Leave Your Country Habitable for Future Generations

Itautec’s Ricardo Setúbal addresses Executive MBA graduates in Sao Paulo


Ricardo Setúbal

“Economic growth alone is not enough,” Itautec’s Ricardo Setúbal addresses Executive MBA graduates in Sao Paulo / Photo: Tito Rolón

"We believe that no task is impossible. It’s all about the power of the human spirit, and our capacity to help others."

An atmosphere of optimism, as well as celebration, reigned at the graduation ceremony for the ISE-IESE Executive MBA Class of 2015 in Sao Paulo this month.

Class President, Felipe Riera Michellotti, paid homage to his fellow "agents of change," and stressed a shared commitment to create "a better place for our children."

His was a sentiment shared by keynote speaker, Ricardo Setúbal, president of the board at Itautec. "Economic growth alone is not enough," he told the graduates. "We need a broader vision of sustainability with the aim of leaving the country habitable for future generations."

Facing up to the Challenges of Tomorrow, Today

Education has an "essential" role to play in this, said Setúbal, as does the "evolving" role of the business leader. "It’s way beyond drafting documents," he told the EMBA graduates. "A leader must cultivate an innovative vision, and must have the capacity to execute this vision – while controlling timings to ensure that each project is viable. In today’s global business world, this kind of leadership is what delivers clear advantage over the competition."

The MBA, he said, is "one stage of a long journey." He urged the graduates to pursue ongoing training, to be creative and to keep the future in focus – and an ethical perspective at all times.

"Technology is constantly changing the way we do business, but we must remember that Brazil is going through a difficult time for having adopted a negligent attitude in ethical matters."

Setúbal lauded IESE’s work as a standard bearer for academic excellence, and for "guiding thought towards a constructive transformation of society."

Building Companies, Building Countries

Professor Jordi Canals, Dean of IESE, acknowledged that the task ahead of the graduating class might feel "impossible" in the context of political and economic complexity. He urged the new graduates to nonetheless seize every opportunity to convert challenge into opportunity for change and growth.

"The desire to make our world a better place is a powerful one; one that can help us change the companies in which we work—as well as society around us – for the better."

Values, he said, underpin the work ahead: "We can’t build a company or help build a country if we don’t have values or references."

"This is the model we want for entrepreneurs and managers at ISE and IESE," he said. "Leaders who are fully aware of the best techniques and concepts of management, but who, at the same time, are capable of thinking about other people – contributing to their development and helping them to grow as professionals."

His comments were echoed by José Paulo Carelli, Director General of ISE, who called for business leaders of tomorrow to "go a step further."

"Our society’s true needs are not exclusively economic or political. We have already experienced economic and political crises, especially the financial crisis which began at the beginning of the last decade, and they are all the result of a much more serious crisis: the ethical crisis."

A focus on "technical training" at the expense of "ethical education," said Carelli, has seen too high a proportion of business in the hands of "those who don’t have the necessary qualities to lead ethically."

He described the graduating class of 2015 as a source of "optimism and hope" in the context of the challenges facing Brazil.

"37 Brilliant Agents of Change"

Class President, Felipe Riera Michellotti, paid tribute to his cohort of "37 brilliant agents of change," and the "very intense journey" they had shared: "No fewer than 36 weekends, five intensive weeks, countless hours of dedication. I don’t know how many cases, pages and words we have read over the past 20 months. Our professors have helped us to undertake this journey with great professionalism."

Michellotti also acknowledged the role of IESE in delivering insights, tools and competencies based on ethics, and a commitment to "generating a more positive society."

"All of our effort has been worth it."

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