Career Paths


Born and raised in Hong Kong, Carmen Rodriguez Lo is half Chinese and half Spanish. She started out her career in a small creative agency in Hong Kong, focusing on advertising, graphic design and experience design. But with any creative role, she had to do a bit of everything, which encouraged her to discover her roots in Spain and gain more academic experience. When she found IE University, she knew it was the perfect next step.

4 min read

Carmen Rodriguez Lo grew up in Hong Kong, but often visited Spain, where she visited her father’s side of the family in Asturias every summer as a child. She has always wanted to move to the country to unlock her Spanish and explore her roots. Carmen’s mother tongue is Cantonese, but her parents don’t speak each other’s native languages, so English became the common denominator.

When thinking about moving to Spain, Carmen felt a bit nervous and was afraid her Spanish wasn’t good enough. As she grew older, she was more exposed to the world and realized there was no reason to be embarrassed by this part of her identity.

I knew that I was at a point in my life where I wanted to see and actually experience the other side of my culture and understand it at a deeper level. And I’ve always liked to study and have always wanted to do a master’s.

After a few years working in Hong Kong, Carmen felt she had learned everything she could learn in her specific role. For her, it was time to take that next big step: “I was specifically looking for a program in Spain and in English. And that’s when I found IE University and the Master in Creative Direction, Content & Branding.”

Carmen’s bachelor’s degree was purely in graphic design, so she was looking for more of a business background. “The fact that the program had a business component gave me a bit of balance. We were doing creative things, which is what I love, but then we also took classes on business strategy, entrepreneurship and project management.”

She also met amazing, lifelong friends. She explains that the workload was heavy, but it was an incredible and worthwhile experience.

From mentee to mentor: a creative experience inside and outside the classroom

More than the experience, Carmen loved that IE University gave her a place where she fit in. “I think it happens to a lot of mixed kids where you don’t feel like you fit in. And I think coming to IE University has opened my eyes and allowed me to also connect with my family more in Spain, which I think is very important. Plus, the IE Community is so diverse, and that was an environment I was already used to and wanted to stay in.”

Working with professors and mentoring future game-changers

Carmen is currently working at Saffron, an international brand consultancy based in Madrid, with offices in London and Vienna, as well as global partnerships. It’s a fun dynamic, especially as her professors from the programs are now her coworkers and supervisors. “I got this job thanks to the program. At the end of the program, the top students get to interview for a role at the company. Going into this program, I actually didn’t know about this opportunity, but it’s there every year and we have quite a few alumni working at the company, which is nice because you have a little community.”

At the start of her program, Carmen was most interested in branding. During the program, she was most excited about learning brand strategy, which led her to interview for Saffron. She was there with the program for six months, and then was offered a full-time position. 

Looking to give back to the IE Community, Carmen joined IE University’s Mentor Program, which is offered with the Master in Creative Direction, Content & Branding and the Master in Customer Experience & Innovation. “When you’re a student, you often have questions that you can’t get answers to unless you find the right person.”

From mentee to mentor: a creative experience inside and outside the classroom

Carmen felt that her profile was a great fit for a mentor because she had experience across agencies of different sizes and across various industries.

Most students take a bachelor’s in management and then want to switch to something more creative, but Carmen did it the other way around. “I thought it’s something that they would appreciate to know, and I’m always happy to share my journey and what I thought worked right and worked well.”

For Carmen, it wasn’t just her giving back—she was also gaining new skills in the Mentor Program. “I’ve developed professionally through the program because when you grow in your career, the natural progression is that you will become the person that will have people below you when you need to allocate work.”

She considers the role as a way to help others, “It’s not just about the work—my job as someone who grows in my career is to help other people also grow in their career.”

From mentee to mentor: a creative experience inside and outside the classroom

One thing she offers her mentees is the opportunity to tell her what they’re looking for out of the Mentor Program. For future mentors, she’d advise them to ask their students what they want and align their sessions to the students’ goals. And for future students, Carmen would tell them that “the program gives you a taste of everything. It builds a generalist profile that opens the door to new things. The course is intense, but it’s definitely a good crash course in creativity.”