"The school's reputation, the type of student it attracts, and the fact that those people would be my cohort, and the overall design of the program were what made me choose IE Business School."

Cynthia, United States

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Cynthia Abad

About me

Cynthia has spent over 20 years working to build brands in top advertising agencies with multinational clients. She is experienced in leading teams in developing creative communications strategies, as well as consumer understanding and market research. Her work has been recognized by the Effie Awards. Clients she has worked with include: Merz Aesthetics, Edgewell Personal Care, Ulta Beauty, Chevrolet, Cadillac, S&P Capital IQ, Marriott, and the U.S. Navy.

Cynthia Abad, United States


Senior Vice President, Brand Strategy Director at MullenLowe U.S.

Program studied

Executive MBA

Define your experience in the Executive MBA using one word.


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

First and foremost, the IE Business School Executive MBA has given me confidence. I learned what I’m capable of—which is more than I thought. I developed both personal and business-related skills that were useful to me even while I was still in the program. The combination of different subjects and the expertise of the professors as well as my classmates was truly enriching. One of the best surprises of the program was that I met so many amazing people who have become great friends.

What advice would you give to students who are about to begin the program?

The experiences, the learning, and the people are all more valuable than the financial investment made. You will get as much out of the program as what you put in—and it’s fully worth the extra effort and long nights.

How did you achieve a work-life-study balance during the Executive MBA?

This was not so easy at first. It took some time to learn how to balance everything. I had to first understand how the program worked, how to schedule time with my team (located across many time zones), how to make time for my family (I have three young children at home) and my demanding job, and still have time to eat and sleep! After the first block of classes, I was able to get into a rhythm. I looked forward to the breaks and savored them. I also reminded myself that when the program was over, I would miss the constant flow of fresh ideas and insights—and I would miss my classmates most of all. This all helped me make it to the finish line!

What is your favorite memory of the Executive MBA so far?

I am fortunate to say that I have a lot of wonderful memories of the Executive MBA. One that comes to mind was a trip to Shanghai, China for global networking. I thoroughly enjoyed the cultural experience, the people I met and the memories we made. It was unforgettable!

What are the residential weeks like? What are the online periods like?

Residential weeks fly by, yet so much happens. These weeks are full of mostly study with lots of fun and networking mixed in. I really enjoyed being present on campus, and felt more of a part of the university. It also provided a chance to see how big the university is and how much it has to offer. During the online periods, I was very surprised to see how connected I still felt with my classmates and my team. During our meetings, we really got to know each other, and hearing my classmates’ reactions to the materials being presented made the classes much more interesting. Both formats are valuable and provide a lot of skills that can be immediately applied to the workplace.

What is networking like in the Executive MBA?

Fun! Networking with people across so many different countries, cultures, job functions and companies is wonderful. It’s a great experience—and suddenly you have contacts all over the world. I strongly suggest taking every single opportunity you have to spend time with your classmates, or to attend any networking event that is offered to you. These connections really are an important part of your experience at IE University.

Why did you choose to study the Executive MBA at IE Business School?

The school’s reputation, the type of student it attracts, and the fact that those people would be my cohort, and the overall design of the program were what made me choose IE Business School. I would make the same decision again, and I highly recommend the school to anyone who values diversity, entrepreneurship, up-to-date business expertise, and the ability to learn what you are truly capable of.