2021 MBAs To Watch: Tanya De Andres Duran, IESE Business School

Tanya De Andres Duran      

IESE Business School

“Engineering mind, determined to be happy and, as Olaf would say, “I love warm hugs.”

Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico

Fun fact about yourself: My absolute favorite TV series is Friends, I have watched it easily more than 100 times except for the last episode that I have seen only twice to keep the story alive. I can quote every episode and I always manage to find a comparison to a Friends episode in my day to day.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Universidad Anahuac Mexico Norte – Industrial Engineering for Management, minor in Finance

Universidad Anahuac México Norte – Degree in Business Leadership Genera

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Essity, Junior Key Account Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? Amazon Pathways Program, EU

Where will you be working after graduation? Amazon Pathways Program, Spain

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Forte Fellow, Forte Foundation
  • IESE Tech Club VP: Organized the first IESE Virtual Tech Trek with the major tech firms and 100 attendees.
  • IESE Tech Club CV reviewer and career adviser specializing in Amazon.
  • IESE WIB Club Conference Ops VP: Organized the first WIB Virtual Conference, reaching 500 attendees. I built the platform to access the Conference as well as coordinating the Hybrid event during the middle of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • IESE Sailing Club VP: Helped promote Sailing Club events.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Organizing the WIB Conference. When I was applying to business school, one of the most important things for me was getting involved with the WIB Club because I believe that there is still a lot of work to be done to bridge the gender gap. I also recognized that I had to educate myself, so that I would be able to take these conversations into the business world. During my first year at IESE, I was involved in most WIB events and applied to be a WIB VP of Conference Operations. The applications happened in the middle of lockdown when we had no idea what the world was going to look like. Six months later, we had the challenge to organize a fully online conference. This brought a lot of new issues to solve, like building a new platform for attendees, coordinating with the (incredible) IESE IT team, and all kinds of troubleshooting. The day of the Conference, we had more than 500 attendees across sessions, truly inspiring speakers and people connected from all over the world engaging in dialogue on gender equality. At the end of the day, as I was scooting home, I couldn’t help but smile at the fact that I had helped create that space that many of us are desperately looking for to talk about one of the most important issues to society.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? When I was working at Essity, I had just been promoted to Key Account Manager and my biggest client had requested to renegotiate our commercial agreement. It was the toughest negotiation I had ever faced; it lasted a year. I had to completely rethink the commercial strategy of both our brands and the private label brand. I had to launch new products and renegotiate the distribution of our products. On top of the negotiation, I still had to manage the day-to-day operations of the business and make sure that we were still growing our sales. Before leaving the company, we had signed a final agreement with my client and we were starting to implement the new strategy, which made me very proud.

During this whole process I already knew I wanted to leave for the MBA, so I also had the opportunity to mentor my direct report to make sure that she was ready to take care of the accounts when I left. The best moment came a year later when I received a message from her, telling me that she had been promoted after implementing the strategy. I was incredibly proud of her and very happy that I had been able to teach and coach her so that she could succeed in her career.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose IESE for its culture. For me academic rigor was very important. However, I wanted a school that had people with values and people who cared about the world and about others. IESE was the school that promoted this culture the most. However, I have to say I never expected to encounter people who are as amazing as my classmates. The day you step foot in IESE, you realize everyone is incredibly nice and is willing to help. It does not matter if you are applying for the same job or you are in a case competition together; people will go out of their way to help you. After almost two years of being at IESE, I think this is engraved in all of us, a culture of paying it forward. That’s because someday someone helped you out and if you have a chance to help someone you will.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Miguel Ariño. I had the opportunity to have him as a professor in the first and third terms. He is incredibly engaging. He makes sure to deliver a performance in class to capture everyone’s attention. As he would always say: “Miguel Ariño always thinks about his students.” He manages to teach courses like Decision Analysis and Business Analytics in a very practical way that is accessible to everyone. This became incredibly important as he had the challenge to teach us on the third term in the online format while we were still in a full lockdown in Spain. I think I speak for everyone in Section A when I say that some days, his class was something to look forward to attending. He always managed to connect and engage with us. Most importantly, he knew that we were having a hard time. He would sometimes take a few minutes from his class to inspire us with his words and give us some “life lessons” that were very much appreciated.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite event was Multiculti. We were lucky enough to experience it before COVID hit. I think it is the best event at IESE because it truly represents an international class. It is a great opportunity to share traditions of your country with your classmates and really bond over these traditions. It is like having the chance to travel to every country in one day. We share food, drinks, songs, dances, and even special performances like a Mexican “Lucha Libre.” It is this incredible moment to experience the richness of all the different cultures that make up the IESE cohort.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would have made a bigger effort to spend more time getting to know my team in a personal setting since the beginning of the program. The MBA is very overwhelming, and it is easy to forget about getting to know the people on your team and focus on the work. As I later learned, this is the wrong approach. It took us a while to realize that performing as a team was important, but we got better results when we enjoyed working with each other. In the second term, we made some adjustments. When we went into lockdown, we actually looked forward to our team meetings. After going through this difficult period, we became very close and now we actively seek spending quality time together. So, I would definitely recommend to anyone starting their MBA to spend time getting to know the people on your team. It can be a very strong support system and it makes the experience much more enjoyable.

