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Gustavo Maroto Pascual

Alumni Story

Gustavo is a motivated professional with experience in Strategic Consulting, Project Management, Data Analytics, and Growth Hacking.

In the strategy field of the corporate arena, Gustavo is tremendously interested and directing his career towards the Growth and Customer Engagement functions. In this vertical, he has helped companies expand their national and international presences and grow their client bases and bottom-line performances by designing strategies to both retain existing customers (loyalty programs, Prime subscription models) and/or acquire new ones (neuromarketing, customer insights & market trends analytics).

Gustavo is genuinely passionate about the intersection between the technological and business spheres, the evolution of the international relations amongst national and supranational organisms, and the transformation of the Communications, Media & Entertainment, Technology industry. Ideally, he would love to dedicate his long-term career to the mediatech industry (represented by companies like Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple Music, etc.)

In the personal sphere, Gustavo’s three main hobbies are sports (mainly skiing, wakeboarding, and boxing), music (he plays the cello and the piano, loves to freestyle with his buddies and organizes amateur jam sessions) and travelling (mostly to Southeast Asia, region that he is in love with both landscape and culture wise).
Nationality

Spanish

Current Location

Madrid, Spain

SPECIALITY

Strategy Analyst

Program studied

BBA & IR 2020

Q&A WITH GUSTAVO

Define your experience in the program in one word.
Multipurpose 

Why did you choose this program to study at IEU?
I chose the BBA + BIR Dual Degree for several reasons:

In the case of BBA, I chose such a career because I have always considered it a very versatile field of knowledge that can be found everywhere; it moves the world, it makes ideas possible. I was also influenced by my father and grandfather, both businessmen.

In the case of BIR, it has been a discipline that I have been passionate about since I was young. I have always found the world of politics and the evolutive trends in the international arena highly interesting, and I wanted to deepen my knowledge of the diversity of cultures, ideas and origins, something that I consider the key driver of global innovation. A fun fact in this aspect is that when I was young, I wanted to grow up to become a conflict mediator between nations and ethnic groups.

Finally, I chose the Dual Degree as I believe these two careers complement each other in an extremely powerful manner. I believe today every businessperson needs to have a wide knowledge of the international arena as we live in an increasingly globalized world where multinational audiences and popularity are key steppingstones for every company to succeed. For example, I consider it greatly important to have a proper insight on the socioeconomic and political context of a global region before internationalizing your company to that specific region. Many other cases can arise. Finally, in turn an international relations agent needs to have some basic business knowledge as economics and politics are very closely interlinked.

Could you tell us about the application process and how you got your current role?
The consulting interview process (especially strategic consulting) is very long. If you get through the initial CV screening, it will most of the times include facing first a business acumen exam, to then move on to about 6 to 8 interviews distributed in several rounds with increasingly senior employees (first managers / senior managers, then partners). In my opinion, there are three things to do to succeed in such process:

  • Research: Read articles, watch videos, ask people in the industry and/or your target company, read the companies’ official webpages, Vault, etc. It is imperative to have a good insight base of the industry and the different competitive advantages of the companies composing it.
  • Focus: There are a million resources out there. Don’t try to follow everyone’s advice. Take a couple of prestigious forums (Victor Cheng, PrepLounge, etc.), compare amongst them and choose the best fit for you. Avoid an informational overdose as it tends to be unproductive. There is no correct way to get into consulting, as there is no correct way to get in shape. Choose your way and work through it.
  • Practice: Once you have chosen the best methodology for you, practice a lot. A LOT. Excellence is achieved through repetition. Don’t forget the FIT part of the selection process, don’t spend all your time practicing BCs. Use the STAR-L and top-down methods whenever you can.

How did your experience at IE prepare you for your professional career? In what ways do you think program has changed your life professionally and personally?
I believe IE as an institution and the Dual Degree I completed are both extremely powerful steppingstones to professional success. As the leading university in Madrid, IE is reinventing the way in which knowledge and technical skills are passed on to its students, engaging in an approach never seen before in Spain. IE has prepared me to tackle every professional challenge always looking for a balance between a theoretical and hands-on methodology, it has broadened my international scope and my perception of diversity, and it has provided me with a family of fellow students that I can always count on when in need of professional or personal help.

