Our monthly Executive MBA participants recently dealt with a case that was somewhat out of the ordinary: that of Renova’s black toilet paper. The activity was the topic of their Marketing Strategy class, involving a case study which would put all their newly-acquired knowledge to the test. At the end of the class, Prof. Andrés Cuneo resolved the case with the group, explaining the final outcome.
ESADE’s EMBA is a 4-phase programme, which focuses on Management Development from all vantage points. The Marketing Strategy module in particular, is carried out in Phase 1 -entitled “Company, Environment & Function”- touches on innovative aspects of management, which are learned, discussed and debated in-depth, offering a current vision of the company and its reality.
During the session in question, the participants reflected on the Renova case and offered their own perspective on the managerial decision-making process behind choices of this kind, and how they affect the success, or otherwise, of business models. To everyone’s surprise, including Professor Cuneo himself, one of the students came bearing gifts: everyone in the class got to take home a roll of black toilet paper!
No doubt you will wonder what on earth the connection is between these things. Yet there is one – the 2017 Aquatech Innovation Awards. These awards are strongly committed to sustainability and – as their name suggests – to innovation.
Tecnoturbines, a company founded by Jaime Lledó, a former student of the 2016 EMBA programme, has won one of these top awards. Lledó´s start-up, headed by the former ESADE student and three engineers from Alicante, received the prize in the Transport & Storage category for its picoturbine, an economic and efficient solution which allows for energy generation to monitor installations with difficult access to the electric net. The award was made in Amsterdam on the 30th of October 2017.
The purpose of Lledó’s company is to develop technology that allows one to use water pressure to generate electricity. The secret lies in the installation of micro-turbines in the water distribution network to reduce or take advantage of over-pressures.
Companies that store large quantities of water can use the firm´s products to save resources and thus cut costs. Some of the potential customers of Tecnoturbines are enterprises operating in the irrigation sector, industry, and the distribution of drinking water.
Tecnoturbine´s project will revolutionise its target market. Its pioneering products, solutions and services in the hydraulic industry are precisely what the Aquatech Innovation Awards have been heaping accolades on for years. In this edition of the awards, Tecnoturbines was chosen from among 13 leading companies and projects by a jury of top experts from firms such as Wetsus, Akzo Nobel, Shell, and Stowa.
Water is a scarce, valuable resource that needs to be treated in a socially responsible manner. Innovation plays a key role in achieving this goal. The 2017 edition of the Aquatech awards (which were held in Amsterdam this year), showed their commitment to social and environmental sustainability by donating the registration fees to AMREF Flying Doctors — an NGO. AMREF is currently carrying out a project in Tanzania to: eradicate the practice of female circumcision; provide drinking water for women and children; improve community hygiene and sanitation.
During ESADE´s Executive MBA (EMBA) programme, students come up with projects whether within their companies or as a new line of business/entrepreneurial venture. How are these projects brought to fruition? The last stage of the EMBA programme — the Business
Capstone Project — puts the finishing touches to the plan to create a new business. Experts tutor students and evaluate the project. The projects themselves are chosen by programme participants depending on their track records, backgrounds, and aims. These projects often go beyond the classroom and end up as successful companies. The aim is clear-cut: to provide EMBA participants (who are all professionals with great potential) with the tools to reflect, learn and act in making their dreams come true.
Jaime Lledó is a prime example of the way the EMBA programme helps participants develop their entrepreneurial flair and projects. Tecnoturbines — Lledó´s brainchild while he was at ESADE — has grown to the point where sales have reached the one million Euro mark. The EMBA programme was key in laying the foundations for this success. Furthermore, Lledó and his team are bent on making the firm grow and they are opening up international markets to this end.
These four young professionals are pioneers. Their training, professionalism and determination means the sky is the limit!
“Challenge the future. You are the ones who are going to make the difference. You are the ones who have to show that another future is possible. Here at ESADE, we want to generate this change with you.” This was how Jordi Brunat, Director of ESADE Executive Education, welcomed new participants to the monthly Executive MBA (EMBA) on Welcome Day. “Be positive, courageous and daring, but above all, keep your mind open. You cannot even imagine where you will be 10 years from now.”
