Which of these strategies leads to success? Although there is no easy answer to this question, based on the content and considerations explored in the subject General Management (EMBA, ESADE Madrid), I will defend my own view: differentiation, hands down.
This is not to detract from optimisation or operational efficiency. Simply put, optimisation is not a strategy, but a basic pillar for a company to be able to compete.
Except for those companies that have no competitors (few and far between), any company seeking to be competitive must cultivate a philosophy of optimisation and operational efficiency in each and every one of its processes if it wants to succeed. Otherwise, the market itself will expel it. This leads to a new hypothesis: if a company manages to optimise better than any of its competitors, could it base its strategy on that?
No way, because it is only a matter of time until it would be plagiarised. This is the polar opposite of companies that reach a maximum level of optimisation through technological differentiation.
Those companies achieve their differentiated position based on their technology, which allows them to differentiate themselves specifically in terms of costs.
This final consideration shows that all strategies should be based on differentiation and making the maximum effort to create barriers to defend that differentiation over time, regardless of the type of differentiation chosen.
A turning point. A challenge. Leaving your comfort zone. A push towards a dream. Trust. Passion. Finding your place.
What do these concepts – which attract us as much as they scare some of us – have in common? Change. They all arise from a change, a decision, a transformative act that opens up paths that you had never before imagined. New experiences that, once you’ve had them, you are very grateful for.
And you know what? These are the responses that our EMBA students gave when we asked them what ESADE’s Executive MBA meant to them. These are the opinions of our changers. But now it’s time for others to form part of this transformation, which begins in one person and expands throughout the community.
Watch the EMBA’s testimonial video (in Spanish) here
What is #beachanger?
Our changers talk about drivers of change, personal development, catalysts, and how the EMBA has given them the personal and educational tools they needed to cope with changes in their careers that many of them had dreamed of but didn’t know how to bring to life. The professionals who take the EMBA acquire a renewed sense of security and confidence as a result of gaining new knowledge and sharing business ideas and experiences with their peers and professors.
For these professionals, the EMBA is a holistic change that affects them and their companies. And the companies, in turn, value and cultivate the participants’ new capabilities. That’s how you create a cycle of positive feedback and growth that benefits both parties.
Many people simply see change, but not our EMBA students. They want to be change. And they are. They are changerswho, from day one, want to be involved in transformations that they believe in and are passionate about.
And slowly but surely, that passion makes them feel more and more unstoppable. A passion that many of them say is the most effective and accurate way to find one’s way in business and in life.
Published in Business Because on Monday 17th October 2016 by Seb Murray
B-school venture Made of Genes scoops award from The MIT Technology Review
Oscar Flores Guri, left, and co-founder Miquel Bru
An ESADE EMBA has been named one of Spain’s top-ten innovators under the age of 35, in an award whose past global winners include Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the entrepreneurs behind companies such as Paypal and Uber.
Oscar Flores co-founded Made of Genes with his former ESADE EMBA classmate Miquel Bru.
The MIT Technology Review, a leading journal in the tech and innovation field, draws up a list of 300 the world’s most talented entrepreneurs under 35 each year.
The judging panel has two criteria in whittling down the list to 10 winners: Individual talent, and the project’s scope for changing society.
Made of Genes created a pioneering world model for DNA analysis that does away with the need to sequence the same genome twice for two different tests.
The Spain-based company has just concluded a funding round of €500,000 and is currently undertaking international expansion.
Oscar, who holds a PhD in biomedicine, met his co-founder and began work on the venture during ESADE’s EMBA program in Barcelona.
“Despite my scientific and technical background as a computing engineer and researcher at IRB Barcelona, I have always been attracted by the world of business. The training I was given at ESADE was vital for making this project a success,” Oscar says.
Miquel added: “This project began in ESADE classes as just another MBA assignment. But it was the ESADE project validation and methodology that told us that we could turn our dream into a reality.”
The pair illustrate the strength of the entrepreneurial ecosystem at ESADE, and the growth in number of executives who are using b-school to launch their own ventures. The business school is home to ESADECREAPOLIS, an innovation ecosystem for students and companies, and EGarage, a space designed for the cultivation of new start-ups.
