“The program provided me with the tools to identify new opportunities when they showed up. It gave me a reference framework, a methodology to work and develop ideas.”

Marcos, Spain

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Marcos Alves Cardoso

About me

Marcos Alves Cardoso is Partner and Chief Growth Officer at LUDA Partners, a digital solution enabling pharmacies to communicate with each other to tackle drug supply issues. As well as investing in several companies throughout his career, he was previously regional director for Iberia, Australia and Latin America at TheFork, a restaurant discovery and booking site. Marcos describes himself as someone who is “naturally restless” and who has always loved learning.
WHO

Marcos Alves Cardoso, Spain

POSITION

Partner & Chief Growth Officer at LUDA Partners

Program studied

Executive MBA

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What did you enjoy most about your program at IE Business School?

I chose the Executive MBA at IE Business School because I intended to broaden my knowledge, particularly in finance. I had already been in my role at TheFork for six years, quite successfully, but I wanted to optimize my experience by acquiring a more specialized and robust academic foundation.

My experience at IE Business School was special, since most of my colleagues were about ten years older, and were all excellent professionals. I enjoyed interacting with professionals whose interests and concerns were similar to mine. We all learned a lot, from each other as well as from the program, and had plenty of opportunities to exchange experiences.

How has your experience at IE Business School benefited you personally and professionally?

Professionally, it helped me in two ways. Firstly, it gave me what I was looking for: improving my theoretical knowledge in different specific areas. I was also able to share experiences with really talented professionals from a wide range of sectors, which helped me see the bigger picture and polish my critical thinking. Working face-to-face with these professionals in an open environment, where each of us contributed something unique and opinions were always constructive, helped me become a better professional. This is an opportunity I would recommend to everyone, and I try to apply it to my projects on a daily basis.

What advice would you give to someone who is about to start your program?

We are talking about a very high-level, tough program which has obvious advantages, but is also very demanding, and you have to be able to balance it with your professional life. This is something you should keep in mind. It is not a program you can enroll in straight from university, as it requires a certain degree of experience and knowledge. It is essential to have worked beforehand, as this gives you the necessary background.

Which aspect of the program did you find most challenging?

Probably the hardest parts were the specific aspects of finance and management. I had the chance to catch up on some subjects I hadn’t been able to cover in depth before. However, in other subjects I had an advantage because of my entrepreneurial experience.

Also, balancing the program with my work and personal life was very challenging. At that time I was working full-time at TheFork, and the startup was in a phase of maximum growth, so it also took a lot of time and effort. Finding the balance was quite complex.

How did the program expand your network and open up new opportunities?

The program provided me with the tools to identify new opportunities when they showed up. It gave me a reference framework, a methodology to work and develop ideas. I made valuable contacts throughout the course. In fact, some of the contacts I made through the program enabled me to find and participate in new projects, like LUDA Partners.

You had already cofounded the online reservation platform, ElTenedor (now TheFork), when you joined the Executive MBA program in 2012. What was the thinking behind the decision to enroll in the program?

IE Business School has a high reputation, which is what I was looking for in order to expand my academic knowledge and take my professional ambitions to the next level. In fact, I still put much of what I learned there into practice at LUDA Partners daily.

How have you taken advantage of the networking opportunities at IE Business School?

Being surrounded by like-minded professionals enables you to see problems from a different viewpoint, thus broadening your perspective. The free flow of ideas is always beneficial and bonds are created both professional and personally. I think it’s important to surround yourself with people who think differently—it’s the only way to grow. In fact, at LUDA Partners I’m now working with some of my previous partners from TheFork, and have also reached out to colleagues I met during the Executive MBA program for advice on some aspects of the project.

How have you integrated key takeaways from the program into the daily workings of your business?

The program helped me build the academic foundations on which to improve my professional skills. I improved my language skills and gained a set of tools and techniques which I began to use daily, adapting them progressively to my needs.

I implemented everything I learned at work, particularly in the areas of finance and other business specializations. Now, with more experience behind me, I’ve adapted these tools to my own needs and incorporate them into my everyday business.

Since starting your own organization, you’ve invested in many companies throughout your career. What advice do you have for first-time investors?

Each investment is unique and should be viewed as such. You need to research its sector, the current situation, future prospects and the size of the market, as well as the company’s metrics, its numbers, its go-to-market strategy, and obviously its founders. 

There is one question that I always like to ask myself—can I contribute to the project? I like to provide some added value, so that my contribution is more than just economic. TheFork, for example, was focused on hospitality, a sector that I’m passionate about. We saw the potential of applying new technologies to restaurants and wanted to revolutionize a traditional sector by digitalizing it. LUDA Partners interested me because of its innovative use of technology, its enormous potential and the benefits it could bring to society. You could say that I fell in love with it, because it was professionally and personally enriching and also had an innovative and transformational component.

Every investment is something new: a new sector, new rules… That means acquiring new knowledge and skills, surrounding yourself with a team of professionals who understand it and know how to complement you. It’s almost like starting over.