I am a former scientist turned business consultant and professor at IE School of Architecture and Design. My father, a university professor in Madrid, instilled in me a strong passion for education, leading me to pursue a PhD in Chemistry at the Autonomous University of Madrid where I conducted research on fuel cells and the hydrogen economy. After four years as a scientist, I decided to change career tracks and become a business consultant. I have since worked with many companies facing innovation, design and strategic challenges, and my experiences have led me to understand how rewarding it is to teach others and to learn from any situation. This is something I consider to be a part of my philosophy of life—one which has been very useful when caring for my two dogs and my cat.
A scientist’s eye on the business world
Alejandro Pardo (or Alex, as he is known to most) is no stranger to education. After receiving his Bachelor in Science, Master in Science, and PhD in Chemistry from the Autonomous University of Madrid, he later studied a PLD (Program for Leadership Development) and a Disruptive Strategy course, both at Harvard Business School. His first work experience after his shift from science to business was at Deloitte. Despite only working there for a year, he was struck by a desire to continue to grow in the field of consultancy.
His next stop on the road to success was at Altran where he worked for 13 years, working on innovation, design, technology, and strategic projects for companies like Airbus, Banco Santander, Ericsson, Telefonica, Inditex, and Decathlon, among others. He also led multidisciplinary teams as operations director at Altran Spain and later as global practice director in the Altran World Class Center of Innovation and Design.
Since 2018, Alex has been working as strategy and operations director at frog design, a 50-year-old design company that has boasted clients such as Apple, Sony and Disney, among others. He leads a studio of highly talented designers and strategists that tackle the most challenging and complex innovation and design projects for global companies in the physical and digital space. He is also an independent disruptive strategy advisor to several large and small companies.
His diverse experiences have taught him many lessons and help to continue his education beyond his extensive schooling. His top three learnings have been: A manager’s main duty is the professional and personal development of the people they are in charge of; failure is never a bad thing when it helps you grow; and always let your values guide your decisions.
It’s no surprise that someone with such an ability to adapt and passion for learning decided to jump into academia. Alex felt it was his duty to share what he’s learned from his diverse professional and personal experiences. IE University’s teaching philosophy and core values of innovation, entrepreneurship, academic rigor, and transformational leadership was something that highly resonated with him and drew him to the university—the connection was natural and has led to Alex’s most rewarding experience yet.
Alex teaches Design Management, a course which teaches students how to control a creative process, support a culture of creativity, and build a structure and organization for design. Having the opportunity to positively impact a student’s growth, both professionally and as individually, is one of the most fulfilling experiences he has had. He’s reminded of his passion and value for education by his students every day.
His advice to his students is to never be afraid to fail. The most relevant lessons for achieving success come from failing—preparation, tenacity and a bit of patience is the formula for a sustaining success.
In his free-time, Alex likes to play with his two dogs and cat, a French bulldog, a Shetland sheepdog and a Persian cat. Most of all, he likes to spend time with friends and family at large get-togethers.