In June, ESADE was ranked third in Europe for entrepreneurship by the FT.
“Since our founding over 50 years ago, entrepreneurship has always been in our DNA,” says Luisa Alemany, director general of the ESADE Entrepreneurship Institute.
“In the programs that we teach, in our research, and in all of our activities to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem, we strive to go as far as possible by creating networks of collaboration. Making the global top 10 encourages us to keep doing what we love every single day.”
Published in Business Because on Monday 10th October 2016 by Marco de Novellis
Linda Ferstl studies alongside a senior sales role at luxury group Festina
Linda is an EMBA student at ESADE Business School in Spain Linda Ferstl is kick-starting her career with an Executive MBA at ESADE Business School in Spain. Linda is senior export area manager at the Festina Group, a luxury giant at the forefront of the watchmaking sector. There, she manages relationships with distributors in Eastern and Central Europe, Scandinavia and Russia. In charge of the key accounts of major duty free and inflight clients, she’s increased sales by an impressive 30% over the past three years.
She has vast international experience working in Asia, Europe and the US. But even so, the ESADE EMBA has opened up her horizons. During her studies, she’s travelled to Brazil, India, and undertaken an entrepreneurship and innovation program in Boston, USA. Plus, her class is truly international, comprised of leading executives from over 19 different countries. Previously a global brand manager for Esprit Watches in Hong Kong, Linda relocated to Barcelona and took up a role at Festina. Now, with an EMBA at ESADE, she wants to strengthen her knowledge of global strategic management and take her career to the next level.
Why did you decide to pursue an EMBA at ESADE?
I have always planned to go back to university, waiting for the right time and city to combine work and studies. Having more than 11 years global working experience, the International Executive MBA was the most relevant to my level of experience and my career goals. Besides location and reputation of the university the most important factors for me were how international the course is and how the schedule is compatible with my work. On top of this, I was looking for a mix of theory, case studies and practical application, as opposed to purely focusing on case studies. ESADE was the school that best met my criteria. The monthly format gives me the necessary availability for my job and the entrepreneurial focus of the university was also attractive to me.
What should EMBA applicants consider when deciding on a program?
The main criteria I would recommend are the language of the program, schedule, financial investment, teaching method, and specializations of different programs, and of course rankings are also important. After that, the choices become more the matter of personal preferences, such as choosing between online, in-person, weekly, bi-weekly and monthly MBA, EMBA, GMBA programs. Once shortlisted, visit the top universities of your choice, participate in welcome days and sit in the lectures to experience first-hand the atmosphere. Talk to other students, alumni and get as much personal feedback as possible.
What have you gained from your EMBA experience so far?
I have gained a tremendous knowledge upgrade and I have received insights into different business areas and functions. We have learned new business strategy and leadership methods all of which I can apply directly in my daily work. I also served as a class delegate for two consecutive terms, which allowed me to engage actively with the university and improve diplomacy, negotiation and social skills. The MBA has provided a safe haven to take on different roles and responsibilities, get feedback, and step out of my comfort zone. I have learned a lot about myself–about my strengths and weaknesses, about how my actions impact others–all of this forms a stronger, more conscious and empathic me. I can see my growth with every month into the program, both personally and professionally.
What international experiences are on offer?
I have been in one week in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Mumbai /Hyderabad (India) and did a three-day elective seminar in Corporate Entrepreneurship at SDA Bocconi. During the summer break, I participated in a two-week Entrepreneurship and Innovation study tour to Boston where we visited incubators and accelerators like Mass Challenge and Venture Café, MIT MediaLab, Harvard Innovation Lab and other members of the Boston community. Getting such first-hand insight into an incredible eco-system for innovation and entrepreneurship was mind blowing. Next, I will do another elective in Digital Marketing at Rotterdam School of Management and will close the program with a week in Georgetown, USA.
What are your plans for the future?
