IESE Case Earns EFMD Award

"Voltium, Inc." receives 2012 Case Writing Competition prize



The case "Voltium, Inc.," written by IESE professors José Ramón Pin, Guido Stein and Juan Carlos Vázquez-Dodero in collaboration with Eloy del Potro, has been recognized by the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) as the best publication in the 2012 Case Writing Competition in the category of "Responsible Leadership." Winners of the prize were announced today.

The case analyzes the influence of circumstantial and cultural factors in making certain types of business decisions. It is based on a real experience of a participant in IESE's Executive MBA program who consulted his "Making Prudent Decisions" professor about the situation described in the case. After that consultation, professors Pin, Stein and Vázquez-Dodero, in collaboration with Prof. Joan Fontrodona, decided they should turn the story – highly instructive from a management point of view – into an IESE case.

According to Prof. Vázquez-Dodero, the most difficult aspect of writing the case was "reflecting on the African continent’s situation, which can only really be described by someone who has experienced it first-hand."

In addition to questions of discretion, he said, perhaps the greatest challenge was to help the reader understand a scenario so fundamentally different from our own, in terms of values, points of reference and social organization - an environment in which global executives must nonetheless increasingly learn to move.

For Prof. Pin, "the knowledge accumulated by IESE over many years of studying business cases focused on ethics was fundamental in writing the case." The story also has the freshness of the real experience of a student, "who knew how to see that a business venture is an educational path, if one has adequate moral cognizance and the courage to apply it."

Prof. Stein stressed that the case "provides important insights on personal risks that are sometimes assumed without proper analysis," when confronting financial, commercial, operative and even ethical challenges in business.

The work of the entire faculty

The three professors agreed that the EFMD prize underscores the efforts of IESE's entire faculty to re- view a series of principles that place people and their real needs and dignity at the center of business activity. As Prof. Vázquez-Dodero explained, "it is not easy to renew concepts, many of which have been around for 2,500 years. The disorientation we have fallen into requires us to revive some essential fundamental conceptions of the human person, society and work."

Winners in the different categories of the prize now aspire to be awarded the "Best of the Best" prize, which will be announced at the end of April and will be presented at the 2013 EFMD Annual Conference, June 9-11 in Brussels.