Academic Director of the IE Brown Executive MBA program; Professor of Organizational Behavior

While she has the perspective of a psychologist, Cristina Simón believes that when teaching Human Capital and Talent Management to EMBA students, the subject must be closely related to the harder-edged side of business. “I try not to talk as a psychologist but to talk their own business language and bring the subject closer to the reality of corporate performance, although it’s fundamental to create awareness on the ‘social side’ of managerial work” she says.

Her years spent working for consultants such as Coopers & Lybrand and Ernst & Young after getting her Ph.D. degree have given her a distinct advantage in this respect. A particularly exciting new line of research for the professor, who in 2003 created the Centre for Human Resources at IE Business School, is the analysis of the employment relationship. Professor Simón is fascinated by the wide range of elements in the relationship between an employee and his/her employment context, including market value, the job market, macro-economic trends and the philosophy and values of companies and the society. Other related fields of interest for her include the relationship between the flow of human capital in business units (turnover, rotation, and hiring) and the changes in organizational performance.

In 2010 Professor Simón was offered a Chair in People Management by Inditex, the top fashion retailer — with Zara as its flagship brand. Financial Times described her role as an ‘embedded academic’ at the company. She describes her role as “an idea provider“ alerting the company to HR trends and offering context about what is going on in other industries and sectors. She also fosters the use of evidence-based information among managers and tries to raise their critical thinking skills when dealing with people issues. “I raise interest in topics that might be valuable for the company and stimulate their active discussion about their applicability in the company.”

Professor Simón is the author of numerous academic papers and books on different aspects of talent management, development, and measurement. As of January 2014, she is the Academic Director of the IE Brown EMBA joint degree program.


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