2021 MBAs To Watch: Christina Gohl, IE Business School

Christina Gohl

IE Business School

“I’m a results-oriented, people-oriented, ex-scientist turned business development professional who loves skiing in the Rockies.”

Hometown: Vancouver, BC

Fun fact about yourself: I met my husband on an airplane!

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Alberta, Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Santevia Water Systems, Role: Director of Sales

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? There’s no summer break in a one-year MBA – we go 11 months straight – so nowhere!

Where will you be working after graduation? Great question! One-year MBAs are a unique breed, so given that I don’t graduate until the end of July I haven’t accepted an offer yet.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:


Forte Fellowship

Community Work and Leadership Roles

IE Consulting Club Leadership Team. Role: Vice President

The club had slipped in the IE club rankings (a measure of value and effectiveness). I identified the need for a turnaround. I led and implemented a strategy and vision building process with the leadership team which included setting simple but powerful key metrics to measure success. In four weeks, we increased the club’s score by over 100 points, moving from 4th to 1st place.

IE Ambassador – Women4Women Program

Women continue to be underrepresented in MBA programs and through IE’s Women4Women program I aim to change that. Once paired with a prospective female student, I developed a connection and then we explored their needs and goals. My aim is to reduce anxiety by answering their questions but also to act as an advisor. Together we find the right fit, both for them and for IE.


Junior profiles in my network have asked for mentorship from me in three areas: sales/business development, team management, and networking. I am currently working with a Masters in Management student to advance his networking skills with a goal to increase his chance of success in consulting applications.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Being published in IE’s Finance Talks. I’m a sales and marketing profile with a Bachelor in Science, so while I’m right at home in data analysis, all the finance I know I learned in a boardroom. As a result, when I came to business school I expected to struggle amongst peers with significantly more experience. I had been following the Game Stop short squeeze in the news, so when it came time to pick a topic for my Financial Markets final paper, GME seemed both interesting and relevant. I’m a good writer, but by no means a financial expert. As a result, I was shocked when my professor reached out saying that not only had I gotten 100% on the paper, but that he wanted to publish it. Since then, it has been reprinted in IE’s student newspaper at the request of the IE Investment Club and I got a 4.0 in Financial Markets to boot.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I always hit sales targets. This started in my first role as a Management Trainee at Enterprise, where I was in the top 1% of sales people province-wide every month I worked there. When I moved to Santevia, I repeated the same pattern. The business was young when I joined, so we had aggressive growth targets: double digits every year. I never missed an annual target. As the business grew, so did my level of responsibility and the size of my team. This meant hitting sales targets was now a function of my ability to lead and motivate 75 others instead of a result of my own direct work. This was a learning curve for me, but a challenge where I excelled. My team never missed an annual sales target in my 7-year tenure at the company.

Why did you choose this business school? I had progressed to the senior leadership team at Santevia and I remember sitting at the boardroom table realizing that while I understood the sales vertical very well, I couldn’t always predict with accuracy the impact my sales strategies would have on other areas of the business. I was a highly competent middle manager, but I needed to up-skill to become an executive. I came to IE Business School to improve my business strategy skills. For me, IE was the right choice because the institution is very forward looking.

The world had just undergone the quickest technical adoption I’ve seen in my lifetime as a result of COVID. Businesses are thus demanding technology savvy, entrepreneurial thinkers now more than ever before. This is IE’s specialty. At this school, I’m building an exam automation start-up called Examind and in two weeks I start a business challenge helping SMEs implement technology accelerators with Microsoft. Without the support and guidance of the professors and administrators at IE, I would never have dreamed of these accomplishments and opportunities.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school?

COVID has affected almost every event or tradition this year. However, one thing that it did not change was the value of diversity at IE. IE ensures that every MBA class hails from all over the globe (our class has 70 different nationalities). While this prompts truly interesting class discussions, it also challenges us to question norms. Sometimes it’s simple things: yesterday, I learned that Italians break a candle from their birthday cake to make a wish instead of doing it when they blow out the candles. And sometimes it’s big, such as how working with multicultural teams presents both challenges and opportunities. Learning to do this well is a skill that I will take with me and I sincerely believe will set me up for success in a world that becomes more diverse by the day. The fact that IE not only understands the value of diverse teams but also has implemented recruiting practices that make it a reality is a testament to their belief in the power of diversity.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would have focused less on the job hunt in my first semester. The one-year MBA is short, so there is pressure throughout to consider what’s next. While there is a definite benefit in being clear on your next steps and strategy to get there, I struggled with the transition from a career in Canada to academia in Spain. I think I could have been a little easier on myself in those first months and allowed myself more space to make the transition.