I seek to gain more international experience – change gives me drive and opens new perspectives. I am targeting a position where I can lead a team and work cross-functional. I seek to be involved in the creation of new business divisions, organizational units or finding new business opportunities. I want to see the impact of my work, build and guide teams. One option is to pursue my career in the luxury, fashion sector. Besides that, the EMBA at ESADE has also broadened my vision to see outside of my current role and sector. The corporate sustainability lecture in the MBA was very engaging and made me curious about exploring potential opportunities in this increasingly important business field.
Published in Business Because on Tuesday 27th September 2016 by Christian Robinson
Bruno Balbás and his co-founders have already produced two million bottles of Sangría Lolea
Bruno and three colleagues launched Sangría Lolea during their Executive MBAs at ESADE
Alcohol and business school don’t usually mix well, but for Bruno Balbás, things were a little different.
His Executive MBA from ESADE Business School brought with it a massive career change. Having previously worked in hospitality management, in 2011 Bruno and three friends founded Sangría Lolea, the world’s first gourmet sangría.
Consisting of red wine, chopped fruit and brandy, sangría is an immensely popular drink in Spain and Portugal, with an increasing worldwide presence.
In the midst of the global economic crisis and overshadowed by the inexpensive and omnipresent Don Simón brand, Bruno originally found it tough to convince retailers that Sangría Lolea was worth spending the extra money on.
With over two million bottles sold and a presence in more than 40 countries, it’s safe to say that Bruno has overcome those teething problems. On the horizon is a restaurant chain, although Bruno’s primary aim is to consolidate Lolea’s position in the market.
Where did the idea for Sangría Lolea come from?
I started Sangría Lolea with three of my good friends – Nieves, Cheles and Javier. It came from our collective need to recover from a global economic crisis.
In 2011, we began to think about what we could do to push our careers outside the company we all worked for. The company in question, like so many others at the time, had to drastically cut its budget.
As a consequence, we suddenly became unable to implement our many ideas, because there was little support available.
We wanted to continue creating new experiences and projects for clients, but the message we received continuously from our bosses was that people didn’t want new things, that people were too sad.
It was at that point we started to dream about creating our own business.
What are the main challenges you’ve faced so far?
In 2012, when we were contacting retailers about our new gourmet sangría, their only point of reference was Don Simón, the low-cost boxed sangría.
Once we had bottled Sangría Lolea, it had a price similar to that of a premium wine. We therefore had to convince traditional retailers that we had invented a new category, that of gourmet sangría.
Our last challenge was to try to explain our history and the values of this new product to the market.
We overcame these problems through use of the Internet, social media and doses of originality in our communication campaigns, but also because we were convinced of the eventual success of the high-quality product we were offering.
Why did you decide to pursue an Executive MBA?
When you’ve been working in the same job for ten years, you start to feel that your career might be becoming too specialized, and you begin to feel the need to open up to new opportunities.
That’s exactly what happened to me, and an Executive MBA was the logical response.
Why was ESADE the right school for you?
Of all the business schools that were accessible to me, ESADE was the most open-minded in terms of education, as it placed a high value on people both individually and as part of a community.
From the very beginning, I felt like I was part of a team of people characterized by mutual support.
Published in TopMBA on Friday the 16th of September by Visnja Milidragovic
Gaurav Jain spent more than a decade working as a process management consultant assisting technology companies in India and Denmark in their attempts to get more ‘lean’. Now, a newfound perspective has led him to pursue an executive MBA as he seeks to bring about a career change. His aim is to become an entrepreneur who strives to help society as a whole function more efficiently and sustainably. Because of Gaurav’s efforts to date in this pursuit, working with various NGOs, he has been awarded a QS Community Scholarship, valued at US$2,000, which will go toward his ESADE executive MBA, the next step towards his future as a change maker.
A father of two daughters, Gaurav spent years building a successful career in IT. Over the years, however, his daily commute in urban centers of Pune and Kolkata, India, exposed him to a different kind of problem: One concerned with social issues, rather than the business operations that he handled daily in his work at IBM.
“Every day, from home to the office and back,” Gaurav reflects, “I was seeing kids on the side of the road who will never have the same starting opportunities as my daughters, because they don’t have any access to quality education.” Inspired by this realization – that missing this crucial aspect in one’s upbringing could mean, “getting on the wrong trajectory in life” – Gaurav began to turn his efforts towards helping underprivileged children.
