Archivo por Autor

LGBT MBAs Fly to London for the EurOut Conference

The weekend of November 18, a group of eight MBA students from the 1st and 2nd years, as well as one MSc and one BBA student, flew to London for the annual EurOut Conference. EurOut is Europe’s leading LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) MBA conference hosted by London Business School. Read the rest of this entry »

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Understanding the sports business ecosystem with Sebastián Lancestremère, Sports Business General Manager at Microsoft Corporation

Sebastián Lancestremère at ESADESebastián Lancestremère, Sports Business General Manager at Microsoft Corporation, participated in a Sport Business Management class session of The ESADE MBA to talk about innovation in the sports industry and how technology, business and product/service innovations are already changing the world of sports as we know it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Understanding the sports business ecosystem with Pau Serracanta, Managing Director of Dorna Sports

Pau Serracanta at ESADEPau Serracanta, Managing Director of Dorna Sports, visited our Full-Time MBA students during a session of the Sports Business Management elective course at ESADE. Serracanta explained the “nuts and bolts” of hosting sporting events, including the importance of defining the event’s strategy; how to successfully navigate the bidding process; the necessary preparation, operations and logistics to make the event a success; and the “legacy” left behind after the curtain has closed on a major event. Read the rest of this entry »

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Understanding the reality of the sports business ecosystem

By Carles Cantó

ESADE Business SchoolThe sports industry accounts for around 1.5% of the global GDP. In some countries – for example, China, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar – it is a strategic driver of growth, from a social angle as well as an economic perspective. The sports arena consists of a variety of “pieces” that, when put together, constitute the sports business ecosystem. Read the rest of this entry »

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Leading Futures: an ESADE Full-Time MBA student initiative aimed at bringing innovation to companies

160 students from six business schools and 15 companies participated in Leading Futures, a conference and case competition organised by students in the ESADE Full-Time MBA

Bringing innovation to companies: that was the aim of Leading Futures, a conference and case competition organised by Full-Time ESADE MBA students. The event involved 160 students from ESADE Business School, Bocconi University, Amsterdam Business School (ABS), McGill University, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Georgetown University. “The Leading Futures conference is a brilliant student-run initiative,” explained Prof. Luis Vives, Associate Dean of the ESADE MBA. Read the rest of this entry »

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By Franziska Ewald, ESADE MBA Programme Manager

I have often been asked why I volunteer in another country when there are many problems closer to home – in fact, I have long asked myself the same question. Read the rest of this entry »

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Business schools, forced to update

Cinco Días, January 10, 2016
uis Vives , Associate Professor in the Department of Strategy and General Management Read the rest of this entry »

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ESADE study: Spain is among the top 5 countries that attract the most international talent to MBA programmes

Spain is #4 on the list of countries that attract the most international talent to MBA programmes, outranked only by the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, making it the #1 European country, ahead of 5th-ranked France. Barcelona, meanwhile, is #8 on the list of cities that attract the most international MBA students and #1 in Europe per million inhabitants, ahead of Paris and London.

These are just a few highlights from the MBA City Monitor, a new report coordinated by Ivan Bofarull, Director of the Global Intelligence Office at ESADE. The report analyses the capacity of cities and countries to attract international students to MBA programmes ranked by the Financial Times and highlights opportunities that cities and countries ought to seize.

According to the MBA City Monitor, the list of the top 10 cities with the highest proportion of international MBA students also includes Singapore, San Francisco, Toronto, Chicago, New York and Boston.

The east coast of the United States and Canada remains the number-one destination for international talent in MBA programmes, although the San Francisco–Silicon Valley area has been the fastest growing region over the past three years. Finally, the report found that MBA graduates have increasingly come to see working at a start-up as a top career choice.


A strategic asset

“In Barcelona, we’ve seen that around 10% of MBA students from the city’s main business schools go on to become entrepreneurs, and 80% to 95% of them are international,” commented Ivan Bofarull, Director of the Global Intelligence Office at ESADE and coordinator of the study.

