with my academic background is, without a doubt, an added value.
We want to position the company as the leader in rapid toxin detection worldwide. The power of IE’s network is indeed helping us take a step closer to our vision. So many doors open, it’s unbelievable.
Would you be where you are today without the IE MBA?
No! The MBA opened my eyes to things I wasn’t aware of and changed the course of my career. I am very happy with how things turned out: I changed industry, role and location. I discovered that I really enjoy finance-related subjects and that scientific method can be applied to any single situation with a little bit of flexibility and common sense.
The exposure to a more commercial environment that I had during my time at IE was a great chance to discover the transferability of my skills. Without that, I would never have been able to convince Benedikt Kirchgässler, CyanoGuard’s founder, to hire me in the first place.