What surprised you the most about business school? It was the variety of talents that people in our class have, other than their professional backgrounds. For example, you could be a yoga instructor, world class sommelier, ski racer, surfer, or actor — or able to create a one-person digital band, cook delicious meals, or dance Bollywood style. I am very lucky to get to know this group of interesting people and to be able to learn from them every day. The way I see it, is that this is the definition of having a diverse class. I am very lucky to have the opportunity to learn from a group of high performing people who have very diverse, backgrounds, interests, and perceptions.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I think the most important thing is to do your research and choose the right school. Make sure that you understand the culture of the school by talking to alumni and students. Understand the school’s priorities and check whether they resonate with you. For me, IESE was my first choice since my first contact with the school. And the more research I did, the more this got confirmed. I think that for you to be successful in your application process you need to feel passionate about joining the school and truly share the school’s values. I believe this is also the case when you are applying for a job.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? One person that I have admired since day one, and who ever since then keeps on amazing me, is Marta Durany. She is an incredible woman with a very successful career who came to the MBA four months after giving birth to her first child. I admire her because she has very clear priorities in her life, her family, and her career. She has done an excellent job in balancing the two. That does not mean that it has been easy. Every time I speak with her, she has a smile on her face and is always willing to meet and have a conversation. I have learnt so much from her and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to get to know her.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? The second and third term were very tough. At the beginning, it was very hard to concentrate on classes when the world around us was upside down. We were scared. Some people flew home, while others decided to stay with our new “families” and get through it together. Still, it felt surreal; the world looked like a horror movie. By the third term however, we had a routine, we all had found ways of coping with the new reality, whether that was through yoga, journaling, puzzling or art. We managed to channel all that energy and focus again on classes. At this point, the highlight of my day was meeting with my team and working on projects. It was nice to interact with them and focus on something other than the news. The best came when we were able to go back to campus, even with all safety protocols. We were so lucky to be able to have in person classes and listen to our classmates’ voices and not through a computer. I think COVID brought a lot of things, but for me the biggest one has been the ability to be grateful for things we took for granted when we got here.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My role model in life is and always will be my mother. She is the strongest person I have ever met, always fighting for what she loves. At the same time, she is also an incredible businesswoman who managed to put my sister and me through college, and now an MBA, through hard work and sacrifices.

Since I was a kid, I remember telling my mom that when I grew up, I would be a director and take her to travel the world. She has inspired me to always give that little bit extra to do an impeccable job and always keep going. No matter how hard things get, if you do things right your work will eventually pay off. Throughout my career she has always been there for me, cheering me up and supporting me in every way she can. This has been the force behind all my successes and the reason why I want to become a better person every day.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Since I started working, I told my mom that one day I would be my company’s CEO and I meant it. I aspire to a senior leadership position in an international company (hopefully Amazon). A big part of this aspiration comes from wanting to be an example and inspire other women who strive to build a successful business career.

Another of my main career purposes is to give something back to society. I was a math tutor for several years and I really enjoy teaching others. I want to take this to the next level and become a part time teacher at a university. I have always thought that teachers are life guides to students, so I would appreciate the opportunity of touching another person’s life, like many of my teachers have touched mine.

What made Tanya such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Tanya provided a form of leadership that was invaluable for her peers: her limitless energy and optimism; the cohesion that she was able to create in every social or professional circle that she participated in; her determination to succeed in academic fields, and industry sectors, where historically women have been underrepresented; and her willingness to mentor students aspiring to follow her path, in the spirit of service that characterizes the IESE community. This all makes her a bright example, and a distinguished member of our MBA Class of 2021.”

Mihalis Markakis
Assistant Professor of Production, Technology and Operations Management



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