Leonie Sandelbaum '14

Head of Client Servicing

Wednesday, September 18, 2019TOPICS: AlumniInternational

USD alumna, Leonie Sandelbaum '14
begin quoteSandelbaum has always had a mindset for global leadership. "It's not about slicing or re-slicing the pie. It's about finding opportunities to actually expand the pie, something I'm able to apply on a daily basis with ING’s global stakeholders."

ING Wholesale Banking

USD alumna, Leonie Sandelbaum '14

While Leonie Sandelbaum may have officially become an international business executive only after graduating with her MBA degree from the University of San Diego School of Business, she always had a mindset for global leadership. When she made the decision to pursue her MBA degree, international and experience-based learning was a non-negotiable.

“The international factor was extremely important to me, and I searched all over Europe and the United States for a program that would best fulfill this requirement.” she said. “At USD, I was not only exposed to many different viewpoints and nationalities, but the whole program embraced internationality in an applied, hands-on way — almost like we were actually on the job.”

Sandelbaum began her career as a consultant for IBM Global Business Services before joining Deloitte as strategy and transformation manager, a role in which she handled several international banking assignments. After graduating from the MBA program at the USD School of Business, she joined ING, a Dutch multi-national bank in the Netherlands, as chief of staff to the global head of corporate strategy with responsibility for developing the company's global strategy and liaising with its board of directors. Today, she is head of client servicing for ING Wholesale Banking's operations where she and her teams deliver improvements in customer journeys, processes and systems for the bank's corporate clients.

“My team is always looking for ways to improve upon the status quo,” she said. “But it’s about more than process improvement — it’s about making groundbreaking improvements.”

As a solutions-oriented person in both her personal and professional life, it’s no surprise Sandelbaum is thriving in her current role. Tasked with prioritizing initiatives from various stakeholders against budget and resources, she came to realize it’s not as simple as choosing which ones to pursue, but rather, how to develop creative solutions that serve everyone’s interests — a concept that can be traced back to her time at USD.

“I think back to the business negotiation course with Professor Craig Barkacs,” she said. “I learned that, in most cases, it's not about slicing or re-slicing the pie; it's about finding opportunities to actually expand the pie. That is something I am able to apply on a daily basis with ING’s global stakeholders.”

Interacting with people across different cultures and geographies isn’t new territory for Sandelbaum, who has lived and studied all around the world. While at USD, she took advantage of the many global learning experiences the MBA program offered her — studying in South America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe — while also immersing herself in the culturally-diverse community of San Diego.

“USD did a great job of applying cultural awareness as part of the MBA program,” she said. “Being in a multicultural community in such close proximity to the Mexican border really complemented the curriculum as well.”

Since graduating in 2014, Sandelbaum has been back to visit San Diego and her alma mater at least once a year. To this day, she says, she is overwhelmed by the warm welcome she receives from her former professors as she makes her way through the halls of the USD School of Business.

“USD has always felt like family,” she said. “Right away, I was welcomed by not only my professors, but also many of the staff. Even though I was living so far away from home, I always felt like I had a family at USD.”

Leonie Sandelbaum is one of only seven European alumni of USD who have been selected to speak at Seven-by-Seven Madrid this October. Seven-by-Seven is USD’s unique version of TED Talks, in which seven alumni are given seven minutes to share their inspirational stories highlighting leadership, creativity and innovation. For more information and to RSVP, visit www.sandiego.edu/7by7madrid.


Renata Ramirez
(619) 260-4658