With these words, a new class of students, 40% of whom are women, embarked on the EMBA journey. “We are very proud of this figure and we want it to keep increasing,” commented Esteve Mogas, Director of the EMBA. “This is a change that all of us must be involved in.”
During the welcome session, the new participants shared their reasons for undertaking this new adventure: “We are here to start a new life,” said one student; the rest of the class responded with a round of applause. Indeed, the EMBA is synonymous with change. The new participants are about to encounter endless possibilities and new horizons, both professionally and personally. “Let the EMBA surprise you,” said Mr. Mogas during his remarks.
The new participants also had the chance to share their concerns about this new journey with participants who were in the same situation one year ago. “Here you’ll find time to reflect: Who are you? What kind of leader do you want to be? You only get to do an MBA once in a lifetime, so take a deep breath and enjoy it!” commented Aurora Martínez, a representative of last year’s graduating class.
Daniel, also from last year’s class, stressed the importance of the group’s support: “One of the key points of the EMBA is that you are united as a class. This adventure is also about building personal and professional relationships.” “You’re here to learn from each other,” added Aurora. “Don’t be afraid. Get out of your comfort zone and make mistakes!” challenged Daniel.
Indeed, the EMBA is quite a challenge. The new participants understand this, but they also know that hard work will bring them great rewards. “New professional opportunities”, “creating my own business”, “having a transformational experience”, “learning from my colleagues”, “building a great group” and “growing together” – these were just some of the reflections shared during Welcome Day.
Finally, we would like to pass on the words of encouragement and gratitude that Mr. Mogas shared at the end of the event: “Thank you for being here today. Thank you for your excitement and energy. Thank you for your trust in ESADE and welcome to the new Executive MBA class of 2017-2019!”
Four out of every ten students in the latest intake for ESADE’s monthly-format Executive MBA (EMBA) in English are women. This is ten per cent higher than female participation in this kind of programme worldwide (30.1%), according to the 2017 Executive MBA Council Survey. The survey includes ESADE among the 11 business schools that — as shown in the latest Financial Times ranking — have EMBA programmes in which women make up over 35% of the student body.
The 40 participants in the latest edition of ESADE’s EMBA programme are drawn from 25 countries from around the world. Each speaks an average of four languages and 60% come from abroad. Their academic backgrounds vary, the main ones being: Economics or Business (55%); Engineering (13%); Law and Humanities (13%); Sciences (5%). With regard to the sectors represented by students taking ESADE EMBA programmes, the principal fields are: Energy; Finance and Insurance; Technology and Telecommunications; Consulting; Aeronautics; Health Care; Public Sector. With regard to the functional areas in which students work, Marketing, Sales, Operations, General Management, and Finance are the most strongly represented.
The proportion of female professionals making up ESADE’s intake for the latest edition of the Executive MBA (EMBA) is ten per cent higher than the world average (30.1%) for this kind of programme.The part-time programme is imparted in English on the Barcelona and Madrid campuses and lasts 16 months. Participants have an average of ten years’ professional experience.
ESADE and its commitment to women’s talent
The high percentage of women in ESADE’s EMBA (40%) and in the rest of the School’s programmes (43%) is the result of a firm commitment to gender balance and female leadership. ESADE was the first Spanish business school to join The United Nations’ #HeForShe platform and since 2013, it is an academic partner in Proyecto Promociona para Mujeres en la Alta Dirección [Women for Senior Management Project], an initiative fostered and carried out by Instituto de la Mujer y para la Igualdad de Oportunidades [Institute for Women & Equal Opportunities] and the CEOE [Spanish business organisation]. Almost 400 women have already taken the programme.
Furthermore, ESADE periodically carries out surveys such as the ESADE Gender Monitor and Mujeres con Impacto [Women Who Make a Difference]. Over the last year, the School has supported many projects, such as the publication ‘37 almas en una’ [37-in-1], a collective essay based on the stories of 37 women managers who tell how their personal and professional experiences contribute to female leadership. These and many other initiatives, such as The MBA Women in Business Club, won Joint First Prize in the EJE&CON ‘Gender-Free Talent’ Award, together with the scientist Margarita Salas, the firms PwC and Atrevia, and the magazine Capital Humano [Human Capital]. Eugenia Bieto, ESADE’s Director-General, is the first woman to be appointed President of the CEMS Global Alliance and is one of the few women heading a world-class business school.