“In Europe and Barcelona, the general pool of next-generation start-ups isn’t large enough for us to evaluate the impact of high-quality international talent – especially MBA students,” commented Mr. Bofarull. “However, we suspect that the major trends are similar to those seen in the United States, where a large percentage of start-ups are founded by foreigners and, although most MBA graduates are not start-up founders, they do play an instrumental role in the success of the ecosystem as a whole.”

“The attraction of global MBA talent should be taken into account when assessing a city’s potential to create new entrepreneurial initiatives that can have an impact on the creation of high-quality jobs,” added Mr. Bofarull. “From an administrative point of view, we should try to make life easier for this new segment so that it can generate business opportunities.”

The report concludes that in countries like Spain and France – which have troubled labour markets and are struggling to be leaders in innovation – the MBA population should clearly be considered a strategic asset.

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The ESADE MBA – Your Passport to a World of Possibilities

Today’s business world needs managers who can offer a global perspective when making complex decisions. With 95% international students on our MBA programme, and more than 70 nationalities on campus, you’ll start to learn about the way business is done in other cultures from your first day in class.

And if you want to enhance your global profile by seeing the world first-hand, we offer:

  • Study tours: Explore other business cultures and understand how companies operate in different countries.
  • Career treks: Visit companies and make contacts around the world.
  • Exchange programme: Spend three or four months at one of our 40 partner schools.
  • Internship: Access internships around the world, put your knowledge into practice and gain experience.
Darío Altman (Argentina/Chile, Class of 2016) takes you on two treks to Finland and Israel, on internship to India and if that weren’t enough, to the MBA Tournament in Paris! 3 continents in one year: travel the world with the ESADE MBA!
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Welcome! ESADE Full Time MBA Class of 2017

And before you know it the next batch of MBAs are bound, by the bus-load, to Vichy Catalan hotel in Girona for two fun-packed days of teambuilding and breaking the ice, organized by the second years who can’t quite believe a year has passed since they were doing the very same thing.

The excitement is palpable. An MBA is of course something that often takes years of planning and once it starts, many can’t believe they’ve actually made the leap.

A class of 167 MBAs, yet more international than the last, spanning 50 nationalities and a whopping 94%international students, packed into a tight-knit, select classroom of the very best.

Here’s a closer look at what this class looks like in numbers:
























Check out this short video to get a feel for Welcome Week yourself!


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Needs to be CERN to be believed!

CERN, as the world’s most renowned research laboratory specializing in nuclear research and with possibly the most advanced technology on the planet, needs no introduction from us, but has recently opened its doors to a lucky few students from our MBA programme, marking the start of ongoing collaboration between ESADE and this world-renowned research centre. This, the first year has seen our teams of MBAs working on four projects with a socially responsible focus: Food security, Sensing Interactions, Sensing Spaces, Exoskeletal Movement Aid.

Our MBAs will work together with others from the European Institute of Design (IED) in Barcelona, and UPC (Polytechnic University of Catalonia), combining business expertise, design thinking and engineering profiles for the optimum result.

There are no limits to what our students can imagine and achieve with the help of CERN’s technology, and the results have proven to be quite spectacular.

Take a look at this videoto discover just what this project has been all about, and join our MBA programme to get involved yourself!

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Meaningful Institute & The ESADE MBA

Meet Eduardo, Júlia and Jim, 3 of a four-strong multicutural team of MBA graduates who are making a real impact. Established at ESADE Creapolis, our Centre for Open & Cross Innovation and based around the world, these 4 students have created a project that is focused on facilitating change, whether personal, in developing communities or within companies. Hear their story.


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ESADE Chinese-speaking students meet up for the first time

ESADE’s Chinese-speaking community is growing every year, giving rise to a tight-knit group able to share experiences in Barcelona. As graduates accept positions all around the world, the network continues to be a key component of their international studies, even after their programmes have ended.

