Post Author and current IMBA Student Jennifer Chan

I think it is inevitable when you begin an MBA programme to encounter speculation on which term is the most challenging. “I heard the first term is killer!” or “Term 2 is supposed to be crazy!” Whichever may be the case (only time will tell) we, of the IMBA November 2013 intake, have officially survived Term 1!

To round out the first term we finally had the opportunity to exercise all the skills and knowledge acquired in Term 1 during Challenge Week. This year’s challenge partnered us with BBVA, the second largest bank in Spain. The challenge: To apply Design Thinking in order to help BBVA be a better citizen in their interaction with retail customers in Spain. No small feat! But we felt up for the challenge.

12902703253_10ae9bf14dThe week started out with opening presentations by BBVA at the landmark Cines Callao, a stone’s throw from Puerta del Sol. Armed with our mission, we headed out to do our fieldwork the next day. We were unleashed onto the streets of Madrid to speak with Madrileñ@s in order to discover what their views were of the banking sector and how they thought they could be better served. Some of us were more proficient in Spanish than others but regardless, we all arrived the next day with a deep and profound understanding of what the public felt could be improved in their daily banking experiences. From there, an innovative and dynamic Design Thinking workshop run by some of the brightest of IE’s faculty lead us through the converging and diverging discovery process of Design Thinking, guiding us to our final solution and proposal. The workshop also took us out of the now familiar surroundings and meeting rooms of MM31 and into the unique and creative architectural space at La Sede in the heart of Chueca. By the end of the day, all teams with their creative solutions in mind, set forth to create our proposals, film our teaser videos. For our team, our proposal required us to design our prototype for a Fast Pass mobile application that would enable BBVA clients to receive their queue number on the way to the bank and allow the bank to anticipate and manage their queues and customer demand. The idea proved to be a big hit with the team of IE and BBVA judges! On the final day of Challenge Week, almost 400 students converged on The Impact Hub to set up our booths and prepare our final pitches to the judges. It was a frenzy of activity with over 50 teams competing for the top prize. Our team was exceptional with a nod from the judges as one of the top 8 finalists! Go team! Now, with another tool under our belts, we are ready to start Term 2, which we heard is going to be crazy! “The most challenging term…” Time will tell…