“If you’re here now, imagine where you will be in 15 years.” This was how the Director of ESADE Executive Education welcomed new participants to the Executive MBA (EMBA) in his institutional welcome remarks. “The EMBA is a programme that will transform you and help you learn a lot. But my message is: enjoy it!” said Jordi Brunat . He added: “You are incredibly privileged, so make the most of this experience. Welcome to ESADE – your home.”
“Future”, “progress”, “change”, “challenge”… These were the words used by the new participants in the Barcelona-based weekly EMBA when asked by the programme director, Carlos Royo, what it meant to them to be starting along this new path. Indeed, the EMBA transforms people and opens up new horizons.
“You will change throughout your time at ESADE. The EMBA gives you a new perspective,” explained Alba Cura, a member of the 2018 EMBA graduating class, reminiscing on how she had embarked on this path just one year ago. “Starting now, you will have lots of professional opportunities,” commented Albert Canela, another member of the EMBA class of 2018 and a classmate of Cura’s. “You will enjoy yourselves greatly during this journey,” he added. “The EMBA will shake you up. It is such an impressive experience, and it is sure to unite you. Trust in your classmates. The support of the group is fundamental in this adventure,” declared Cura.
The EMBA is based on three pillars. The first is making decisions from a position of authenticity. “ESADE believes in collaboration as a means of creating great leaders,” explained Royo. The second pillar is internationalisation. During the programme, participants spend time in Europe, Asia and the Americas, getting to know the realities of these societies and becoming leaders with a global business vision. The third and final pillar is entrepreneurship. The EMBA will let you to take charge of your career and make the professional leap you’ve been dreaming of.
Who said that being active in social networks is the only option? Who said that only young professionals can manage social media accounts?
These are some of the issues dealt with in the ‘Customer Relationship Strategy in the Digital Age’ master class organised as part of the ESADE Continuity Programme on 25/26 September in Barcelona and Madrid, respectively. The masterclass focussed on the transformation of customer behaviour and how marketing should adapt and bypass online communication. It was led by Pau Virgili, an expert on new technologies, management, and marketing who has managed international companies and now works closely with the ESADE Marketing Management Department.
Pau Virgili showed his disagreement with four myths that accompany the technological revolution. To the surprise of many listeners, he questioned: firstly, the need to be in the digital environment; secondly, the belief that being surrounded by young people guarantees success; thirdly, the assertion that everything has changed; and fourthly, the assumption that the old rules no longer apply. By undermining these beliefs, Virgili made the audience pause and reflect (the main objective of this type of session and, in general, the ESADE methodology and philosophy). There is no change, or changers, without reflection, without demystifying, and without questioning whether the newly generalised paradigms are the only valid models.
Pau Virgili emphasised the leading role of the customer over the brand, and how consumption is becoming more rational, encouraged by the observations and criticisms of friends and family, and in which emotional values trump the brand’s own foundational values. Virgili considers that it is essential to study and understand the ‘customer journey’ that occurs both online and offline and whose broad effects permeate the entire organisation. To capture consumers, brands must relate directly and transparently with customers.
Pau Virgili, who was general manager of European marketing at Hewlett-Packard fast moving consumer goods and European marketing director for Plantronics, is an example of the quality of ESADE’s academic team. The contributions of this team and the numerous lecturers who participate in this type of unique session – full of practical cases and based on sharing knowledge while encouraging innovation and critical spirit – reflect the bases on which ESADE is built. An attentive master class audience eagerly followed the discussions in each session.
These master classes are part of the Open Day offered by the ESADE Executive MBA. These events are an ideal opportunity to learn about the university and its programmes before taking the leap and becoming an active agent for change trained at ESADE. Lecturers, alumni, and the programme director are available during Open Days to resolve any doubts and concerns before applying to ESADE. Open Days are also the first opportunity for many students to see how ESADE works, with the plurality of its lecturers and comprehensive innovation. Students can also see for themselves the quality of the academic contents, one of the aspects most valued by students and a subject of intense focus for the entire ESADE team.