With this in mind, ESADE recently organized a tour of Barcelona for all of its Chinese-speaking students. The tour was based on the popular Chinese TV series “Meteor Garden 2”, and students were taken to various Barcelona landmarks, including Parc Güell, Sagrada Familiaand the Canaletes fountain, among others.

ESADE partners with top programmes in mainland China (Guanghua School of Management, Tsinghua University, Fudan University, the China Europe International Business School), Hong Kong (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the Chinese University of Hong Kong) and elsewhere in Asia. This year, ESADE has moreover strengthened its online presence in China with the help of Zheng YanYu (’16), a full-time MBA student from China looking to complement her educational background in sports management and her experience working for FC Barcelona.

If you want to see the complete tour click here.

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Steve Blanks @ The ESADE MBA

Our MBA graduations are always a big event; families come from far and wide, we get all dressed up and our students prepare to say farewell to their classmates, with whom they have shared some of their most important life events so far.
It’s a bitter-sweet moment, filled with the emotion of having reached a huge professional and personal goal, and the sadness of moving on and leaving Barcelona and newfound friends behind.

The ESADE MBA graduation is also a time for reflection. Each year a speaker of the highest calibre comes to speak to our new graduates, and leaves them with food for thought as they embark on their new journey. This year, Steve Blank, entrepreneur, father of the LEAN startup movement and general businessman extraordinaire, graced the stage at La Llotja in Barcelona to address our students.

Take a look at this speech video here, and in text format below.*

If you want to live this incredible experience and be graduating with us next year – why wait, visit our website

*Steve Blank’s full speech:

I’d like to start with a request.

Everyone, hold your phone up in the air like this.

Now look around. In this sea of phones do you see any Blackberries? How about any Nokia phones?

Okay, you can put your phones down now but let’s keep exploring this a bit. Raise your hand if you rented a VHS tape last night? Or if you used a paper map to find your way here?

These questions and your answers lie at the heart of what I’d like to talk about with you today: the changing face of innovation and your role in it.

Let’s start with Joseph Schumpeter. I’m sure many of you have heard his name. Schumpeter was an economist who taught at Harvard in the 1930’s and 1940’s. I like the guy because he’s credited with coining the word entrepreneur. But you probably remember him as the one who proposed the theory of creative destruction.  According to Schumpeter, capitalism is an evolutionary process where new industries and new companies continually emerge to knock out the old.

Fifty years later another Harvard professor, Clayton Christensen, developed his theory ofdisruptive innovation, which actually described how creative destruction worked.

Disruptive innovation leads to the creative destruction of businesses that once seemed pre-eminent and secure.

Which brings me back to your mobile phones.

Think about this: seven years ago Nokia owned 50 percent of the handset market. Apple owned zero percent. In fact, it was only seven years ago that Apple shipped its first iPhone and Google introduced its Android operating system.

Fast-forward to today–Apple is the most profitable Smartphone company in the world and in Spain Android commands a market share of more than 90 percent. And Nokia?  Its worldwide market share of Smartphones has dwindled to five percent.

You’re witnessing creative destruction and disruptive innovation at work. It’s the paradox of progress in a capitalist economy.

So congratulations, graduates–as you move forward in your careers, you’l be face to face with innovation that’s relentless.

And that’s what I’d like to talk about today–how innovation will shape the business world of the next 50 years and what it means for you.

The Perfect Storm

Your time at ESADE has trained you to become a global business leader but the world you lead will be much different from the one your professors knew or your predecessors managed.

Just look at the disruptive challenges that businesses face today–globalization, China as a manufacturer, China as a consumer, the Internet, and a steady stream of new startups. Today’s workforce has radically different expectations, brands are losing their power, physical channels are being destroyed by virtual ones, market share is less important than market creation, and software is eating world.

Industries that we all grew up with, industries that enjoyed decades of market dominance–like newspapers, bookstores, video rentals, personal computers–are being swept away.

