MBA Stories part 17: Cristobal Muñoz Simunovic

 A full-time MBA enabled Chilean banker Cristobal Muñoz Simunovic to branch out on his own and begin work on three start-up businesses.

Despite enjoying a progressive career in banking, with senior roles at Banco Chile, he had always wanted to move into entrepreneurship and innovation. As he was without family ties, he felt the time was right to pursue that ambition, beginning with studying for an MBA.

His initial focus was on finding an MBA programme to fulfil his entrepreneurship goals.

During his MBA studies at Imperial College Business School in London, Muñoz Simunovic was a co-founder of Keep It, a fin-tech start-up that was a runner-up in Imperial’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship START! Challenge 2015.

This competition involves 30 participating teams presenting their business cases to a judging panel of professional investors, culminating in a Dragons’ Den-style pitch to compete for a £10,000 prize. His venture allowed effortless, automatic donations to be made to charities that donors support with every purchase made by credit or debit card, on a daily basis.

‘This exercise was, for me, a key learning point of the MBA,’ he explains. ‘It made you learn the in-depth structure of the product, understand the market, the benefits it would bring and how to reach out to people. We received advice from experts in the charity, technology and financial services fields to help us on our journey.

'Overall, it was an intense experience that taught us so much that now provides me with a valuable foundation to develop innovation and entrepreneurship projects.

‘It fulfilled every aspiration by taking me into different industries and cultures, to learn new and different skills; it took me out of my comfort zone. It taught me the key fundamentals of developing as an entrepreneur.’

After his MBA, Muñoz Simunovic won a role as a graduate teaching assistant at the Business School, coaching nearly 100 students on the MSc in Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management about design thinking methodology, strategy, idea generation, elevator pitching and presentations skills.

Today, he is a strategic and business development adviser for start-ups, raising funds at early stages or expanding into new markets. These include a 3D design platform seeking seed capital of $1.5m; an education technology initiative expanding into Latin America; and a bus-ticketing platform from the Balkans, for which he is raising $300K in funds.

He plans to return to Chile eventually, using his skills to improve customer service and play his part in boosting its economy.