Sitting with Simone

Hola! Let’s meet Simone, our cheery, friendly class representative of Digital Business 1. Simone is always ready for a quick chat and is great at powerpoint presentations (from what we’ve heard!). Today we are going to find out a little more about her through a highly exclusive interview 😉

Simone

Simone Konrad, from Köln, Germany

  • Hi Simone, what made you choose IE?

I have to admit that IE was not my first choice when I applied to Business Schools around Europe. My priorities back then were mainly in London, Germany, Switzerland and France. Madrid has never been a city I have seriously considered to live in until it came to the point of confirming or rejecting offers from universities. The main reason I have chosen IE over other business schools was my brother, who asked me: ‘Do you prefer entrepreneurial spirit or people that are super focused on the perfect career in banking, consultancy etc.? Do you prefer sunny or grey days? Do you prefer vino tinto on buzzing plazas or overpriced beer inside pubs? Do you prefer to study at a university ranked first or diversity?’ I could easily answer all of these questions within seconds.

  • Favourite thing about IE?

Group meetings on my terrace, that start in the afternoon and turn into fun nights with food and drinks.

  • Diversity is one of IE’s key strengths. How has IE’s diversity helped you as an individual?

I strongly believe that we will all face very challenging situations in life in which we have to cope with very diverse personalities. Everyone has extremely unique ways of handling debates, organising work and accomplishing tasks. As I have some work experience in different industries, I have seen that coping with people could be one of the hardest things. We usually cannot chose who we work with, so it is tremendously important to adapt to different work styles to make the most it. Although diversity in teams can be a challenge for most, as soon as we know how to deal with it, it can easily turn into a huge opportunity. Different minds can drive innovation and creativity. IE’s approach to let students work closely on many different projects with people with the most diverse backgrounds has helped me to get to know many work styles. Now I feel more confident working in teams and about my future work environment.  

  • Group work is at the centre of our coursework at IE. Could you tell us something you have learned from your working in groups at IE.

Before IE I struggled to completely trust others and I always needed the full picture of every single project. During MiM we need to work on so many different subjects and topics so that it gets impossible to know every single detail. I have learnt that we, as a team, could only achieve the best possible outcome by assigning specific responsibilities. Being the ‘manager’ for one project, I could go in as much detail as I wanted, but for other subjects I needed to have faith in my team mates. Not being disappointed, today I feel that this is something very valuable that not only improves the quality of projects, but also limits the stress. There is still a high degree of thought exchange and brainstorming with the whole team in which I could get involved, however, the implementation is fully up to the ‘manager’. Today, I can share tasks with a clear conscience without feeling the need to control.

  • If you could describe your IE experience in 3 words…..
  1. People
  2. Thought-exchange (sorry for cheating)
  3. Sunny
  • What is one thing you will miss most about IE?

The limited responsibility and the freedom to do, say and ask everything that comes to our minds is something I will definitely miss after graduating from IE. At IE, they try to put us in situations that prepare us for real life with the difference, that each action in real life has consequences. We need to be confident and have the courage that our decision is right – at IE we have the freedom to make mistakes without major effects apart from grades. This empowers us to take risks and try out our limits, and of course let us learn from failure. Later in life and most importantly in our jobs we will need to think twice before acting.

Of course, besides school, I will miss some special people that became my friends. Unfortunately, there is a second side of IE’s biggest asset, that is diversity. We get to know different personalties from all over the world. In September 2016, everyone came from different places to IE and in July 2017 we will all leave that same place to different cities of the world.

  • After 2 semesters at IE, what’s been your favourite subject thus far?
Entrepreneurship in the second term has been my favourite subject so far – disregarding the 3rd term which I cannot really judge yet. For the first time, there was no theory at all that could has helped us develop in that subject. Everything was very hands-on and we needed to experience what it means to start a business. First, I have been super curious about business plans, what are the first steps, what to consider, how to find the right information and how to pitch your venture idea. Second, my team well contributed to making this subject my favourite one. It was one of the projects, we closely worked all together and division of work was limited as we usually needed discussions and ideas from everyone to develop our business plan. Third, our professor’s enthusiasm and passion towards this subject was one of the main factors. He was always available and I felt that he really cared about our projects, that encouraged us to move forward with our ventures.
  • What are the things you miss about Köln , Germany?

The things I miss about Köln are:

– my friends I have left in my home town
– gym in the morning (Madrid/Spanish lifestyle makes it impossible to wake up early …)
– Karneval, Karnevalsmusic and those people that share the same enthusiasm for it 😉
– supporting my football team in the stadium, but also in pubs and bars
– the parks around my apartment, in which I used to go running
– my 2 favourite sushi places, Sushi deLux (to order) and Black Karate
– lunches with my dad
  • Tell us something about you that will surprise us

Even though I seem like a very structured and organised person, I feel very uncomfortable to make plans in advance. I prefer to live the moment and decide whenever I am required to decide. There is no way for me to plan a holiday a year ahead, to make a restaurant reservation weeks in advance or tell my friends before the very last minute if I come out Saturday night or not. For me personally this is a degree of freedom I need but some things in life I need to plan – and these are the moments I feel stressed.

  • What are your after-MIM plans?

After the MiM I am planning to travel to places around the world that I haven’t been yet. I am specifically curious about a safari tour in Africa, a surf trip to South Africa and a cycle tour along the west coast of France. Especially after some intense group work hours during our MiM, I am very excited to enjoy some me-time, yet, I will not miss the chance to visit friends I have not seen for a while. After getting my (well deserved, as I believe ;)) break, I have chosen the perfect time in the year to move to Munich, Germany, where I start working for a consultancy (end of September 2017). During these weeks ‘Wiesn’, internationally known as Oktoberfest, will warmly welcome me for my new life stage. In Germany there is a saying that translates into: ‘I will leave with a smile in one eye and a tear in the other’. I am super sad to leave such an amazing city and say goodbye to many newly made friends, but I am still very excited to meet new people and about the new challenges I will face.

Thank you so much for chatting with us, Simone! It has been a pleasure getting to know you.

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