The convergence of digital trends along with the rise of China and globalization has upended the rules for almost every business in every corner of the globe. It’s worth noting that everything from the Internet, to electric cars, genomic sequencing, mobile apps, and social media–were pioneered by startups, not existing companies.

Perhaps that’s because where established companies might see risks or threats, startups see opportunity. As the venture capital business has come roaring back in the last five years, startups are awash in available capital. As a consequence, existing companies confront a tidal wave of competitors 100 times what they saw 25 years ago.

Efficiency over innovation

Yet in the face of all this change, traditional firms continue to embrace a management ethos that values efficiency over innovation. Companies horde cash and squeeze the most revenue and margin from the money they use. Instead of measuring success in dollars of profit, firms focus on measuring capital efficiency. Metrics like Return on Net Assets, Return on Capital and Internal Rate of Return are the guiding stars of the board and CEO.

Cheered on by finance professors, Wall Street analysts, investors and hedge funds, companies have learned how to make metrics like Internal Rate of Return look great by 1. outsourcing everything, 2. getting assets off their balance sheet, and 3. only investing in things that pay off fast.

As Harvard professor Clayton Christensen noted, these efficiency metrics provided wise guidance for times when capital was scarce and raising money was hard. But they have also stacked the deck against investment in long-term innovation.

Since the financial crisis of 2008, policy makers have kept interest rates at near zero, flooding the market with cheap money in an attempt to restart growth. In spite of this, private equity funds have used the rallying cry of efficiency to hijack corporate strategy and loot the profits that historically would have been reinvested into research and development and new products. We legalized robbing the corporate treasury. Today billions of dollars that companies could have invested in innovation are sitting in the hands of private equity funds.

Unfortunately as we’ve learned from recent experience, using Return on Net Assets and IRR as proxies for efficiency and execution won’t save a company when their industry encounters creative disruption. Ask Sony about Samsung, ask any retailer about Amazon, any car company about Tesla, and any newspaper company about the web.

The stock market clearly values companies that can deliver disruptive innovation. Look at the valuations of companies like Tesla, Illumina, and Twitter.

In fact, I predict that over the next few decades, we will see two classes of public companies. The first will be commodity businesses that are valued for their ability to execute their current business model. Their lifetime as a market leader will be measured in years. The second class will be firms with a demonstrated ability to continually innovate and reinvent their business models. The companies that can show “startup-like” growth rates of 50 percent plus per year will get stratospheric market valuations.

So I hope you are thinking–“hey how can I lead a business with startup growth?” At least I hope you’re thinking that, rather than “oops I joined the wrong company.” The question for all of you is, what will it take to inspire and manage this kind of innovation?


Before I answer that question, let’s take a minute to establish a common definition of innovation. At its most basic, innovation means to introduce something new. But in a business context, the meaning gets more nuanced. I’d like to describe the four types of innovation you can build inside a corporation:

The first type of corporate innovation is individual initiative. It’s exactly as it sounds–you build a corporate culture where anyone can suggest an idea and start a project. Some companies use a suggestion box, others like Google give employees 20 percent of their time to work on their own projects.

The second type of business innovation is called process improvement. This is the kind most of us are familiar with. Car companies introduce new models each year, running shoes grow ever lighter and more flexible, Coca-Cola offers a new version of Coke. Smart companies are always looking to make their current products better–and there are many ways to do this. For example they can reduce component cost, introduce a line extension or create new versions of the existing product. These innovations do not require change in a company’s existing business model.

This is what companies typically do to secure and defend their core business.

The third type of business innovation–continuous innovation–is much harder. Continuous innovation builds on a strength of the company’s current business model but requires that new elements be created. For example, Coke added snack foods, which could be distributed through its existing distribution channels. The Amazon Kindle played on Amazon’s strengths as a distributor of content but required developing expertise in electronics and manufacturing.

