2017 Best MBAs: Blanca Gómez-Zamalloa Atiénzar, IESE Business School

Blanca Gómez-Zamalloa Atiénzar

IESE Business School

“Optimistic, hard worker, responsible, cheerful, highly dynamic, sociable, well-educated and with power of initiative.”

Age: 29

Hometown: Madrid, Spain

Fun fact about yourself: Half of my hair is straight while the other half is curly, even though I fix it so only a few people really knows.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Escuela Superior de Ingenieros Aeronáuticos, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? I worked at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as a consultant in the Madrid office.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2016? Retail family business in Logroño, Spain

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be back working at BCG as a consultant (sponsored student)

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Capstone competition winner (consulting project competition sponsored by ROCHE) taking the role of the leader in my team.
  • “Sevillanas” dancing teacher during my second year for a multicultural event.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?  I am very proud of having been able to have my first child during the MBA while getting excellent grades, and also having created a new company from scratch with my husband (the online retail business for baby clothes: www.everybodybebe.es). Managing different aspects of life has been challenging but once you see the outcome you feel very proud of it.

 What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? The achievement I am most proud of is my early promotion at BCG from associate to consultant because it showed me that I was performing at the top 10% of my class and thanked to that they sponsored my MBA giving me the opportunity to live such an amazing experience.

 Who was your favorite MBA professor?  My favorite professor was Rafael de Santiago (Decision Analysis course) mainly because I would pick any course he would teach. Furthermore, he is the only professor that I would contact in any case (for both professional and personal advise). Great teacher, great listener and better person.

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it?“Personality and Leadership” is my favorite MBA Course because it is the one that made me think more about my professional career. The biggest insight I gained is that if one wants to become a good leader, the first and most important step is to know oneself. Now we will be hired to deal with analytical and stressed situations, but in the future we will be hired to deal with people and responsibilities and we need to be ready for that and start working on it now!

In class we discussed about different personalities and how to deal and work with them. Now, I have all of it in mind and I am working on improving all my weaknesses to be ready to become a great leader.

Why did you choose this business school? It was an easy choice because IESE fulfilled all my top priorities:

  • Academic prestige – International prestige was my first priority because it will provide me with a first level business education and will also help me to connect with the best people. IESE was ranked #5 by The Economist and #7 by The Financial Times in the moment I chose it.
  • Diversity – IESE is one of the most multicultural business schools with students in more than 70 different countries. It would make the MBA experience more interesting and insightful and will provide a great network.
  • Location – In my long term I would love to develop my professional career in Spain so IESE would bring me the best network for that aim.
  • Values – I was convinced that IESE would enrich my career and personal life, not only with business academic excellence and a great network but also with strong values.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? The once in a lifetime experience of being able to live in a “bubble” for 2 years. This bubble means to me…

  • Great people from all around the world.
  • Great professors from whom I learned very useful professional and personal insights.
  • Continuous challenges where I can test my business abilities in a safety environment.
  • Last, but not least, free time to enjoy with my family.

What was the most surprising thing about business school for you? How enriching it is to be surrounded by so many different people from all around the world and what you can learn and enjoy from this diversity.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? You need to be ready for two intense years where you will need to have clear priorities related to your goals. Being organized is key to not getting lost and to being able to make the most of the MBA. You also need to be authentic and ready to enjoy the multinational aspect of IESE MBA.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I was told that during the first year you do not have time to do anything but cases, cases and cases.

From my experience, it is true that the first year is tough but if you organize your day and work efficiently there is free time to enjoy other activities making the MBA experience very rich (I joined a gym, traveled a lot, met my MBA friends out of school, spent time with my family….)

What was your biggest regret in business school? I am happy to say that I have no regret because I faced these two years as “do things now, sometimes later becomes never.”I enrolled in all activities I could, studied as much as possible to take the most of the program. Additionally. in my personal life, I became a mother, travelled as much as I could, founded a new company with my husband, and made really good friends. What could I regret?

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The classmate I most admire is in fact my husband. He is the most intelligent person I know and he continued to excel while doing our MBA together. But this is not the only reason why he is the classmate I most admire. I deeply admire him because I have seen how he is always willing to help people in a low profile style, without the need to obtain anything in exchange.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I found out that I wanted to develop my career in the business world. The MBA was a key element needed in my engineering and consulting background.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…in BCG following my consulting career, fighting to learn new business concepts on my own (e.g., by doing long Google search as before). I would probably be happy without knowing what I missed, but now that I experienced it, I need to say that I would regret it every single day.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I would change two aspects:

  • I would include more cross-sections activities in order to get to know more people from the whole class (300 people in total).
  • I would also change the working teams every term. We spent at least one-and-a-half hours per day with our team and after the first term we all knew each other so much that we got relaxed, the “team challenge” partially disappeared.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I would love to become a general manager in a top energy company in Spain.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? It is impossible to only pick one person! I need to thank my parents and sister because they have always supported all my decisions and have shown how proud of me they are, encouraging me to give the extra mile that helped me succeed. Additionally, I also need to thank my husband for all he gives me every day (including our beautiful son) which makes me feel so happy that it gives me the strength to achieve everything I wish for.

 In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As one of the people from whom they learned more and enjoyed the best moments with.

Favorite book: Man’s Search for Meaning

Favorite movie or television show: Life Is Beautiful (La vita è bella)

Favorite musical performer: Alejandro Sanz

Favorite vacation spot: Luanco, Asturias, Spain

Hobbies? Dancing (Flamenco, Baile Español, Folclore, Escuela Bolera and Classical Ballet), Travelling (all around the world), Scrapbooking and Photography.

What made Blanca such an invaluable addition to the class of 2017?

“Blanca has been an outstanding student in the IESE MBA. In her MBA group, she was one of the people who brought the group together and made sure that everyone had the support they needed. She kept up her energy even while she was pregnant and conveniently had the baby during the summer break. Now, in the second year, she and her husband have figured it out to have complimentary schedules. Throughout everything she maintains a positive attitude, outstanding preparation and an extraordinary amount of common sense.”

Mike Rosenberg
Assistant Professor of Strategic Management

DON’T MISS: THE COMPLETE HONOR ROLL: BEST & BRIGHTEST MBAS OF 2017