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Elena Maran

About me

Born and raised in Italy, Elena had always a strong drive and curiosity to learn about other cultures, and experience to the full extent what the world had to offer. Right after her bachelor’s degree, she decided to undertake a study experience, as a part of an exchange program, at UC Berkeley California, before completing her master studies in Finance in Milan. The next stop was London, where she started her career in banking. With over a decade of experience at prestigious international financial institutions, like Citibank and China Construction Bank, Elena could see from firsthand experience all the challenges involved in building financial digital products - from credit risk management and KYC to customer experience and engagement.

Her curiosity and eagerness to stay current and to ride the wave of change once again drove her to undertake further studies, and she found in the Executive Master in Digital Transformation and Innovation Leadership at IE the perfect venue to set the basis for a career move. Thanks to the rich experience and mindset acquired through the master she can now dedicate herself to her biggest passion: helping companies to become more data-driven and customer centric, or in other words to start their journey with Artificial Intelligence (AI), by effectively building and deploying state-of-the-art Machine Learning solutions. Her primary focus is on how AI solutions unlock efficiencies and boost business value in the financial sector, while being compliant and not compromising on data fundamentals.
Nationality

Italian

SPECIALITY

Sales Executive at Modulos AG

Program studied

EDTX, 2020

Q&A WITH ELENA

Define your experience in (the program) in one word.

Enlightening.

In what ways do you think program has changed your life professionally and personally?

The program allowed me to acquire a mindset of adaptability and speed of response to changing market conditions and to be able to understand the value of technology as an enabler for the creation of new business models funded on the principles of customer centricity and data-driven culture.

By putting together this analytical and practical way to look at technology with my deep knowledge of the financial sector, the master allowed me to become a crucial asset for technology software companies which are looking into expanding their market reach into the financial sector, with a strategic and value-driven proposition. I could land  a Senior job in Sales in a company dealing with Artificial Intelligence and fulfill my intellectual curiosity towards innovation whilst capitalizing on my consolidated financial skillset.

What has been your favorite memory of your experience?

My favorite memory has been the graduation ceremony, where I had the honor to deliver, in quality of class representative, the final speech to my class. It was moment filled with emotions, when in the space of a few minutes, I could see in my mind, just like playing the fast forward in a movie, all the sequences of a year full of new knowledge, new life-long friendships and professional collaborations, new discoveries. Looking at all my classmates, professors, and my beloved workgroup that accompanied me in the highs and the lows, I felt grateful and sad at the same time, realizing that a very important chapter of my life had come to an end. But I was also aware that this was the beginning of something new, where I had so many doors in front of me ready to be opened.

Why did you choose to study this program at IE?

I did a thorough research amongst the programs at different universities that could allow me to give a new spin to my career, and which had a good balance between business and technical content. I wanted to learn from the practical experience of professionals that drove firsthand digital transformation programs, because this is something that you will not learn from a book, or from an online course. EDTX was indeed the program matching the most closely my expectations and I felt it would have provided me with a strategic mindset which does not age with time. The master has offered me a toolkit to systematically analyze a new business challenge and innovate, regardless of the specific set of technologies that is chosen to do so. As such, as the word changes and evolves and new technologies emerge, I will still be able to assess the business value of adopting new commercial models and embracing innovation.

What were some of the main challenges that you encountered on your way? How did your master program and ie help you through these challenges?

My biggest challenge was coming from the realization that while customers behaviors and preferences were changing at sustained speed, and many sectors were changing their business models to anticipate such changes, the industry of financial services I was working in was lagging behind under many aspects. I was feeling left behind too, and I really wanted to feel empowered to bring about change in this sector, with the authority and the knowledge required to make a real impact. The master gave me the confidence to present myself as a domain expert with the required skillset to innovate and set organizations for success in a fast-moving world.

What is networking like in (the program)?

The program offers remarkable opportunities for networking. First, the experience of a very diverse group of students, coming from different sectors, geographies and cultures is extremely rich and you learn a lot by working with your classmates and learning how to complement your skills with theirs. The professors are also extremely approachable and open to discuss and to share their experience and practical cases they faced during their careers.

What is the part time format like?

The part time format offers the perfect opportunity for professionals with several years of work experience to continue learning and sharpening their skillsets to be ready to face the future. There are plenty of opportunities to interact with classmates, and even if the bulk of the interaction is virtual, this does not impede the creation of strong bonds, based on trust and friendships. The face-to-face periods help consolidating even further these relationships and share experiences with your classmates.