2022 Best & Brightest Online MBA: Shir Zalzberg-Gino, IE Business School

Shir Zalzberg-Gino

IE Business School, Global Online MBA Program

“Israeli user experience manager living in the Netherlands, community builder, and Forbes 30 under 30.”

Age: 32

Hometown: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Fun fact about yourself: I have a collection of more than 400 Pez dispensers.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bachelor of design, HIT, Holon Institute of Technology, Israel

Where are you currently working? Salesforce, UX Senior Manager

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Aside from my day-to-day activities at work, I also founded a professional community of UX designers in Israel. Today, it is the biggest UX community in Israel, with more than 17,000 members. The community hosts several initiatives including a free mentorship program, monthly meetups, salary surveys, and more. My work in the community has led me to be recognized as a Forbes Israel 30 under 30.

Why did you choose IE Business School’s online MBA program? I was planning on relocating from Israel to Europe when I was looking to start my MBA journey. I didn’t know where I would relocate to, so I was searched for the best schools in Europe with an online program, and IE was at the top of the list.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? As a user experience designer, much of the curriculum was entirely new to me. I loved the range of information I obtained in such a short period. From early on, it had an impact on how I review and understand decisions in my workplace on a grander scale.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? It was how close people can become even in an online program. During our last face-to-face week, it was heartwarming to see how well people knew each other and were excited to spend time together.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? The two could not be further apart. In design school, you spend most of your time giving feedback to your peers, or working on your next project. There are almost no exams or reading material. IE’s MBA program is mainly based on case studies and discussions. Adjusting to the expectations took me a while, and so did managing my time accordingly.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? My program took place during Covid, so I missed some of the face-to-face weeks. The program was still fantastic, but those weeks were missed.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? My goal was to get a better point of view of the business needs and rationale in light of prioritizing user experience. The program helped me achieve just that. From understanding the financial decisions companies face when allocating budgets, creating marketing plans, and setting strategic paths. It gave me a better sense of how user experience can play a role in different parts of the company, and how better collaboration between UX and other departments could be made and maintained.

Did you earn promotion while in the program or immediately after graduation? Yes, I was promoted to senior manager of UX experience during the program. Previous to that, I was a senior designer (IC).

Did you earn a raise during the online MBA program? Yes, I work for a big company, so we have scheduled raises once a year for around 5%.

Number of Hours Per Week Spent On Online MBA: Around 10-12 hours a week, including classes.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? Become a CDO (Chief of Design) for a big tech company and help build design-led products that bridge UX, product, and engineering.





Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.