2015 MBA To Watch: Hanna Evron

Hannah Evron

Hanna Evron

 
IE Business School

From Israel to California to Madrid, Hanna Evron has thrived wherever she has traveled. And her time at IE Business School was no different. Describing herself as someone who prefers to make things work than create things, Hanna still managed to start a Lean In Circle, Speed Networking Nights, and an international readers library during her 13 months at the school, along with earning induction into the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society for her academic achievements. After graduation, she will be joining Wochit as director of business development-global communities.

Age: 31

Hometown: Tel Aviv, Israel

Undergraduate School: University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

Undergraduate Degree: BS, Business Administration

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Evolve Media, director of business development

Where did you intern during summer 2014? The IE IMBA is an intense 13-month program that, depending on the intake, allows for internships in the summer or early spring. In my case, I opted to make the most out of my electives and stayed at IE for the entire course of the program.

Where will you be working after graduation? Wochit, director of business development-global communities

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I watched a successful startup quickly sink in front of my eyes because of poor management. What makes a startup fun and full of energy is the culture and lack of structure, anything goes and everyone is on board. This policy works well in good times and terrible in bad times. I knew I needed to gain tools that would help me create structure through a sound business plan and an analytical way of looking at things. Experience has given me quite a bit of knowledge over the years, but the foundational tools I needed to take a business to the next level were missing and I knew they had to be developed academically. Real world learning is good but also very limited in the takeaways we gain from each situation.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…Googling what it means to build a financial model and struggling on my own to understand the process. As I took on more senior roles and carried larger P&L responsibilities, my role became much more analytical and data driven than I was prepared for. I could make assumptions based on industry knowledge and opinion, but as I now know, every major decision should be calculated and given a numerical position, not simply excused as “strategic” but truly giving an IRR or NPV to every investment dollar the business spends. I could not have done that with the skill set I had before the MBA and would be attempting to make up for these flaws but catching up is simply not the same as running ahead.”

What are your long term professional goals? Going to a school so focused on startups, I am usually the only person in the room who does not want to start my own business one day. I am not the visionary with the big idea, I am the one who takes the big idea and makes it work. I have always looked up to the role of COO as the one who makes the business work and would ultimately like to take this strategic role in a growing business. Watching a startup slowly take shape with the right team in place and ultimately become an epic success is a dream I would love to make come true.

Favorite Courses: Strategy, Technology & Innovation Management, Financial Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital

Which academic or professional achievements are you most proud of? As an alternative to the final exam, IMBA students have the option of selecting a company in need and providing consulting services to help solve a specific issue over the course of the last two semesters. My team chose an open source startup in the mobile gaming industry and went straight to work. Spending weeks trying to understand this tech heavy industry, getting to know the players, and digging down to the real issues at hand were a major challenge but well worth the efforts.

Once my team and I completed the project with a number of potential open source business model alternatives, go to market strategies, and appropriate cash flow projections, our clients were pleasantly surprised. Not only did we help them consider new opportunities such as expanding their business into new areas and revenue streams with clearly outlined assumptions and calculations, but our detailed research and new approach to the project helped the team settle multiple internal arguments regarding open source monetization the founders were having amongst themselves. Being able to put all my MBA learnings into a single project and see how our work truly helped a business in trouble felt like a huge accomplishment. It’s one thing to learn things and completely different to put them in practice. At that moment, I was proud of the work my team did but also proud of how much we were able to absorb from the program over a relatively short period. Sometimes this year feels like a blur, but putting my new skill set in action helped me see just how much I received.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My roommates have been the greatest source of my success and sanity throughout this intense and incredible year. Living with three classmates from around the world has not only taught me about their local customs including the optimal time to steep tea and how to make an amazing pisco sour, their unique personalities have helped me enjoy this year to it’s fullest extent. My British housemate John helped me focus on studying hard and truly understanding the material. My Peruvian housemate Jorge taught me to me enjoy the Madrid night life, reminding me to unwind and let loose every now and then. Finally, my French house mate Laure showed me what European culture and high fashion is all about. Together this odd and unplanned mix of strangers became my family and I know I could not have accomplished so much this year without their constant support and inspiration.

Who did you choose this business school? I always wanted to live and travel in Europe, having the opportunity to complete my MBA in just over a year while visiting places I have never been was the best of both worlds. The fact that the IE program is focused on startups and entrepreneurship was a major factor for me. Coming from the startup world and knowing I will go back, it was important I gain applicable knowledge and not simply information I could not fully utilize down the road. Learning business at a school that, in itself, is a startup and has its very own incubator in the basement seemed like the perfect fit. I had previously visited Madrid and fell in love with the city. Together with the highly diverse student base and incredible elective opportunities I knew IE was the right place for me.

