Times Might Change, but Values Endure
"In the past half-century, the world has changed, but what remains unalterable? Values like honesty, meritocracy, honor and solidarity may be redefined with time. But in essence, they don’t change."
Pedro Aspe, chairman and CEO of Evercore Partners, delivered the keynote at the celebratory act for the 50th Anniversary of the IESE MBA in Mexico City. Things may have changed over the last 50 years, he told delegates, but values are unalienable.
"The international panorama has evolved significantly. We didn’t talk about the Internet or globalization 50 years ago. Democracy felt like Utopia in the greater part of the world. Markets were segmented at national level and post-graduate programs were based on delivering information," he said.
"Today we’re connected to people all over the world. Democratic systems are being reformulated, commercial trade accounts for more than half of the global GDP."
Training today needs to be geared towards "optimizing students’ analytical potential, "he said, "to give them the capacity to update their skills in an ever-changing environment."
With change and uncertainty as standard, said Aspe, it’s more important than ever to cleave to values — and to education.
"The challenges are endless. We find ourselves in complex situations continuously. To face these challenges there are no better tools than solid values and education," he said.
Education doesn’t end when you leave the classroom, said Aspe. "Beyond formal teaching or learning, it’s important to keep an open mind to the ideas and people that surround you." And that means surrounding yourself by talent.
"Don’t be afraid to hire the most outstanding candidates – you should always endeavor to surround yourself by people who are ‘better’ than you. Let go of your fear – whether it’s fear of risk or of failure," he said. "The only people that never fail are those that never try."
Aspe challenged delegates to rethink success in terms broader than economic impact alone.
What, he asked, does value really mean?
"Business is about changing reality. It’s about generating value. And business does generate value but oftentimes doesn’t create social impact. The simple act of creating jobs is something that creates value and that should be valued more."
Aspe paid tribute to the work of IESE over the 50 years of the MBA program, citing the values of honesty, meritocracy and solidarity that are "key to the school’s success."
These values, he said, are core to leadership.
"People driven by these values are those who drive progress."