Fourth and finally is disruptive innovation. This is the innovation we associate with startups. This type of innovation creates new products or new services that did not exist before. It’s the automobile in the 1910’s, radio in the 1920’s, television in the 1950’s, the integrated circuit in the 1960’s, the fax machine in the 1970’s, personal computers in the 1980’s, the Internet in the 1990’s, and the Smartphone, human genome sequencing, and even fracking in this decade. These innovations are exactly what Schumpeter and Christensen were talking about. They create new industries and destroy existing ones. And interestingly, in spite of all their resources, large companies are responsible for very, very few disruptive innovations.

The first two types of innovation–individual and process innovation–are what good companies do well.  The third type–continuous innovation–is a hallmark of great companies like GE and Procter and Gamble.  But the fourth type of innovation–creating disruptive innovation–and doing it on a repeatable basis- is what extraordinary companies do. Apple with the iPod, iPhone and iPad; Amazon with Amazon Web Services and Kindle; Toyota with the Prius… these companies are extraordinary because, like startups, they create entirely new products and services.

ESADE and other great business schools have provided decades of advice and strategy for the first three types of innovation. But leading an existing firm to innovate like a startup is not business as usual.

Building Innovation Internally is Hard

Paradoxically, in spite of the seemingly endless resources, innovation inside of an existing company is much harder than inside a startup.  That’s because existing companies face a conundrum: Every policy and procedure that makes them efficient execution machines stifles innovation.

Think about this.  When it comes to innovation, public companies have two strikes against them.  First the markets favor capital efficiency over R&D.  And secondly, their sole purpose is to focus resources on the execution of their business model.

As a consequence, companies are optimized for execution over innovation. And to keep executing large organizations hire employees with a range of skills and competencies. To manage these employees companies create metrics to control, measure and reward execution.  But remember–in public companies financial metrics take precedence. As a result, staff functions and business units develop their own performance indicators and processes to ensure that every part of the organization marches in lock step to the corporate numbers.

These Key Performance Indicators and processes are what make a company efficient, but they are also the root cause of its inability to be agile and innovative. Every time another execution process is added, corporate innovation dies a little more.

Act Like a Startup

So how does a company act like a startup in search of new business models while still continuing to successfully execute?

First, management must understand that innovation happens not by exception but is integral to all parts of the firm. If they don’t, then the management team has simply become caretakers of the founders’ legacy. This never ends well.

Second, and maybe the most difficult, is the recognition that innovation is chaotic, messy and uncertain. Not everything will work out, but failure in innovation is not cause for firing but for learning. Managers need radically different tools to control and measure innovation. A company needs innovation policies, innovation processes and innovation incentives, to match those it already has for execution. These will enable firms to embrace innovation by design not by exception.

Third, smart companies manage an innovation portfolio where they can pursue potential disruption in a variety of ways. To build innovation internally companies can adopt the practices of startups and accelerators.  To buy innovation companies can buy intellectual property, acquire great teams, buy-out another company’s product line or even buy entire companies. And if they’re particularly challenged in a market they can acquire and integrate disruptive innovation.  My favorite example is Exxon’s $35 billion purchase of XTO Energy in large part to get their fracking expertise.

Other smart companies are learning how to use Open Innovation pioneered by Henry Chesbrough who teaches here at ESADE. They can partner with suppliers, co-create with consumers, open-source key technologies, open their application programming interfaces, or run open incubators for customer ideas.

Everything I’ve been talking about smart companies have already figured out.  Many firms are creating the new role of Chief Innovation Officer to lead and manage these innovation activities. Ultimately this is not just another staff function. The Chief Innovation Officer is a c-level executive who runs the company’s entire innovation portfolio and oversees the integration of innovation metrics and initiatives across the entire organization.