What did you enjoy most about business school? Coming from the startup space in which everyone wears many hats, every decision made and action taken has critical importance and may significantly affect the company bottom line. This is exactly what makes startups exciting, but also very stressful. Trying to get a company off the ground, to pivot when needed and make the best use out of the few resources available can be a heavy burden.

My favorite part about business school is the opportunity to try without the fear of failing or being wrong. There are no serious consequences for making a mistake. In fact, you are urged to do so time and again. “Fail fast and fail early” is a phrase I have heard again-and-again this year. Business school is exactly the place to do so without the pressure of losing your paycheck or disappointing the boss. There is a freedom at school that let’s you push yourself to a place you may not have in real life due to a fear of consequences. Of course I have enjoyed getting to know students from around the world, which now make up my global alliance of very close friends as well as learning new things I never considered, but the freedom to fly high will be what I will miss most that simply does not exist after graduation.

What is your most memorable moment from business school? Although difficult to choose, some of my favorite moments this year were evenings in which someone made a home cooked meal from their country. There is something about sharing food from your far away home that allows people to not only better understand your culture, but also better understand the person hosting the meal. One of those special evenings was a dinner at my home, in which our classmate Zaid cooked a Jordanian delicacy called Mansaf for 10 people. Mansaf is very simply rice and lamb with a yogurt sauce. However it is eaten with one’s right hand, as everyone stands around the table. Delicious and messy, a group of people from around the world had an incredible time learning the techniques, eating the deliciously prepared food and laughing the entire time. The evening reminded me how different we are, and yet all very much the same. Breaking bread has been a bonding event for ages, eating Mansaf I would argue brings people together even more.

Fun fact about yourself: After studying fine arts for five years and believing I would spend my life painting, I served 2 years as  a Foreign Affairs Sgt. in the Israeli Air Force and was introduced to the exciting world of international business. The experience turned my life around and led me to follow a completely different path, something I never imagined.

Favorite book: The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho (I can’t think of this book and not smile.)

Favorite movie: The Sound of Music (I have watched this movie time and time again, it never get’s old.)

Favorite musical performer: Diplo. I like many different types of music but Diplo always manages to surprise me. His live shows feel like the best party you have ever been to every single time. My brother and I don’t agree on much, but we both are huge fans and have spent a few fun nights seeing him together.

Favorite television show: Girls. Being abroad, I don’t watch much TV anymore, but Girls gives me a sense of home when I need it. I feel like I have gotten to know the characters quite well at this point and their crazy stories often make me feel like my problems are minimal in comparison.

Favorite vacation spot: I have had the pleasure of traveling with classmates this year to places near-and-far. Whether sleepy Spanish towns or beachy Thai islands, it was the people, not the place that made the trip. Traveling around the world with a diverse group of people (often being asked if we were from the United Nations) and getting to know each of them on a deeper level was an incredible experience. The Ibiza sunsets and Tokyo fish market sushi would not have been the same without them, so choosing a favorite is impossible. As a California girl at heart, I love the sunshine and with trips to Chile, Costa Rica and Morocco still to come I think many new favorites lie ahead.

What are your hobbies? Drawing has always been a passion of mine and a great way to get back to my creative roots. I have been lucky to find a very special drawing group in Madrid, which allows me to meet new people, practice Spanish and is a weekly reminder to get my charcoals out and draw something. This year has also been great for traveling and getting lost in different cities. Madrid is not too far from just about anywhere in Europe, so staying in such a central location has been a wonderful way to visit new cities around region.

When I need to release steam spinning and running are my go-to options. Exercising in Spanish gyms has been an adventure in its own and all part of the experience living abroad. The great part about running is no instruction or equipment is required, I can simply lace up my shoes wherever I am and go.

Twitter handle: @MissHannaEvron

What made Hanna such an invaluable addition to the class of 2015?

“Hanna represents the group of people who make a difference, no matter the challenge. From serving as a Foreign Affairs Sergeant in the Israeli Air Force to studying fine arts, Hanna brings a cultural and intellectual intelligence to the table that make her stand out as one of the most compassionate and inspirational leaders of the 2015 cohort. Her enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and the intrinsic desire to guide others in excelling at their best make Hanna a truly natural leader.” — Ines Drieselmann, Executive Director of the IE Business School International MBA

DON’T MISS: MBAS TO WATCH FROM THE CLASS OF 2015