What was the competitive advantage that studying at IEU provided you?
I believe IEU has provided me with a lot of competitive advantages that have led to my posterior success in the professional world. In my opinion, the three most notable ones:

  • Innovation & thinking outside the box: The education at IEU is very practical, mainly based on essays, projects, business acumen and creativity (contrary to the traditional Spanish system, which fosters memory and following predetermined guidelines). It focuses on providing students with hands-on skills and prepares them to challenge traditional thinking doctrines, instead of evaluating them on their ability to memorize like robots. At the end of the day, the professional and the real world overall are mostly practical and pragmatic, so IEU really directs you to success in this aspect.
  • Diversity: In every job or project we work, we are in teams, not alone. We depend on others and others depend on us. It is important to understand that each profile is completely different, each member of a team brings to the table a different strength and the beauty of it is when all of these complement each other to make a great final product. IEU really focuses on the diversity of cultures, ideas and origins as a key success factor and definitely transmits it properly to its students.
  • Family-like, international community: One of the most powerful aspects of IE is the concept of a big academic and professional family that can be sensed throughout the community. It is international and getting bigger and bigger, but it definitely feels like a family. You can always count on other students or alumni to network with when you have doubts, when you want to launch a new project, when you have moved to a new city and need help meeting people, and of course when you are looking for jobs. It is nice to have the IE stamp on your professional persona.

What skills would you recommend job seekers develop in order to make them more competitive?
I believe there are a lot of skills that are directly correlated to a successful professional career, however for the sake of simplicity I have divided them in two sets:

  • Hard skills:
    • Analytical: We all know that the importance of data and analytics is growing exponentially in every industry, both in the pure business world and in all its derivates. In my opinion there is no need to be a true data geek unless you actually want to pursue a career in software / data engineering. However, there is an increasing need of having a high-level knowledge of the most popular data / programming / tech products and their fast-changing evolution, their corporate applications (mostly to be able to determine which products are the most appropriate for each situation), and, when possible, an initiate technical knowledge in some of these products.
    • Commercial: When you go up in your career, your job will be more to sell and less to analyse. I don’t mean to say that you must become a pro cold seller like Jordan Belfort, but you must know how to sell ideas to your boss, sell your company’s product or service, sell motivation to your team … all in all you have to convince people to go your way or else. You can have a great idea, but if you don’t commercialize it properly, it won’t be successful.
  • Soft skills:
    • Resilience: Things that appear impossible at first can become easy with repetition. The starting process in everything in the professional world and more importantly in life in general is always the most challenging one. Through repetition you automate processes until you get what in Spanish we call ‘rodaje’, this concept of ‘rolling’ (figuratively) that can be applied to any situation both in and out of work: going to the gym, learning a new language, even adapting to a new city.
    • Positivity: It is important to always stay positive, which does not mean the same as being always optimistic. In life we win, or we learn. Failure is part of it and even though it tends to come with consequences (and we have to be realistic about them) learning and improving ALWAYS contain failures. If we only succeeded again and again, we would not change the way we do certain things and we would consequently not evolve as much. Why would someone change something that is already working successfully?

What was your favorite memory from your time at IE?
It is a complicated question, as I have plenty. In the summer after my high school graduation (2015), I created a WhatsApp group with several people that I knew were going to attend IE that September. We met each other virtually and started connecting but had never met in person. I remember the welcoming fair, the first day at IE when we were all onboarded. It was a typical sunny September day in Madrid, and I recall it being very interesting experiencing the transition from knowing these people virtually to meeting them in person at the Maria de Molina 31 Bis Garden. I was very excited to start this new adventure and grateful to do so surrounded by such quality people.

If someone was considering going to IE, what would you tell them?
It is a great, growing institution that is attempting and achieving to do things right. In my opinion the Spanish system is still very inefficient in its teaching methods: it focuses on memorizing and a theoretical approach when most things in life including the professional arena are dominantly practical spheres. At IE, you experience not the Spanish, British or American approach, you rather experience the international approach to education: an open-minded, pioneering, and innovative way of learning in a greatly diverse context.

