"The number one factor for me was the deep entrepreneurial focus that IE Business School offers."
Paula Mora, United States
Head of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships at Symba
- Program studied
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your life so far:
My biggest accomplishment has been becoming a first generation college graduate and making my parents proud for their sacrifices as immigrants living in the U.S.
Was entrepreneurship always your career goal?
Not at all! As an international relations student, my focus was on international development. In fact, I began my professional career at The World Bank. I always knew, however, that I wanted to create opportunities for underserved communities – at first while working for a renowned international organization and now as a social entrepreneur.
What led you to pursue a Master in Management at this point in your personal development?
I had been working at The World Bank for two years and as a founding member of Symba for one year. I knew that in order to take the next step in my career I had to equip myself with managerial and entrepreneurial skills in order to best support my startup team.
How did you decide if a Master in Management was worth the investment?
By talking to recent Master in Management graduates and learning first-hand about their experiences and post-grad journeys.
What was the key factor that led you to choose the Master in Management at IE Business School and why was it so important to you?
The number one factor for me was the deep entrepreneurial focus that IE Business School offers. The opportunity to develop my startup through IE’s Venture Day, Entrepreneurship courses, and countless mentors proved to be invaluable.
What quality best describes your classmates?
Tell me about your venture:
A remote internship platform, Symba is led by a young and diverse team and is building a platform with the purpose of opening up the workforce. Symba helps businesses adapt to the future of work—adopting remote operations, investing in the next generation of talent, and committing to diversity and inclusion.
On Symba’s Remote Internship Platform, companies have the power to curate their internship experiences entirely online. We enable companies to easily onboard interns, create and assign projects, monitor progress and provide feedback, and engage participants through a community feature.
Using Symba, companies have been able to scale internship programs by 600%, increase conversion rates, and meet diversity and inclusion goals. In addition to remote internships, Symba can support fellowships, bootcamps, accelerators, and ambassador programs.
How has your business school experience helped you in creating and launching your business?
- Mentorship: We were at a place in our startup journey where mentorship was key. My team back in the United States was participating in Techstars remote accelerator program and I was taking advantage of IE Entrepreneurial network of professors and mentors to gain as much insight in early stage startups as I could.
- Strategy: The various courses and extracurriculars allowed me to develop strategic plans for my startup, from our marketing to our business development strategy. The tools I was learning in class, I was immediately putting to use at Symba.
- Investor Relations: through IE’s Venture Day I gain invaluable experience, enhancing my pitch and managing investor’s relations. I was even able to connect with VCs in Madrid and prospect funding opportunities for Symba.
What is the biggest/most important lesson you have learned during your studies?
When you are done learning, you are done…
What are the next steps for you / your entrepreneurial venture?
We have just closed our first round of fundraising and are now at an exciting stage in our startup. We are growing our team and focusing on our business development efforts. As Head of Business Development, I’m specifically focused on bringing more exciting customers and partners in order to further support internship programs worldwide!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I see myself creating a space for Latina entrepreneurs in the U.S. to gain valuable support and mentorship in their own startup journey.