Looking forward, all of you will play a role in the future of business innovation, whether you help to accelerate it or discourage it. How can you kill innovation? Some companies have so lost the DNA for innovation they become “rent seekers.” Rent seekers fight to keep the status quo. Instead of offering better products or superior service, rent seekers hire lawyers and lobbyists to influence politicians to pass laws that block competition. The bad news here is that countries where bribes and corruption are the cost of doing business or that are dominated by organized interest groups, tend to be the economic losers. And as rent-seeking becomes more attractive than innovation, the economy falls into decline.

I know that’s not the path most of you want to take. Instead I think you want to be part of the innovation team. And if you do you are in luck. Companies need your help.

They need your help in creating new metrics to manage measure disruptive innovation.  They need your help in creating new innovation incentive systems that reward creative innovation.

And they need your help as leaders who can run companies that can both executeand innovate.

Finally, remember Innovation won’t come from plans or people outside your company  – it will be found in the people you already have inside who understand your company’s strengths and its vulnerabilities.

So in closing, let me leave you with this final thought:

A pessimist sees danger in every opportunity but an optimist.. an optimist sees opportunity in every danger.

In the last 150 years only a few generations have had the opportunity to reshape the nature of business.

Be an optimist.

Congratulations class of 2014: embrace change and lead the way.


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ESADE’s Georgia Rose

One of our very own MBA students, Ketevan Sidamonidze, from Georgia (seen here with the Georgian word for welcome on the ESADE MBA entrance wall), has recently appeared in Georgia’s Investor Magazine, talking of her ESADE experience and what the future holds. “The driving force in deciding whether to get an MBA abroad was…to gain global exposure and improve my ability to do social good”.

Georgia may be a small country, but Keti has made a big impact since being at ESADE!

Read the full interview here!

Keti Sidamonidze for Georgia’s Investor Magazine

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The Rolex MBA Regatta

Who’d have thought that an MBA would have the time or energy in their hectic schedules, burning the candle at both ends and training to take the business world by storm, to do anything but catch up on lost sleep.  Quite the opposite it seems, with many the ESADE MBA showcasing their sporting prowess with abounding vitality,  wearing the ESADE logo with pride at the several business school events held each year.  

The latest, MBA Rolex Regatta held in Portofino, Italy, where Pedro and co, sporting their ESADE kits, competed against more than 20 other business schools, placing ESADE firmly on the sailing map!

Well done to you all 🙂

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ESADE Campus Tour

We would like to share with you  each corner of our campus, so it feels like home before you get here!  A place where you’ll find everything you need, classrooms, study rooms, special areas for events, a full gym, cafeteria and much, much more.

Based in Sant Cugat, on the outskirts of Barcelona, we’re just far enough away from the city centre, in the perfect location to study and be inspired, whilst still being close enough to hop on the train and be in the bustling city of Barcelona in no time! (Barcelona and Sant Cugat are easily connected in about 20 minutes by train)

The first MBA campus with it’s finger quite literally on the pulse of business, with more than 60 start up companies sharing this Open and Cross Innovation space with our students, allowing synergies and endless possibilities for networking between students, entrepreneurs and companies from different backgrounds and with different goals.  Discover our E-Garage and ESADE Creapolis Incubator, spaces specifically designed for the budding entrepreneur to work on ideas and make them a reality.

We have been on this Campus for a year now, and so far, we are loving it!!!

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Barcelona – the home of the start up!

MBA graduate and entrepreneur Luke Miller on opening the Tech Crunch entrepreneurial event at Barcelona Activa on 13th December proudly stated of the Barcelona business scene: “We think we have the opportunity, the talent and the city that can attract amazing talent and really make this (Barcelona) the cluster of the future of Europe”.  ESADE MBA students involved in the student Entrepreneurship Club were able to contribute to the event and network with the likes of Mauricio Prieto, co-founder of e-dreams, and neighbour start-up companies based here at ESADE Creapolis, such as WorldCoo, crowd funding company who launched at the event.

The clear message here is that despite the continuing economic crisis, Barcelona is proving to be the perfect home for companies both technological and otherwise, offering a location with personality and style,  a veritable entrepreneurial hub, with places such as Barcelona Activa, 22@ and ESADE Creapolis proving that innovators and entrepreneurs are big in this city and accomplishing great things.