What is one thing you wished you knew, when you were a student? What advice would you give to students who are about to begin the program?
There are a lot of things that I wish I knew, but the main advice I would give to incoming students is to have a proactive attitude, not only in class but in general. It is good to have fun during university but always keeping a balance and knowing that your academic performance will directly determine your professional career. This is not high school anymore, if you don’t make a meaningful effort no one will come to chase or rescue you. It is key to engage with your surrounding community; there is no use in participating a lot in class if outside of it you don’t actively network with students from different degrees, grades and even universities. Uni years are a time to meet people, share stories and interests, learn, and teach others. Be complete and excel not only academically, but also socially, ethically, and humanly.

Tell us about the IE alumni community and the impact they have had in your life and/or career. Why do you think it’s important to engage with the IE alumni community?
The IE alumni community has had a tremendous impact in both my personal and professional lives. These are:

  • Personally: I have retained many friends that I still see every now and then and organize plans and trips with, even the ones that have moved to different cities or different countries. It is nice to know that wherever you go, you will have an IE alumnus to help you settle, introduce you to new people, maybe even be your future wife / husband …
  • Professionally: I believe the IEU alumni community is like a family, and you can always count on other alumni to network with when looking for jobs. It is nice to have the IE stamp on your professional persona, it works like a kind of talent filter. If an IE student / alumnus asks me for a referral, I already know they have the skillset and the mentality to be successful professionals, so I will say YES.

What has been your favourite moment of your career so far?
The day I was informed that I had secured my first full-time job. The feeling of starting a new adventure is always very exciting. The challenge is to maintain this motivation throughout the way, through the ups and downs.

Are there any daily habits that you attribute to your success that you’d like to share, especially now with COVID-19?
Again, I would say there are many, but I will stick to what I consider the most important one: Routine.

It can sound boring. It can sound old. But routine is in fact the main competitive advantage of most successful people. We become great at something through repetition, through spending hours and hours on it. A good routine will automatically make you a fresher, more proactive, better-prepared professional. Some things I include in mine are:

  • Waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day (+-30 minutes margin of error, weekends are flexible).
  • Writing a To-Do list (and trying to complete it) for the day, every day.
  • Meditating first thing in the morning (Breethe app is very good, otherwise Youtube has millions of guided meditations).
  • Positive affirmations (5-10 mins a day is enough)
  • Exercising at least 3 times a week: Now I am into CrossFit, but changing every now and then is good to avoid monotony. Boxing, running, swimming … anything to burn the daily tensions works.

When we think about it, we spend way more than 30 minutes a day in our phones just scrolling over Instagram or literally ‘disconnecting’. So basically, just doing nothing really. There are many other healthier ways to disconnect and (even though it does sound like a cliché) good habits like meditation, To-do lists, or affirmations (literally 30 minutes a day in total) will change your life long-term (if you are constant, not in one day).

What’s the best career advice you have ever been given?
When I was in the final rounds of the McKinsey selection process, I got assigned an interview buddy, an IE alumnus. This guy had been in McKinsey for some months, and he guided me throughout the firm’s selection process.

When I met him for lunch the first time, he told me: ‘McKinsey is a great company, like many others. Don’t think you are wasting your time if you don’t get selected, you are learning by doing interviews and you will recycle every rejection for the next process’. And he was right, as I leveraged my business case tenure to finally land an offer at Accenture Strategy.

There are a million ways to gain experience and create a professional storyline. Not everyone can like everything (in fact, most of us will disregard several business functions and industries throughout our career). But to know what one likes it is important to try, pivot and adapt. Instead of aiming for just one or a few prestigious companies, be flexible and know that a lot of paths will get you to Rome, and sometimes surprisingly the most unexpected ones get you there faster. There are many great firms where you will learn a lot, not only the top tier ones.

If you had a billboard you could display to the entire world, what would you put on it?
Open Minds Open Doors!

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