Juan Manuel Burrurtia - Humans of IE | IE Business School

José Manuel Barrutia

About me

I’m José Manuel Barrutia and I’m from Spain. I gained a bachelor’s degree in industrial electronics engineering at Mondragon University, Spain, and a master’s degree in engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EFPL), followed by a master’s degree in business innovation from the European Inter-University Association on Science, Society and Technology. I am now on the Global Executive Committee at Ayesa and also act as vice-chairman and member of the board of companies (Tecnalia) and business associations (Adegi).

shapeJosé Manuel Barrutia
case2Global Senior Chief Strategy Officer and IT Chief Services Technology Officer, Ayesa; Vice-Chair, Tecnalia and Governing Body member, Adegi
studentGlobal Executive MBA
Juan Manuel Burrurtia - Humans of IE | IE Business School

"Networking with the cohort is a key success factor of the Global Executive MBA, as we were working together during the program on a daily basis for 15 months."

José Manuel Barrutia

You worked in several impressive roles before joining the Global Executive MBA at IE Business School.  Could you tell us more about your academic background and professional experience?

My academic background is in engineering, where I have both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the same field. During my studies, I worked part-time for Ikerlan, the technology research center of Mondragon Corporation, and then part-time at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) on cutting-edge high-performance multimedia and computing EU projects.

After a short period of time at Orona, I joined Ibermática in 1996 as a consultant. Since the acquisition of Ibermática by Ayesa in 2022, I have been co-leading the integration process from an acquiree perspective and have taken on specific roles relating to end-to-end strategy as well as IT strategy. I also participate in the IMO (Integration Management Office). My current role combines end-to-end operational vision and strategy with business understanding. Additionally, I act as vice-chair and member of the board of companies (Tecnalia) and business associations (Adegi). 

How has your career journey helped you make a positive impact in the world?

Having an academic background in engineering and a professional career in IT, I feel that this new stage in my career is very relevant because I am working for a company with outstanding combined capabilities in IT (top 5 in Spain) and engineering (top 50 worldwide). Having expertise in both areas allows us to play a vital role in shaping a better world. We provide environmental stewardship to clients to ensure projects make a positive impact on our world. My ultimate goal is to help create a better, more sustainable, and accessible world by delivering innovative solutions in areas such as infrastructure, communications, health, water and energy. 

As a world-class leading research center, Tecnalia collaborates with companies and institutions in areas such as smart manufacturing, digital transformation, energy transition, sustainable mobility, personalized health and the circular economy. My goal for the future is to deliver sustainable (ESG) business outcomes through environmental, social and governance technologies which support individuals, communities and society.

Why did you feel you would benefit from the advanced business knowledge and practical experience offered by the Global Executive MBA?

I needed to expand my business knowledge with a comprehensive understanding of end-to-end business functions, in order to have a holistic view of a multinational company and enable me to make informed decisions across different stakeholders, legal entities, departments and geographies. Having a private equity firm as a majority shareholder in our board, this field was a priority for my professional growth, especially to gain hands-on practical experience in financial accounting, cost accounting, management control, capital structure, financial planning and analysis, risk management and financial reporting.

More specifically, I was looking for a program with a global perspective and international outlook on business, at an institution with credibility and prestige. I soon realized that IE Business School was among the few institutions that could fulfill my requirements and provide something beyond typical MBA programs.

In what ways did you hope to grow, both personally and professionally?

Programs from other leading institutions were more corporate-oriented but did not cover an entrepreneurial mindset, and I was in search of both. I wanted to learn about the essential aspects of launching and managing a successful venture, not because I was specifically interested in creating a new company, but rather to understand the challenges, motivations and day-to-day of entrepreneurs and be able to better connect with them.

Additionally, my aspirations were to build a strong network that could open doors to collaborations and partnerships, but also friendships with my cohort and challenges at the personal and professional level.  My goal was a personal transformation that could offer me new perspectives and experiences and allow me to become a more self-aware and effective leader. I felt that working with skilled coaches and mentors would be very valuable to provide me with guidance on my goals and help me to reach my full potential. 

What were your expectations for the Global Executive MBA beforehand? 

I wanted to be exposed to a comprehensive curriculum covering the latest business theories, frameworks, and best practices. Also, the diverse cohort of experienced professionals from different industries and backgrounds offered a unique opportunity to build a strong professional network, exchange ideas and learn from peers. Above all, I expected not just theories, but the application of shared experience and best practices to real-world business challenges. 

I had high expectations of gaining a global perspective via the residential periods, global business projects, company visits and modules focused on the global economy. I wanted to develop a broader perspective on business and gain insights into different cultures, markets and economic systems. Also, it was important that the Global Executive MBA is taught in English because this is a valuable skill in international business. And finally, leadership development activities were a must-have for me, with executive coaching and self-reflection exercises to enhance self-awareness, emotional intelligence and personal growth.

How did these expectations compare to your actual experience of the program?

The quality of the faculty in the program was a crucial aspect of my overall experience. Faculty members possess a combination of academic qualifications, industry experience and teaching expertise. They provided us with valuable insights, real-world examples and in some cases, connections to industry networks. The organization, academic support and learning tools were very effective, as well as the mentorship from external advisors. I even had the opportunity to contribute to a book that was published on this topic, sharing my experiences during the coaching process.

Networking with the cohort is a key success factor of the Global Executive MBA, as we were working together during the program on a daily basis for 15 months. Most of my cohort have met up after the program, and are always available for any request or advice: the same applies to the faculty. As a member of the Alumni Community, I also have access to valuable resources which have allowed me to apply the latest business theories and practices to real-world situations. I feel the program fulfilled all my requirements.

Now, you’re the senior chief strategy officer at Ayesa. How did the program help prepare you for your current role?

First and foremost, strategic thinking and vision. Secondly, business acumen: the program provided me with a comprehensive understanding of various business functions which has allowed me to make well-informed decisions that align with the organization's overall strategy.

The program has helped me to develop the skills needed to lead teams and drive organizational change. I’m currently participating in the integration of two companies in a merger of equals, navigating the cultural dynamics of both companies. The knowledge I acquired during the program has allowed me to tackle this while minimizing disruption and maximizing synergies. Finally, the networking opportunities have enabled me to build a strong network that is very valuable to me.

Could you describe the Global Executive MBA in three words as advice or encouragement for anyone considering it?

Transformational; collaborative; accelerated growth. Some words of advice: practice effective time management and take care of your well-being. Stay engaged and proactive. Do not procrastinate! Stay organized. Finally, make the most of your experience to better connect with your cohort and have a little fun too!