Barcelona, Catalonia

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ESADE’s 2nd Annual Innovation Summit – the review!

“Today, change is not a luxury, it is an absolute necessity” tweeted ESADE MBA student Khalil Alnammari from the second annual Innovation Summit held on November 16, 2012 at ESADE’s Creapolis campus. In today’s turbulent times, there is an appetite for new ideas and fresh perspectives in all areas of business from start-ups to multi-national corporations. The successful turnout at ESADE’s Innovation Summit showed that innovation is top of mind for MBAs and their future employers. The ESADE Innovation Summit combined its international student body with Design and Innovation consultants and industry experts from Healthcare, Financial Services, Consumer Goods and Smart Cities sectors. The goal was to create a mutually beneficial opportunity for students and industry practitioners by using design-thinking methods to solve current business issues. Sponsors included Claro Partners ( and KIC InnoEnergy ( In total, 18 diverse companies participated in the ESADE Innovation Summit including Telefónica, Amgen, InAtlas, and Dinube. The key speaker was Ken Morse, an advisor to Barack Obama and founder of the Innovation Lab at MIT. So what is design thinking? That question was answered by a panel of Design and Innovation consultants that included Claro Partners (, Smart Design (, A Piece of Pie ( and SY Partners ( The design thinking process puts a methodology around customer focused innovative thinking. Innovative thinking is not new but there are now dedicated, proven practices dedicated to it. The 2012 ESADE Innovation Summit provided a forum and gave participants the tools to put innovation theory into practice.

Ema Kamara (MBA on exchange from Georgetown University, USA)

For more details on the event, please see the website:

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Johnson & Johnson Case Competition win in London!

Case competitions are one of the most exciting activities of the MBA. Working with a team to finally put into practice all the abstract theory you learn in class, you have the chance to develop solutions to problems that have real impact for a company, or sometimes, if you’re lucky, for society in general. My own experiences doing case competitions last year were great, including a win in the semi-finals of the HULT case competition that brought my team all the way to Dubai, so when a 1st-year, Dana Kelley, asked if I’d help coach her team for this year’s Johnson&Johnson case competition, I jumped at the chance.

Not like I actually had to do very much! I could tell from the first meeting with Dana and her team- Michael Kuan, Claudio Silvestrin, and Christian Ludwig- that my services would hardly be needed. They were a powerhouse group from the start- a former McKinsey consultant, a healthcare expert, strong finance backgrounds, etc. But more than by their professional experience, they were best aided by their team dynamics. Their personalities and skill sets were very complementary, but it was the respectful diplomacy and camaraderie with which they related to each other that was really impressive.

Case competitions are grueling. There’s a lot of stress and self-doubt, and long nights piled on top of all the other regular classwork 1st-years have to deal with. My job was to act as a guide, essentially by asking the right questions and letting them reach their own conclusions about how best to make a particular decision. Don’t get me wrong- more than once I told them that a slide was hideous and had to be redone, or that they had a message that just wasn’t clear, but for the most part I had the pleasure of watching four excellent minds sort through reams of data, work out a solution and implementation plan, and then present it with elegance and conviction.

It was also fantastic for me to realize how much I myself had learned in one short year of the MBA. There are certain frameworks and ways of approaching tasks that I just take for granted now, which help me immeasurably in organizing my logic, which I picked up from my classes and my peers. It made me realize how much I’d actually absorbed from the MBA, and how much more confident I am now about dealing with even the thorniest business problems.


And the best part- their team won! I refuse to take any credit- they would have done just fine without me- but I feel lucky to have been welcomed in and to have passed the torch to the next generation, and I’m very proud of all they’ve accomplished.  Sooner than they realize, it will be their turn to mentor next year’s class, and to help bring home even more ESADE success stories.

Benjamin Rhatigan

Full Time MBA Class of 2013 

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