Gaurav identified Akanksha Foundation, a local charity that helps Indian children with English language skills and was intending to donate money to its cause. However, he quickly learned that giving time – rather than money – would have more impact. Starting out as a volunteer teacher, his personal goal to help children in India “get a few steps closer to an equal starting line in life,” increasingly began to inform his professional aspirations. When he transferred to IBM’s Copenhagen office, he continued volunteering for an organization with similar aims, called Action Child Aid. However, this international move had much bigger implications on his career trajectory than a simple office change or new volunteer engagement. It inspired Gaurav to reevaluate the social impact of his work. “There is always a point in your career where you feel stagnant, and want to do more than just the job,” he adds.
International exposure key to solving problems innovatively, says Gaurav
Gaurav’s experience working between two continents has given him a newfound perspective on both his career and his life purpose. “I think studying and working in different places definitely opens your mind to think differently – and innovatively – about situations and ways of resolving a problem,” he says. Gaurav’s international exposure emboldened him to think more globally and contextualize his professional capacity within larger social issues. “My international exposure and living in different places really helped me become more open and think more about problems prevailing in society,” Gaurav explains. In examining ways in which he could apply his existing skills in a more meaningful way, he reflected on his career in IT and decided it was time for a career change – or rather, a reboot – towards becoming a social entrepreneur. Having identified gaps in his own skillset, he then decided that it was time to get more formal business training. It was time for an MBA.
Elective Exchange Program SDA Bocconi, September 2016
Opportunities are everywhere; you just have to grab them. One of the great possibilities the EMBA at ESADE offers is to participate in a study abroad program in other renowned business schools around the world. From multiple courses and schools one can select the elective which suits best its time and study plan and once accepted the adventure can begin.
I was lucky to be one of five ESADE students selected for SDA Bocconi electives in September 2016 for the course “Corporate Entrepreneurship”. The participants in this seminar came from all over the world: Besides Global and Executive MBA students from SDA Bocconi, people came from UCLA (USA), Mumbai (India), Recanti (Tel Aviv), ESADE (Barcelona) and a few executives were send directly from their companies. Italians, Israelis, Spanish, Germans, Belgians, Luxemburgish, Indians and a Danish professor created a enormous diversity of experiences, nationalities, professions, industries and cultural backgrounds, enriching any group work or class discussion.
During two and a half days we were able to really evolve into the subject, to approach the topic corporate entrepreneurship from different perspectives, learned theoretical models, benchmarks from innovation leaders and understand through case studies different ways of practical applications. The fact that we had people in the class who were entrepreneurs, working in start ups, incubators or leading innovation centres in their companies fused the discussions with actual issues, successes and failures.
Doing all this in a new learning environment with new study colleagues created an exciting experience that I can just recommend anyone who is given the possibility. Electives abroad are not only connecting the best business schools in the world but creating a sense of community by bringing international students closer together, enhancing cultural understanding and creating global networks that might evolve in new partner- and friendships. Isn’t that what an MBA student should aim for?
The origins of the company Made of Genes date back to 2013, when Oscar Flores (Calella, Barcelona, 1985) and Miquel Bru (Barcelona, 1978) (then both unknown) decided to take the ESADE Executive MBA. It was in the Business Development Project course, taught by Prof. Jordi Vinaixa, that they met and they got the idea for what would become their company several years later and take up a big part of their lives. Miquel came from the business development field in a technology consulting firm focusing on the Health Sector. Oscar had just finished his PhD and Bio-Medicine in a joint programme between IRB Barcelona and the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre.
We spoke to Oscar and Miquel, two of our ‘changers’ to find out about the project that they started in ESADE’s classrooms and which has ended up as a firm with a bright future.
How did Made of Genes come about?