What is the biggest myth about your school? You’ll learn a ton of Spanish while you’re here. While it is possible to learn Spanish (and IE provides us ample opportunity), the reality is that you spend most of your time immersed in English. In addition, the demands of a one-year MBA mean that it’s difficult to find time to practice. As such, I’ve found my language skills progressing more slowly than I’d like.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I focused my time on what I was world-class at. I had to make a choice mid-application: spend more time devoted to studying and re-writing the GMAT to score in the upper ranks of the quant section or focus on my strengths (strong interpersonal skills that allow me to interview well and strong writing skills to write great entrance essays). I decided to do the latter and it paid off: I got into every school I applied to, with generous scholarships.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Luis Fernando Marcos Yepes. Luis is a part of my workgroup (an assigned group with which we do all our group projects for core academic classes). The people in your workgroup are always a bit of a gamble. Will we have similar goals? How do our workstyles differ? Coming together as a team is an art and it can be incredibly difficult. Specifically, at the end of a semester, when a mountain of projects are due, the stress increases and groups tend to struggle, our group included. However, Luis never backed away from hard work or difficult conversations. Not only was he a high performer — excelling at and taking the lead in finance projects as a result of his background as an auditor at EY — he also never shied away from the difficult times. His consistency and dependability was something I really counted on in the midst of some stressful days in the MBA. On top of that, he has been very conscious about growing his team leadership skills. He had natural people skills that he has refined in just a few months into persuasion and motivation abilities. He is constantly seeking out advice and feedback to improve as a leader and I truly admire his growth mindset.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? Very smooth. A key reason I chose IE Business School was because of the thought they had put into the post-COVID class experience. IE is the only top business school (to my knowledge) that maintained an in-class experience throughout the entirety of my degree (September 2020 start). This came with some restrictions (mask wearing, class size reductions, COVID tests) but the limitations were far outweighed by the benefit of an in-class experience. My classmates and I frequently discuss how fortunate we are to have benefitted from IE’s planning and dedication to preserving our in-class experience.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I didn’t pursue business in college (my undergrad), but pursuing my MBA has been a dream of mine since 25. However the push to do it, at 30, came from my mother. She came from a blue collar family in Ontario and was the only one of her four siblings who graduated from university. She pursued her Master’s degree as a single mother when I was young and now she is a successful business owner. She always instilled in me the power of hard work and perseverance. She also taught me that unlike material things, education is something that always stays with you. She showed me the value of investing in yourself.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. I want to be in a position to significantly impact the availability of senior leadership roles for women.
  2. I want to own my own business.

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

“My subject is sometimes completely new for the students. In addition, it is very quantitative and full of very specific terms typical of the financial world. So, it is very easy that, at some point in class, communication is “lost”. The truth is that the lack of interaction with the students, causes a certain feeling of helplessness in myself as a teacher. Precisely when I was having the worst time, Christina began her interventions in class, summarizing difficult topics out loud, giving them her own interpretation, obviously much more within the reach of the rest of the classmates. Through her words, concepts were clarified for the rest. And so, it was throughout the course. I found in Christina a total, unique support that made me feel more comfortable when teaching. That’s because I knew that in a natural way, her intervention would allow us to adequately complete the topic, “round it up”. After more than thirty years teaching, on very few occasions I have had such special students and Christina has undoubtedly been one of them.

In the evaluation process of my subject, it is necessary to present an individual work on a topic associated. I suggest some and the students are free to choose another as long as it has to do with the subject. Christina surprised me again by choosing a current issue, related to the behavior of the GameStop stock. She brilliantly described the functioning of “securities lending” and the establishment of short positions in the market, posing unavoidable questions about the concept of market efficiency and the possible gaps in regulation in a world where the importance of social networks is increasing. I think it has been one of the best-written articles I have read on a current topic. When I finished reading it, I felt that I had something very special on my hands. For this reason, and with the approval of the IMBA management, her article was published on a blog of the Institute. The person in charge defined it as a Top Tier item.

In conclusion, Christina has been an exemplary contributor to the course, she has shown passion towards a subject that was completely new to her and not only has she obtained the highest possible grade with an incredible final work but has left an indelible mark on an old professor who is no longer used to seeing so much talent and humanity.”

Rodrigo Manero
IE Business School Professor


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