2022 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: Emanuel Cheszes, IE Brown Executive MBA

Emanuel Cheszes

IE Brown Executive MBA (IE Business School and Brown University)

“A proud Argentinean, very curious, always looking forward and optimistic about most things in life.”

Age: 35

Hometown: Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina

Family Members: Mum, Dad, 3 brothers, 3 nieces, 1 nephew, and an amazing 101 year-old grandfather.

Fun fact about yourself: I have and identical twin brother and, apparently, I also look like The Professor of the Spanish series “Money Heist.”

Undergraduate School and Degree: Economía Empresarial (Business Economics), Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Argentina.

Where are you currently working? Red Bull, General Manager, Argentina

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

  • Absolutely love sports. Used to do flat water kayaking very seriously when I was younger. Nowadays, I am experimenting with a little bit of everything: yoga, functional training, paddle, running, and probably a couple more things by the time this article is published.
  • Currently, I am working with AIMS International and “Fundación Natalí Dafne Flexer” in some specific fundraising and awareness initiatives.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I had the chance to work with some exceptional people during this EMBA journey. I would highlight two specific projects that I loved collaborating on and that make me feel especially proud. The first one is our Entrepreneurial Management project, in which our group developed and piloted a “Sustainability as a Service Platform” with the goal of making it simple for consumers, restaurants, and food delivery marketplaces to reduce the impact of plastic waste. What started with a very simple and obvious insight turned into a potential solution for one of the biggest environmental issues in the food-delivery market.

The second one is the Key Reflection Project, in which our group focused on answering if “Latin America’s gig economy provided a pathway for integration of Venezuelan migrants & refugees” and explored ideas of how the migrants experience could be improved while also creating business value for the companies in this environment. The research involved in this project allowed us to understand, in a rather deep manner, the second-largest external displacement crisis in the world and to be in contact with migrants and refugees and some of the great social entrepreneurs helping them in their journey. Trying to find and articulate ideas that would create value for all parts of the Latin-American gig economy was a challenge – and an extremely rewarding exercise. It also touched me on a personal level because it made me reflect on my own family history, as my grandparents migrated in search of a better future just before the World War II.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Somehow, I have always most enjoyed turnaround projects. A couple of years ago, I was working at our Latin-American Headquarters in Brazil when  I was offered the chance to go back to Argentina and lead the operation there, which was going through some rough times due to a combination of external and internal factors. Shortly after my arrival, my colleagues and I focused on restructuring the team, re-building the morale, and re-designing the operations mission and goals. Through this process, we had to make some very tough decisions, like completely restructuring our Route to Market, re-thinking our price strategy, and shifting our local marketing priorities to better fit the new goals. Simultaneously, the economic situation of the country deteriorated very fast and unexpectedly. This forced us to become extremely agile and resilient given the volatility of our economy during those years. When I think about how much we have achieved since that first moment, in nearly every aspect of the business, I feel very proud and also blessed to have been able to do it with a team of unique, passionate, and talented colleagues from whom I learned so much.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? Like many of my peers, I was looking for something that was more than just an opportunity for me to further specialize in business topics. In my case, having studied Business Administration before, this motivation was very prominent. The IE-Brown EMBA really goes a step beyond and offers a curriculum full of subjects that equip students with a broad social and humanistic perspective and helps us develop a more critical and holistic understanding about the main issues in business and society. Throughout the program, aside from the standard core subjects, we have had classes that focus on the intersection of slavery and capitalism, climate change and its implication in business, the increasing impact of globalization, the determinants of health disparities, the history behind the rise of China, and many other topics. I have to admit that my perspective has completely shifted in numerous matters, and I look at the world now with very different eyes.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? More than a specific lesson, I would say that the biggest value I have gained in the MBA, which I try to use at work as much as I can, is the range of perspectives that can be considered and applied when approaching any issue or opportunity. Also, this program taught me to always try to zoom out and analyze the bigger picture before making a meaningful decision. Finally, it has given me the opportunity to collaborate with extraordinary people from very different backgrounds which reinforced in me, even more, the incredible value that comes with working in very diverse teams.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? I am probably not the best example! I have certainly learned some important lessons about prioritization and balance during my time in the program. Now, in retrospect, I do believe that there are great ways of enjoying various aspects of life without having to compromise too much on what really matters. Of course, some trade-offs are needed, which means that it is crucial to understand what you personally value most and in which are the areas of your life you can save time without sacrificing those values. I am lucky in that I count on a lot of support and understanding from those around me, people who have helped me progress through my learning curve quite well!