Oscar Flores [OF]: Made of Genes is a firm focusing on personal genetics. Here, one should remember that genetics is involved in 9 out of 10 of the main causes of death in developed countries. Nevertheless, personalised genetic medicine still needs to overcome several hurdles: the high cost of gene sequencing, the technological complexity of managing the resulting data, and the lack of knowledge of the field by both health professionals and by society in general. In Made of Genes, we try to find answers to these problems, providing technical tools and a legal framework so that experts’ knowledge reaches the man in the street. There are now eleven of us in the company, we have secured over €600,000 in funding and we are laying the ground for the firm’s internationalisation.
Miquel Bru [MB]: The truth is, the whole thing started as just another assignment in the Master’s programme but Oscar’s vision hooked me from the outset. It was not just a question of solving technical problems — that was the easy bit. The hard part lay coming up with a package that: both fostered tailor-made care for each patient and put the patient’s health and illness first. Moreover, this had to be based on knowledge of the patient’s genome and the testing had to be responsible, efficient, protect users and be sustainable in system terms.
In broad terms, how does Made of Genes work at the technical level?
MB: There are studies suggesting that less than 30% of prescription medicines are effective due to individual variations. This makes one realise that we are not all the same and that the differences between individuals should be taken into account. This is the idea that led us to develop the technological part of our product: a high-performance computing system that allows one to obtain, analyse and store genetic data from a saliva or blood sample. We use the system to provide medical specialists, researchers and customised health services with this genetic data as and when each user wishes. We offer preventive solutions and diagnostic support, and personalised services/products created specifically for each user depending on his genotype. Each person decides what should be done with his genetic data and we do our utmost to carry those wishes out while ensuring complete security and privacy. This ensures that our customers can receive medical care that is both personalised and precise.
On your web site, you argue that “Everyone should be given the chance of improving his or her life”. How do you see this democratisation of technology at Made of Genes?
MB: To answer that, let me put the Health Sector in context. According to the OECD, public spending alone on Health rose from 6.9 % of GDP to almost 9 % in 2030 and will rise to 14 % by 2060. We live in a society that is ever more demanding when it comes to Health Care. In a globalised world in which knowledge flows freely, we have to come up with strategies that allow efficient Health Care through policies and tools that focus on preventive medicine, more effective treatment and the re-use of information by various service providers.
OF: At Made of Genes we have always wanted to provide personalised medicine based on Genomics. That is why our model puts the client first. There are many companies, especially in The United States, which have seen the value of genome data and which gather personal information to commercially exploit it later on. We have always shunned this model. We want to create a genomic service that anyone can use without renouncing privacy, and always have the final say in what information is released and to whom.
You met each other taking an Executive MBA [EMBA] programme at ESADE. What made you decide to take it?
OF: I always knew that I wanted to work in business. I am a Computer Engineer and when I was finishing my degree, I began a diploma in Business Studies, which I dropped when I decided to do a PhD. It was then that I decided to do an MBA on finishing my thesis.
MB: For me, the key factor was the need for a change. After five years working in consultancy, I wanted new challenges and goals. However, I thought that just a change of job was not the answer. I needed to think, acquire knowledge and pool experience with others before taking the next step. Here, the ESADE EMBA seemed just the ticket.
Did you want to become entrepreneurs before you took the ESADE EMBA programme? What influence did the EMBA have on your project?
MB: No, I wasn’t thinking about starting my own business, rather it was part of the process I just mentioned. The EMBA is not an Academic Master’s programme but a change process that gives you the tools to reflect and to plan your next objectives. With regard to how much the EMBA affected our project, it all began as just another assignment and a year and a half later, we are striving to make the dream come true. I don’t think we would be where we are now if it had not been for the EMBA programme.
OF: I had also neither thought about founding a company and in fact I am still surprised at doing so. In the beginning, it was simply a capstone project. We had found we had too good an opportunity to let it slip through our hands. I suppose that the EMBA programme gave me the self-confidence I needed to tackle something as inherently risky as founding a start-up.
What knowledge and values did you acquire during the EMBA programme and that you applied in setting up Made of Genes?
