Check out our students’ experience!


By Alexander Afanasyev, current IMBA student

No! Come on, it’s not fair! You treat us like if we were kids who got into a candy shop, yet were not allowed to buy anything…” – was just one of the exclamations that we heard today. Indeed, Wednesday was completely packed. We did not get to spare even a single moment for personal wants and wishes. The business agenda was the silent driver of the day. But oh boy, what a day it was! The emotional roller coaster of IE MBA that we were promised by Erik Schlie on the day of initiation has written an entire chapter in our hearts. Starting with an absolutely brilliant four hours lecture on Economics of Japan, China and India, the explorers of IE took on another adventure “Doing business in Southeast Asia”. Little did we know that the company visit would turn into a full scale business quest on Sentosa, the island resort visited by approximately twenty million people annually. Imagine the land of dreams that you dreamt of when you were a little kid. Well, we had 26 kids today, laughing and larking about like crazy. Universal Studios Singapore, S.E.A. Aquarium, Adventure Cove Waterpark, Dolphin Island – the places to be. Two hours of field studies were gone in the blink of an eye. We came back to the hotel utterly exhausted, but ultimately happy: IE IMBA has once again given us something we could not dream about. Business is a relentless machine that can drain you out, but be alert, find that little kid inside yourself and you will never be bored!

Thank you IE for reminding us of the eternal values!




By Catalina Torres, current IMBA student

With economies like China growing rapidly, Asia is emerging as one of the key drivers of global economic growth. The “Doing Business in Southeast Asia” course provided us a great overview of the many opportunities and challenges that foreign companies face when entering these high growth Asian economies. This intensive course not only taught us about various aspects of the external environment such as economic, political, and legal factors, but also emphasised the social and cultural aspects, such as leadership, management and personal relationships factors that affect the business landscape. Our studies in Singapore helped to reinforced many of the concepts we have learned at IE and taught us how they may (or may not) apply when doing business in Asia.
From my perspective, the most disruptive part of this course was the company visit to E27 and TNT Ventures. These two companies have very different business models but they both aim at helping start-ups succeed. After their business model presentation, I realized that Asia´s way of doing business is significantly evolving to try to match the western way of doing business. This was particularly the case for E27 that is now trying to expand its business into a web-based crowdfund for tech-start-ups in Southeast Asia. It’s well known that many Asian cultures place a special priority on relationships, thus they spend time cultivating deep business connections and building trust before closing a business. In that context, it seems unlikely that such an impersonal funding model like crowdfunding can succeed as a way to boost entrepreneurship.
In order for crowdfunding to take-off in a market, there needs to be enough demand and supply. On the demand side, there needs to be a thriving start up ecosystem; on the supply side, there should be favourable regulations to allow a larger pool of people to become start up investors. The truth is that Asia´s way of doing business is rapidly changing, there is high investors optimism and an inclusive framework soon to be in place. These company visits helped me to realize how growing economies in Southeast Asia understand the importance of entrepreneurship to drive growth and are now working on setting up a progressive regulatory framework for equity crowdfunding that will potentially turn them into the next “Silicon Valley”.


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