Meet IE Business School’s MBA Class Of 2019

Na’ama Shamir Kenan

IE Business School

“Israeli-American new mom from Jerusalem, passionate about products and interested in everything.”

Hometown: Jerusalem, Israel

Fun Fact About Yourself: I used to dance for many years – ballet, tap dancing and hip hop

Undergraduate School and Major: Hebrew University – Business management and Communications

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Business Development at ScaleAbout (Israeli startup)

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I reached the position of a Brand Manager for one of Israel’s largest food companies. As such, I was involved in the development and marketing of new products for huge household brands.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Openness – IE’s International MBA program is very diverse in terms of where people are from, and right from the start people were so nice and welcoming towards each other. In addition, I feel that everyone who came to this program is very open-minded and is eager to learn and absorb as much as they can.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Innovation. From what I read and heard about the program, innovation is its heart. From the curriculum to the labs and to the overall spirit, there is a true effort to keep the program updated, to adapt quickly to changes, to challenge traditional concepts and offer the graduates the best tools to deal with today’s ever-changing business world.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am looking forward to the Labs period where we gain actual experience with real companies and get a taste of the life after our degree. In addition, I am trying to start a new parents club at IE. The aim of this club will be to try and help with the hardships of relocating with your family to a new place and culture, al during a demanding program.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I always wanted to get an MBA and this was just the right time for us as a family. Travelling before was problematic because of my husband’s work and studies (He is a clinical psychologist and a Philosophy PhD candidate) and because our son was very young. Career-wise, I felt like I needed to re-focus and better define what future roles and future industries I want to pursue.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I see it first-and-foremost as an investment in myself and my personal growth, before thinking about financial gain etc. I was lucky to have the support of my family (financially and emotionally – they are all from academic background so academia is highly regarded in their eyes), the skills, and the ability to apply so I felt that this is an opportunity that should not be missed.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I actually did not apply to other programs. I was looking into top European programs and had two other options in mind, but I was pretty set on IE as being the best option for me.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I first read materials on the school’s website to get a better understanding of the curriculum and culture. I attended recruiting sessions in my country and also reached out to former students to hear more about their experience and discuss any doubts I had with them. I prioritized doing a one-year program in Europe, mainly due to my family obligations. The last factor was the emphasis on innovation and technology. While other programs had strengths in fields that are less relevant to me such as finance or consulting, IE has more to offer when it comes to marketing, social organizations and high-tech. These fields are the most relevant and interesting for me to pursue in the future.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? My defining moment was during my third year of my Bachelor’s degree. I was involved in so many different projects, such as broadcasting on a radio program, establishing a student business school newspaper as editor-in-chief and doing a consulting project for a social organization. I really felt like the sky was the limit. I saw how I can just make things happen with enough effort. I loved that moment and the feeling that everything is open and possible. Later you start running a certain professional course and get caught up in the routine and day-to-day life, but I am happy to try and re-experience this during this year and remind myself that there is still a lot of possibilities and a lot I can do.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I hope to find a fantastic and interesting job in a place I can grow and progress. I also hope to manage this very tricky and difficult thing called life-work balance.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I hope to be an inspiring and influential manager in a company that is doing something great.

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