OF: Made of Genes is a firm that is inspired by the Lean Start-up model. We began with an idea and its corresponding Business Model Canvas. Then, after several validations of the idea, we varied it up to eight times until we found a value proposition where we could say to ourselves: “That’s the idea, now let’s register a company”. We then carried out several more iterations of the idea and honed our vision in the light of market feedback and the resources we had available. Nevertheless, having a flexible, dynamic vision at the outset was vital. With hindsight, the first seven business models would not have worked in the real world.
MB: Yes, that’s absolutely right. The obsession with validating the model and focusing on the market has become of part of Made of Genes‘ DNA. It is something that we have established as ‘best practice’ among our various work teams. The key is to meet users’ real needs in which technology has to solve problems, not create them.
What changes has taking the EMBA made to your careers? Did it mark a watershed in your lives?
OF: It certainly made a huge difference. When I joined the MBA programme, my view of things was an entirely technical one. For me, the technical aspects were the most important things about a product and I naively believed that a good product would sell itself. After completing EMBA, I no longer thought that. I had become aware that the market and sales strategy are much more important than the product. Paradoxically, I believe that having the new vision of the market helps technical types like me to identify real needs and thereby develop better products.
MB: The key point is the 360-degree vision EMBA gives you in a classroom with 50 professionals drawn from different backgrounds and experience. In the year and a half that the programme lasts, you take this in and it changes your way of seeing a company and helps you grasp and take decisions far beyond your context or position. Having founded a start-up marks a watershed in one’s personal and professional development. Why would you recommend taking the EMBA?
MB: Taking the EMBA is a unique opportunity for personal, professional and intellectual growth. I would recommend it to anyone who is eager to grow and learn in ways that go beyond the strictly academic.
OF: As I mentioned, I believe that the EMBA programme is a way of giving a technical type like me the tools they need to thrive in senior management. To be honest, I would not recommend EMBA for everyone merely as a way to get a better job. I think such an approach is the wrong one and that there are many other ways of climbing the ladder — for example, through professional specialisation. An EMBA is a way of getting a better grasp of business complexity while renouncing greater specialisation. If you aim to get this wider grasp of business, the EMBA programme is undoubtedly one of the best investments in time and money that you can make.
How would you sum up your experience as entrepreneurs? What would you say to someone who was thinking of setting up his or her own company?
MB: Entrepreneurship is a way of life for us. We think about Made of Genes 24 hours a day. Passion for one’s project is vital for anyone thinking of starting their own business. Second, I recommend that the decision be a family one. Do not even think about starting a business unless your wife or husband is willing to back you to the hilt. Last, when it comes to finding those who will help you along the way, seek people who complement your skills, who you can rely on, trust and learn from.
OF: I would ask someone thinking of beginning a firm whether they are just looking for a job tailored to their needs or for a scaleable solution to a social problem. They are two very different notions of entrepreneurship and involve different levels of risk and self-sacrifice. When it comes to scaleable business models, we in Spain cannot afford to continue thinking only about the domestic market. This means that we need to plan internationalising our business from the outset despite limited resources and access to funding. Whether we like it or not, we still have a lot of catching up to do when we compare how things work in the start-up eco-system in The United States.
Pubblished in Cinco Días on Monday the 19th August 2016 by Javier García Ropero
MBA programmes are considered the best training option for would-be senior managers yet they can also be a great place to start a small business. One such company — Brava Fabrics — was born in the ESADE MBA programme. It makes printed shirts (whether with bicycle or cassette designs) which are unique. The firm has made a splash in under a year and a half after being set up. Its founders, Ramón Barbero and Ivan Monells met while working together in the EMBA programme.
Ramón Barbero, on the left, and Ivan Monells, partners of Brava Fabrics. (Marta Jordi).
The firm’s garments have a ‘hipster’ touch, although both Brava Fabrics‘ founders are loathe to pigeon-hole their customers. “We want customers to love our style. The aim is not for customers to buy just a great shirt but rather to wear a ‘Brava’ on special occasions, explained Ramón Barbero, a 36-year old who trained as an Economist and who looks after the firm’s branding. His partner, 30-year old Ivan Monells, is an Industrial and Computing Engineer who takes care of the logistical and financial sides of the business. The two men have different backgrounds but they found that their skills nicely complemented one another when they worked together on the EMBA Capstone Project.
