The 12th Global Executive MBA Class celebrated its graduation ceremony after 18 months of coursework at IESE’s global campus in locations ranging from Barcelona to Bangalore. Families and friends from all over the world attended the event, as professor Sandra Sieber acknowledged in her opening speech, thanking them for the support, patience, and care they’ve given the graduating students throughout the program.
Prof. Sieber, Academic Director of the program, encouraged the class that current difficult times call for good, sensitive leaders, and that it’s their turn to “take an active role to push the world forward.” She also asked them to nurture the global friendship they’ve developed with their classmates, a special feature of the Global Executive MBA.
Along the same lines, the president of the 2012 class, Fernando Garro, praised the respect for others’ ideas he and his classmates have learned, while quoting a Chinese proverb to describe the best approach to what lies ahead: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
In his keynote address at the Global Executive MBA 2012 Graduation Ceremony, president of Schneider Electric España and IESE alumnus Julio Rodríguez reminded the graduating class of qualities that are essential for leaders like them today. Rodríguez, a board member of one of Europe’s leading manufacturing companies, graduated from IESE fifteen years ago and thus addressed the 12th Global Executive MBA class from an experienced perspective.
Rodríguez still remembers the admonition an IESE professor gave him when he was a student, to remember that in positions of senior management, “vanity is an enemy lurking at every turn.” The only way to counter this is through humility and modesty, which lays the foundation for good leadership, according to the keynote speaker. The reason being that it is fundamentally about focusing on others first, and creating environments which help them achieve success.
Rodríguez encouraged the graduating class to remember that their contribution to society will come only through “sustained effort.” The backdrop of a difficult economic situation in Europe could set the stage for a pessimistic attitude, but we cannot surrender to discouragement, he said. Instead, leaders must rise above and look to innovate at all times, through the ups and downs in the market, in all types of companies. With patience, determination, and passion, we can adapt and contribute to these new times, he concluded.
Finally, Dean Jordi Canals closed the ceremony, emphasizing the importance of respect as the gateway to “a renewed sense of optimism in the human spirit” that is much needed in the business world today. He called for an ongoing contribution and friendship from the graduating class, reminding them that “IESE is, and always will be, their home.”