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Catalina Villegas

Alumni Story

Catalina, former President of the IEU Consulting Club, graduated from the BBA program in 2019. She has leveraged her IEU experience and is currently working as an Associate at Boston Consulting Group.
POSITION

Associate at Boston Consulting Group

Nationality

Colombian

Program studied

BBA 2019

Current Location

Madrid, Spain

Q&A WITH CATALINA

What three words would you use to describe an IEU alumni?
Entrepreneurial, Innovators, Driven.

Could you tell us about the application process and how you got your current role?
Consulting was not a well-known industry in Latin America. In fact, I first got exposed to it whilst at IE, where many of the professors, despite coming from a diverse set of backgrounds, have had some sort of consulting experience early in their careers. I first applied to BCG for a ‘Women in Consulting Event’ in 2017 and soon after I was invited to continue with the application process for a summer internship in 2018. IE was very supportive throughout the process: the Careers department provided me with resources and tools necessary to prepare for both the online case and the interviews.The application process lasted about 3 months and I managed to get an offer for the position ‘Visiting Associate’ in the Madrid office, which was my gateway for a full-time position after graduation.

How did your experience at IEU prepare you for your professional career?
There are three main components that I would like to highlight from my experience at IE. First and foremost, students coming from a varied set of backgrounds and nationalities creates a unique learning environment, fostering the development of an international background required to thrive in a global workspace. Second, the educational approach, which involves a lot of participative lessons, group work, and oral presentations key to develop teamwork and communication skills. Lastly, the availability of resources that allows each student to shape their own educational path – from exchange opportunities, workshops, labs, clubs, volunteering, amongst others.

What is the competitive advantage that studying at IEU provides or has provided you? 
The current business world is characterized by constants of change and innovation, and IE has thoroughly prepared us to adapt and evolve to an ever-changing environment. To illustrate this I’ll outline the typical IE persona: speaks on average 3 languages, when asked about their nationality they don’t know what to answer, arrives in Segovia and two years later goes on exchange somewhere far away from Spain, and then you come back to Madrid for the last year of university. Indeed, living a university experience in such a multicultural environment fosters reflection, debate, and constant exchange of ideas that allows IE students to see things from different angles and perspectives.

Do you have any advice for IEU students and alumni who are looking to pursue a career in consulting?
As I mentioned before, students at IE can tailor their university experience by leveraging the various resources and opportunities offered – I would encourage current students to be proactive and grasp every opportunity available. Specially for consulting, I would recommend joining the Consulting Club and 180 Degrees Consulting, both for meeting people with similar interests but different backgrounds, and to get an insight of what landing a job in consulting might look like (through pro-bono consulting cases) .

What skills do you consider are needed to succeed in consulting? 
I am currently in my second year at BCG and have already been exposed to a diverse set of projects, both regarding variety of industries and topics covered from due diligence in renewable energies to the implementation of a new HR tool at a global organization. Hence, from my experience, to succeed in consulting it is essential to adapt to a constant changing environment and to learn fast. From a more operational perspective, learning to prioritize analysis and apply the Pareto Principle whereby 80% of results come from 20% of your effort is key to maintain a good work-life balance.

Tell us about the IEU alumni community and the impact they have had in your life and / or career.
The people I met at IE became my home away from home, which made it easier to venture into unknown territories. I received everything required to thrive personally, academically and later professionally. I would have never been able to do it without the support and advice from my friends and teachers.

Why do you think it’s important to engage with the IEU alumni community? 
Through the alumni community you will have someone to go grab a coffee with anywhere in the world! IE is a strong bonding point for all of us, we all share few commonalities that can trigger interesting and inspiring conversations. Speaking from my personal experience, I have met with alumni from IE, without any prior planning, in Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Peru, Colombia, and Japan.

TO CONTACT CATALINA, CLICK HERE .