The Brava showroom is sited in Indiana House, in the Poble-Nou district of Barcelona.
It was then that they decided to work together on a new venture after trying their hands at various on-line businesses on their own. The earlier experiences helped them learn and see things more clearly. One of the things they saw from the outset was that the new business had to be based on E-Commerce. They studied various sectors and realised that men’s fashion had bags of potential. “We chose shirts because it is a product that creates barriers to entry. You know that others are not going to copy your products — at least in the short term”, said Ramón Barbero. They scraped together their savings and got a couple of entrepreneurship loans to create Brava. In the beginning, the printing was not going to be the differentiating feature. “However, we quickly saw that it was what made the product a hit”, said Barbero, who noted that the company’s shirt designs are agreed on by the whole team, which comprises three members of staff and two outsiders.
This year, they hope turnover will rise to €600,000, a big rise over 2015 (€150,000). Their sales are made through the on-line channel, while 15% of sales are split between their Barcelona showroom and various marketing campaigns, such as city market stalls. Last year, the company was present in both Palo Alto and Barcelona, helping fuel the company’s launch.
This growth has helped boost production. They bring out four collections a year, which now feature 10,000 garments apiece. However, they also come up with new products every two months. “That means our products change every month, spurring customers to keep spending”, said Barbero. Short-sleeved shirts, Bermuda Shorts, men’s underwear, and women’s dresses and blouses make up a range of the firm’s highly distinctive garments. The next step will be to expand the firm’s equity in 2017.
Published in Poets and Quants on Sunday 12nd June 2016 by Jeff Schmitt
“The ESADE EMBA taught me to think differently. It gave me the ability to focus on what’s important, plus the ability to look further, from a different point of view. It also taught me to make decisions with limited information. Instead of being afraid of that, I have learned how to make the most of it and optimise it.”
Paula Lafora Ornosa
ESADE Business School
Location: Madrid, Spain
Undergraduate School and Degree: Business and Administration at Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Where are you currently working? Horizontal Project Manager in Customer Management at Iberia Airlines
Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: Member of Yaakar Africa, an NGO that develops various projects in Senegal, helping people who have nothing to develop their own businesses, such as farming, selling marmalade and juice, sewing, and dressmaking. The organisation provides these communities with medical materials and school supplies, and it also opens internet centres in rural communities. In addition, it helps people who wish to continue their studies by providing scholarships so that they can graduate.
Active participation in Foro Generación del 78, an association that provides a venue for young professionals and entrepreneurs to meet with political, social, and business leaders and to learn from their experience and knowledge.
Specific collaborations with Exodus Rescue and Care, an association founded in March 2015 that aims to promote and defend the rights of every person — especially children — considered to be a refugee.
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? In the ninth month of the EMBA, my company offered me a promotion and I joined the new Customer Management unit as Horizontal Project Manager. This position allows me to apply some of the knowledge and experiences I acquired in the ESADE EMBA.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am very proud of being part of my company’s transformation plan: Iberia’s Plan de Futuro. I joined the project at the beginning, in April 2013. In 2012, the company had reported a significant loss.
The transformation plan aimed to introduce permanent structural change across all areas of the business in order to stem losses and return the airline to profitability, which happened in 2014. Iberia’sPlan de Futuro was led by our CEO, Luis Gallego, and our CFO, Javier Sánchez Prieto. The plan was coordinated by Strategic Management. As I said before, I joined it at the outset, so I had the opportunity to be involved in defining the plan. The Plan de Futuro was structured with 32 initiatives spread throughout the organisation and was driven by “change engines” (directors who were able to look beyond the day-to-day work in order to draw up a medium-term strategy). I was responsible for follow-up, monitoring and challenges in the transformation process in the sales, handling and internal communication areas.
The entire organisation worked very hard, and we are still working hard to consolidate our good results and achieve sustainable growth. Thanks to Plan de Futuro, we lay the foundation for the launch.
Favorite MBA Courses? Advanced Marketing Management, Corporate Finance, Corporate Responsibility, Economics and Geopolitics, as well as the learning experience in India.