50 Years of Forging Future Leaders

Alumni explain the impact of the IESE MBA on their lives


IESE Business School

(From left to right) Tomás García Madrid, Baldomero Falcones, Fuencisla Clemares, José Antonio Segarra, María del Pino Velázquez, Antonio González-Adalid and Alejandro Beltrán, during the MBA 50th anniversary celebration / Photo: Javier Arias

Europe’s first MBA program was founded at IESE in 1964 by a group of visionary professors. To mark its 50th anniversary, IESE held a celebration on the Madrid campus. In the words of IESE dean Jordi Canals, "The launching of the MBA was the beginning of an incredible adventure."

The pillars of the program are the same now as they were half a century ago: to train executives so that they can exercise a positive influence on the world around them and make good decisions in a global environment. "We are building the future of IESE on these pillars, which were put in place 50 years ago," Canals added.

A Legacy of Values

The program has transformed the lives of more than 10,000 alumni, a group of whom shared their experiences during the celebration. They said that the school’s legacy is a set of values that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Antonio González-Adalid (MBA ‘75 and CEO of Cartera Industrial Rea) recognized IESE’s "transformational impact" on him. A naval engineer, González-Adalid arrived at the MBA with little interest in the business world. But that changed after a few months when he realized that "in business, not everything is about making a profit. We’re here because there’s something more: a higher purpose, a desire to serve."

Fuenciscla Clemares (MBA ‘00 and Google executive) and Baldomero Falcones (MBA ‘72 and president of Fomento y Expansión Empresarial SCR) agreed. Both noted that their time at IESE helped them approach problems flexibly, from a variety of perspectives. They said that the MBA experience teaches that there are other possible approaches and solutions that you hadn’t even thought of.

Tomás García Madrid (MBA ‘88 and CEO of Grupo Villar Mir) and Alejandro Beltrán (MBA ‘98 and McKinsey executive) highlighted the importance of human values and ethics in the business world. Both stressed the importance of integrity and trust. These attributes, they said, help a person to know him or herself better and to learn to distinguish the essential from the non-essential.

María del Pino Velázquez (MBA ‘91 and CEO of Unisono) learned at IESE that "you should surround yourself with the best and the brightest and listen to them before making a decision."

"IESE teaches its students about dialog. This is the key: establishing a dialog that enables us to develop a vibrant, healthy and critical conscience," said Professor José Antonio Segarra. "Now more than ever, companies need men and women that are both fair and competent."

Professor Canals concluded the event by saying that the MBA was "a program of the highest quality that aspires to have an impact on the lives of people around the world. And this same aspiration was at the base of its foundation 50 years ago."