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program?

In order to take full advantage of doing an EMBA while keeping in check the impact of its high intensity, planning and preparation is key.

* Make sure your family and friends support you and are aware of what your participation in the program also means for them. I realize this sounds like a cliché, but it will be a group effort, not only your individual one.

* Align your team and key people with who you work so that they can help you as much as possible – this is especially important when you are balancing moments when deliverables are scheduled at both work and in the EMBA.

* Optimize your agenda as much as possible. An EMBA should not come at the expense of the thing that keeps you happy and healthy (physically and emotionally).

* Consider in advance what trade-offs you are going to make to unblock the time you will need for the EMBA. More of everything is probably not the best recipe here. It might also be an appropriate moment to create some good habits that you can build and keep once the program finishes.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I honestly cannot think of any big regret. The only thing is that, while we were able to have almost all of our residential periods despite the COVID-19 pandemic, one was canceled due to the omicron variant. Hopefully, our cohort will be the last that must face this king of restrictions.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? There are so many!

My Key Reflection Project teammates: Pepe Borrás, who is a pioneer in the use of technology for the promotion of human rights, a visionary, and the best possible host for all the times we went to Spain; Andrea Chevasco, who is the Finance Director of one of the biggest companies in Perú and the perfect example of someone who is very successful in balancing all important aspects of life; and Damian Rivlin, who is an expert on the implementation of technology in education, one of the most devoted individuals I have worked with and someone who is always adding fun to the equation, even in the most stressful of moments.

I also want to mention my project peers, Sara Brinton and Eugenie Teasley, who are two of the smartest and most passionate individuals I have ever met, both an unmeasurable force of change when it comes to helping companies develop and implement ESG strategies.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? I believe that the level of connection that you can get with someone when you share the same physical space exponentially exceeds any other viable alternative. Our program, the IE Brown Executive MBA, is a hybrid one that alternates between in-person and remote periods. This method gave us the possibility of being within a very international and diverse group without having to leave our work or countries of residence. These two aspects, residential periods and having a very international cohort, were my biggest priorities when selecting a program. Luckily, I didn’t miss!

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? Generally, I try to see my profession not as an isolated dimension of my life, but as something that is a complement and contributor to my dreams and motivations. Therefore, I actually don´t have an ultimate long-term professional goal or a very specific role to which I aspire. What I do have are some guidelines and general direction of what makes the most sense for me right now. So, in the future I would like to focus on projects and positions in which:

  • I can continue to enlarge the positive impact I make, with colleagues, in business and in society.
  • I help solve meaningful problems.
  • I learn from people whom I truly admire.
  • I am part of diverse teams that are full of different perspectives.
  • I can be bold and take risks.
  • I feel fulfilled and motivated with the purpose of what is being done.

What made Emanuel Cheszes such an invaluable addition to the class of 2022?

“I am thrilled to recommend Emanuel Cheszes as one of the Best and Brightests Executive MBAs of 2022. Emanuel is one of those unique students that stand out from the very beginning of the course. His contributions have been most valuable, interesting, and always delivered with a sense of humor that facilitates a smooth flow of discussion and creates a generous climate within the class. From my viewpoint, his fast career in a highly dynamic company such as Red Bull – he was appointed as Argentina General Manager before turning 30, thus becoming the youngest General Manager in the company – is the natural outcome of his manner of thinking and decision-making style, which is a smart combination of in-depth analysis and reaction speed. Additionally, Emanuel has participated in a most socially relevant Key Reflection Project, for which I had the pleasure of acting as advisor. Emanuel and three of his fellow students together focused on how the gig economy can help integrate Venezuelan immigrants in their countries of destination. Throughout the development of the project, Emanuel demonstrated a keen balance between an intrinsic interest of sustainability issues and a business approach to social problems. It has been a unique pleasure to have him in class.”

IE Business School Professor Cristina Simón


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