Learn more here about the next EMBA informative sessions. We look forward to seeing you there.
The EMBA team has added a new communications channel. On 19 July we premiered on Facebook Live with a video featuring Judith Puigbó, associate director of admissions for the Executive MBA. She was accompanied by two participants from the current EMBA monthly format, Naïma Maëlle Zodros and Alexey Kultyshkin.
The video included a relaxed discussion on personal experiences and various aspects of the EMBA. Naïma, from the biotech industry, decided on the EMBA because she wanted a 360º vision of business; while Alexey wanted to complement his previous education with a more comprehensive programme.
Both positively value the diversity of EMBA participants – something that enables mutual enrichment and productive teamwork. Alexey, who had not previously considered being an entrepreneur, felt that starting a business was now an option after his experience at ESADE.
Questions discussed during the interview include the various methodologies used in the programme, its international weeks, time management, and student business plan ideas (one of the most important sections of the EMBA in which participants choose whether to develop their own entrepreneurial idea, or develop a project within the company where they work – called intrapreneurship).
The care and follow-up provided by the ESADE team is another factor that participants value. ESADE enables participants to visit the school, attend classes, and talk with alumni to acquire more information and viewpoints before making a final decision.
During the video, there was also an opportunity to talk about the best personal moments experienced during the EMBA. At the end of the discussion, viewers could participate and ask questions live or later at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The video already has more than 2000 viewings and can be seen here. It is the first of a series that will be made periodically to bring live EMBA news, experiences, opinions, and advice from participants. See you next time!
“On our EMBA study tour, we visited the Indian school of business. I must say that I was very pleased with the quality of the classes. They were all tailored to give us a general view of India’s current situation regarding foreign investment. After four days of intensive learning, I found myself wondering if I would I invest and how I should do it?
India is a pool of untapped opportunities, however doing business in India is not easy. When selling to the emerging middle class, prices should be affordable – hence low – while still managing high margins. It makes it tough to obtain an acceptable return on investment. I found interesting how the teacher mentioned that for a product to succeed in the Indian market it would have to succeed first at the bottom of the pyramid. Then it should be adapted to higher segments therefore making innovation a key reason for success in India.”
Read Naïma M. Zodros’ (EMBA ‘16) whole experience in this article
The graduation ceremony of the Executive MBA class of ‘17 was held in late April.
Whenever the programme ends, both the students and the faculty members involved in their education have mixed feelings. On the one hand, they are enormously pleased about everything they have achieved, the growth they have experienced at all levels, and the excitement of a new phase in life; on the other hand, they are somewhat sad about leaving behind a group that has contributed to the personal and professional development of each participant, and about the end of an era that marked a turning point in their lives.
As class representatives Kseniya and Don confessed, the 45 participants, with their diverse range of backgrounds, profiles and objectives, “started out as a class of students and ended up like family”.
That just about says it all. Congratulations to all of you, and I hope these months are just the beginning of a lifetime of successes and achievements, both personal and professional.
Click here to see more photos of the EMBA class of ‘17 graduation ceremony.
Naïma M. Zodros and her classmates in ESADE’s Executive MBA just returned from an international week in Brazil, one of three trips abroad that will take place during the monthly programme format.
Zodros described a highly practical experience in Brazil, where the EMBA participants discovered the peculiarities of the country’s economy. She noted that multinational companies like Wal-Mart and Lenovo – wrongly assuming that the strategies they used in their home countries would also work in Brazil – have failed in their attempts to enter this new market.
When implementing business systems and procedures in another country, you must also make a cultural change. This is something of a revolution, in which, according to Zodros, women executives can play a leading role due to their management style. Thanks to – or because of – their efforts to reach heights until recently reserved exclusively for men, women have developed a unique entrepreneurial spirit. Zodros trusts that this sort of female leadership will inspire other women to pursue their goals and seize new opportunities in order to achieve their aims in any area.
Naïma M. Zodros (EMBA ‘16) shares her experience in this article