"I believe IE Business School provides the best all-round experience for people wanting to get a program from a top-tier school."
His previous roles include Chief Revenue Officer at leading telematics company Location World and Sales Director at Oleana, the largest exporter of palm oil in Latin America. He holds a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) in Business Administration, Finance & Entrepreneurial Management from Texas Christian University and our International MBA from IE Business School.
Alejandro Figari, Ecuador
Managing Director, PedidosYa
- Program studied
You’ve just become Managing Director at PedidosYa, a food delivery app that is taking the Latin American market by storm. What’s the biggest challenge the position has in store for you? What are you most excited about?
Becoming Managing Director at PedidosYa has been an important milestone in my career. It is one of the most successful and largest technology companies in Latin America (LATAM), with a presence in 15 countries in the region. The biggest challenge that I face in this new role is to become the leading delivery player in the country. In order to achieve this goal, we need to grow aggressively in several business lines like food delivery, quick-commerce and courier services. Ecuador has one of the lowest adoption rates of delivery services in LATAM, and we need to ensure our services are seen as mainstream and not only tailored for a specific segment of society.
When did you know that you were interested in marketing and product development? Was there a moment, event, or individual that inspired you?
My passion for marketing and product development fostered during my tenure at BusinessWise. I’d just moved from an established and large financial institution with a fixed and well-defined role to the startup world, and I needed to gain a wider scope on more business-related activities. Here is where I discovered what really moved me: the ability to understand customer needs, develop solutions for them and be able to communicate them in a clear, concise and emotive way.
In your experience, what are the biggest challenges of expanding a product into new markets?
The biggest challenge when you want to provide services or export products into new markets is credibility. It is even harder to achieve when you are currently present in smaller, less mature markets than the ones you want to address. The recipe that’s worked for me to gain credibility has been to become an outstanding player in your current markets, develop well-crafted success stories with actual customers and have an unwavering commitment to fulfill your promises.
How do you think technological innovation will impact the future of your industry?
Speed and efficiency are the name of the game in the ecosystem—technology is accelerating both dramatically. We will see the introduction of more robotics at distribution facilities and more advanced AI to help restaurants, stores and drivers conduct their jobs in a speedy and effective manner.
What are the most important qualities a successful business leader must have?
I’ve led teams in different industries following these core principles:
- Motivation: a good leader needs to understand that he needs others to achieve goals. The only way to get this done is with a highly engaged and determined team.
- Trust: for me, this is non-negotiable. If you want to have a positive relationship with your team and peers, they need to know they can count on you and that they can count on each other. During my career, I’ve been forced to make difficult decisions to ensure trust is not damaged.
- Speed: beats perfection all day, every day.
The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Teamwork is fundamental to the success of organizations.
In addition to your own business activities, you’re also a mentor. What is one of the key pieces of advice you give to aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders?
Being a mentor is one of my favorite activities. I always tell founders and team members of startups to be bold in all their business decisions. Additionally, great execution beats great ideas all the time. Therefore, they need to be sure they have the right team to get things done.
How did your experience in the International MBA help you to sharpen your entrepreneurial skill set?
IE Business School provided an excellent framework for entrepreneurship. The combination of great classes and hard skills provided by courses, as well as the networking opportunities with people from different backgrounds in terms of nationality, work experience and age, are fundamental to spark two basic elements of entrepreneurship: curiosity and agility.
What was the most memorable aspect of the program for you?
The most memorable aspect of the program was the ability to create close relationships with people around the world. I still connect on a daily basis with peers from the MBA, and I value it a lot.
What inspired you to choose IE Business School and the International MBA for your executive education?
I chose IE Business School because I believe it provides the best all-round experience for people wanting to get a program from a top-tier school: academics, networking opportunities with peers and alumni, a great city and worldwide recognition.
Do you have any advice for someone who is considering joining the International MBA?
IE Business School has been pivotal for my career, and I’m sure it can help everyone in the same way. You need to take advantage of every element of the MBA because time flies and, sooner than you realize, you will be graduating.