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Santiago Iñiguez – Sometimes Your Worst Investment Can Bring You the Most Joy
9th February 2021 • My Worst Investment Ever Podcast • Andrew Stotz
00:00:00 00:17:21

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Santiago Iñiguez de Onzoño is the President of IE University and a recognized influencer in global higher education. Iñiguez is also the Vice-Chairman of Headspring, a company owned by the Financial Times and IE Business School, providing custom education programs for companies worldwide.

Iñiguez is the former Dean of IE Business School and has played a leading role in business education. He was portrayed by the Financial Times as “one of the most significant figures in promoting European business schools internationally.” He was the first European appointed as “Dean of the Year” by Poets & Quants (2017).

He is the author of “The Learning Curve: How Business Schools Are Reinventing Education” (2011), “Cosmopolitan Managers: Executive Education That Works” (2016), and “In An Ideal Business: How the Ideas of 10 Female Philosophers bring Values, Meaning, and Innovation to the Workplace” (2020), as well as co-editor of “Business Despite Borders: Companies in the Age of Populist Anti-Globalization” (2018), all published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Iñiguez is a regular speaker at international conferences and frequently contributes to different journals and media on higher education and executive development. He is one of the 500 Global LinkedIn Influencers.


“Every business opportunity is a learning experience, not just an opportunity to make money.”

Santiago Iñiguez


Worst investment ever

Santiago’s worst investment was a personal investment that he did years ago in Brazil. He participated in all sorts of real estate development in the Northeast of Brazil.

In 2007, Brazil was the land of promise and was close to holding the Olympic Games, so the government invested heavily. Many entrepreneurs came in, so Santiago participated in this personal investment because he fell in love with that piece of paradise.

Not such a rosy investment after all

While Santiago loved the investment he made in Brazil, its value has gone down with time because of the low value of the country’s currency. The Brazilian Real was about two Reals per Euro at the time. Now it is five Reals per Euro. So if Santiago tried to sell his property there now, he would definitely make a loss.

Turning his worst investment into pure gold

Santiago happened to be the only investor who built a house on the property in Brazil. He turned this spectacular house into a peaceful place where he can write and concentrate. It is now the place Santiago spends his holidays.

Even though, from an economic standpoint, the property became a damaging investment, it has rendered so many positive personal experiences that Santiago does not regret having bought it.

Lessons learned

Do not be too passionate that you forget to do your research

Do not become too passionate about investing to the point that you forget to do your research. Make sure that you get an expert’s assessment and then do your analysis.

Andrew’s takeaways

Do not buy a house if you cannot see yourself in it for the rest of your life

The rule about buying a house is that you have to walk in and feel convinced that you want to live there the rest of your life. This is because a property is a significant thing, but sometimes it can be a trap. If you buy something because of a financial aspect, then you run into a potential pitfall. So look for something that you love.

When investing in a foreign country, you are investing in two things

Anytime you are buying something in another country, you are buying two things. You buy the currency of that country and that underlying asset. Unlike buying a piece of property in your own country where you buy just the asset. A lot of people get confused or forget about that.

Actionable advice

Do not be too cautious when it comes to investing. Consider every business opportunity as a learning experience and not just a chance to make money. Allow every opportunity to be a chance to learn and develop your personality and become a better person.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Santiago’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to focus on an ongoing project to grow the university. The university is now expanding its programs to become more international.




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