How LSE’s Executive Global Masters in Management Helped an Enterprising Executive | TopMBA.com

How LSE’s Executive Global Masters in Management Helped an Enterprising Executive

By Ann Graham

Updated October 28, 2014 Updated October 28, 2014

Carolina Ibarra Castañeda’s business school experience was a catalyst for personal change. Before embracing on LSE’s Executive Global Masters in Management, Castañeda was a business consultant. She used the skills she acquired in the master’s degree to enter the entrepreneurial space, starting a company called Book by Book.

“Thanks to the personal experience of the LSE modules abroad, I decided I was ready to take a different career path,” the Colombian says. “After finishing the program, I quit my job and started two new jobs. That international experience was exactly what I needed to take the big step of quitting my comfort zone and taking the risk of doing what I’m passionate about – relying on my knowledge and abilities.”

Empowering entrepreneurs

Carolina is a true example of a successful corporate professional transferring her master’s degree skills to socially responsible entrepreneurship. At consultancy Araujo Ibarra, Carolina provided comprehensive solutions to clients considering investing in Colombia, relating to trading, market studies, duties and customs, trade mechanisms, environmental strategies and taking advantage of free trade agreements.

In 2009, she co-founded Book by Book, an education project that provides tools of empowerment and entrepreneurship for students, to help them identify and address a need in their community. To date, Book by Book has delivered 34,000 used books in more than 20 urban and rural areas of Colombia.

Beyond Book by Book

Post masters in management study, Carolina is now director of the Center of Leadership and Entrepreneurship (CLE) of CESA Management University. “CLE is becoming a Latin American platform for social innovation, leadership and entrepreneurship,” explains Carolina. “We provide 18 programs related to this subject with the aim of creating knowledge and improving our students’ abilities; helping entrepreneurs to create and develop their own ventures; and promoting a volunteering culture to our students.”

She is also a cofounder of and a consultant at Antasa. “We are consultants in sustainable business, providing a strategic and holistic assessment to companies and rural communities, by co-creating with them ventures in order to transform local communities and generate sustainable income,” Carolina says.

The value of a masters degree

Evidently an entrepreneur at heart, Carolina says her LSE Executive Global Masters in Management has opened many doors beyond Book by Book. “This degree is especially important for my CV as is being a part of LSE’s alumni group in Colombia,” she says. “Having experienced the master’s degree has made me a person with a wider academic background that is very relevant to the place I work for.”

So what was it that made her opt for LSE, as opposed to a school closer to home? “I researched the top 10 universities in the United States for management, law and entrepreneurship but I couldn’t find any program that enabled the students to live and work in another country,” she says. “In addition to being a program from a world-renowned university, the program’s curriculum and flexibility were really attractive; no other top university provided this type of executive program.”

LSE = New opportunities

Carolina believes a master’s degree can really give you an edge “If you don’t have much experience you can learn everything from the master’s, from both the lecturers and your classmates. If you have more experience, the knowledge gained from the master’s allows you to think about new ideas for your business and life.

“I did a master’s with little experience (environmental management) and then a master’s with more experience (LSE Global Masters in Management) and both where really valuable for me.”

Not only that, but Carolina says getting her Masters in Management at LSE was one of the best professional and personal experiences she has ever had. “Thanks to my experience, the exposure to different people and countries, and the classmates I met in my modules, I decided to start a new professional life.”

This article was originally published in October 2014 .

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Ann Graham - TopMBA.com blogger and author

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