2019 Best EMBAs: Edurne Benito Antolín, IESE Business School

Edurne Benito Antolín

IESE Business School

“A curious mind that loves to explore and understand the world looking through other people’s eyes.”

Age: 36

Hometown: I’m from Madrid (Spain) and I’ve been living in Chile for the past 6 years.

Family Members: My husband Raúl (39), my baby girl Adriana (1 year-and-a-half) and my dad Antonio (63).

Fun fact about yourself: I love scuba diving so years ago my husband decided to surprise me with an underwater engagement proposal. When we were 20 meters deep and the moment of truth came, he got so nervous that he lost the ring and we never found it. Therefore, my engagement ring is still somewhere at the bottom of the Red Sea in Egypt!

Undergraduate School and Degree:

  • Universidad Complutense de Madrid – Bachelor degree in Advertising and Public Relation
  • Universidad Rey Juan Carlos de Madrid – Bachelor degree in Marketing Research and Techniques

Where are you currently working? I am working at Falabella as Corporate Director of Digital Media leading the digital marketing strategy for Chile, Colombia, Argentina and Peru. At the end of my studies, I was promoted to this new position, which is related to the InCompany Project we developed for Falabella during my executive MBA.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: A couple of years ago, I discovered my passion for sharing knowledge. Since then, I have taught digital transformation, marketing, and digital strategy in business schools and universities in Spain and Chile. I also love scuba diving and underwater photography, so I contribute to the maintenance of the ocean as a volunteer diver cleaning human trash from the seabed and helping to protect the aquatic ecosystem by collecting tons of waste from the bottom of the ocean.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? During my GEMBA experience, I realized the importance of women’s professional development and collaborative networks. Therefore, through Falabella, I had the opportunity to be mentor in the WoomUp program. This association helps women in the early stages of their careers to grow professionally, providing networks and role models to advance their careers. Mentoring young women is an enriching and insightful experience that I plan to continue in the future.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? While working full-time in Spain, I founded in my spare time a boutique consulting and training company specializing in digital marketing. When Falabella offered me a position in Chile, they needed exclusivity and balancing both jobs was incompatible. Fortunately, I found in my husband the best partner ever. He is an experienced architect but was unemployed at the time due to Spain’s economic recession. I taught him everything I knew about the digital world and he took the lead of the company. Since then, our entrepreneurial venture continues to grow, serving clients in different countries so I am proud of my husband, his ability to reinvent himself, and what we have built together.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Regarding hard skills, it would be Edu Calvo, our Supply Chain Management professor. He is a torrent of energy and knowledge, with fun classes mixed with high-value frameworks and strategies to take almost any business to the next level. In terms of soft skills, Santiago Álvarez de Mon, our Managing One’s Self professor. He gave us time for reflection and self-knowledge making us analyze that version of ourselves that has room for improvement.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? Most of the courses were exceptional in terms of content and faculty so it is hard for me to choose one. However, one of the biggest insights I gained was during the course Getting Things Done, led by Marta Elvira. We learned some hard truths about power and influence, insights that for an idealistic person like me were hard to assimilate. Long story short: 1) Surmount any ambivalence about power: it is good for you and your organization; 2) We are our own biggest impediment to having power.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? IESE’s Global Executive MBA enjoys a world-class reputation; it is led by top faculty and has the people-oriented approach I was looking for. In addition, the program has the structure, content, and class profile that best suited my needs. Finally, taking courses in different locations such as New York, Barcelona, Shanghai, or Silicon Valley was the best way to immerse myself in new cultures, understand businesses from a global and local perspective, and experience diversity first-hand.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? It was a well-rounded experience due to the perfect balance between academics thanks to the case method and real-world experiences through company visits and guest speakers. I had access to a wide range of perspectives that opened my mind. For example, spending a day at West Point learning about leadership with cadets, visiting the United Nations and understanding its mission, or having an open talk with an influential member of the Chinese Communist Party open to answering questions of all kinds. A priceless experience.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? Among many other valuable frameworks, I learned to interpret P&Ls, use decision-making trees, implement Balance Scorecard for management control, and how to negotiate with venture capitalists. However, the biggest lesson I gained is that leadership is not about yourself, but about the people around you and the positive impact you can make with them by empowering their potential and talent. I went to business school looking to be a future better leader and came out with the mindset of being a leader for a better future.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family, and education? When I started my executive MBA, our daughter was a baby. As the program involved many trips, we decided to embrace this adventure as a team and stay together. My husband and daughter have traveled with me to Barcelona, New York (3 times!), San Francisco, Munich… During the residential modules, my routine was to attend the program from 8 a.m. to 8.p.m., then have dinner with my family. When my daughter fell asleep, catch up with my work at Falabella and review the cases for the next day until 1:00 a.m. My classmates have seen Adriana grow up, and Raúl has made good friends with them, so there are three of us who have been able to face this amazing challenge.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? First of all, think about whether this is really what your career needs because an executive MBA is not a one-size-fits-all solution and requires a lot of sacrifices. If the answer is yes, then go for it! It will definitely take you to the next level and will probably be one of the most enriching experiences of your life. Time management, temporary personal trade-offs, and a strong commitment are key to success.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Definitely my class participation. The first day of class, after listening to the backgrounds and experiences of my classmates, I was invaded by the impostor syndrome. I felt that I was not up to the challenge. At the beginning, I was not very active with my class participation. Thanks to my classmates and my IESE coach, I realized that each one of us added value by the uniqueness of our experiences and perspectives. Now looking back, I see the importance of contributing in class to enrich both my own journey and that of the rest of the cohort to have a complete and meaningful experience.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I deeply admire Mugdha Gore, a truly hard worker and smart person. Her contributions in class were always brilliant and I learned a lot about the way she understands problem-solving: structured, bright, and to the point. On a personal level, she is a strong and self-confident woman and served as an example for me to evolve and trust myself more, so I consider her a reference and a mentor to whom I will always be very grateful.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I realized I couldn’t add value beyond my area of expertise and that effective problem solving requires multiple perspectives and looking at it through different angles.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? Paraphrasing Bel Pesce on a TED Talk: “Life is never about the goals themselves. Life is about the journey.” I want to live a life where the ultimate goal is just to be passionate and happy with every step I take.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? A passionate and cheerful team player, positive and a warm helping hand.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Dive in the Australian coral reef and swim with a whale shark.

What made Edurne such an invaluable addition to the class of 2019?

“Edurne´s passion and enthusiasm struck me when I first met her; her can-do attitude is contagious and with her natural leadership skills she can build strong team relations and create very positive working environments, as she proved during the program bringing people together when her team faced challenges.

She started the GEMBA program only a few months after giving birth to her baby girl and was able to commit to her family, her work responsibilities and the Global EMBA being an active part in her class. Edurne combines an entrepreneurial spirit with a strong corporate career; during the program she was promoted to Corporate Director of Digital Media at Falabella, leading the digital marketing strategy for Chile, Colombia, Argentina, and Peru. Edurne started her own company; a consulting boutique specialized in digital marketing, she also teaches Digital transformation, Marketing and Digital Strategy in Universities and Business Schools in Chile and Spain and mentors young women in early stages of their careers.

Edurne has very strong interpersonal skills; empathic, curious and eager to grow and challenge herself, she is also generous and passionate to share and help develop others and these qualities made her an invaluable member of the Global Executive MBA class of 2019.”

Elena Santodomingo

GEMBA Program Associate Director


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