“Once You’ve Been to IESE, There’s No Going Back”

The MBA, leaving its mark for 50 years

25/05/2015 Barcelona

MBA Global Alumni Reunion 2015
(From left to right) Enikö Matanov (MBA '10); Kim Faura (MBA '78); Eusebio Díaz-Morera (MBA '69); Gerardo Salvador (MBA '66); Leslie Rubio (MBA '90); Christopher Daniels (MBA '00); and Franz Heukamp (IESE professor and associate dean for MBA programs) / Photo: Edu Ferrer

On May 23, the MBA Alumni Reunion took place at IESE’s Barcelona campus in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the school's MBA program.

Leading names from the first, as well as more recent, graduating classes looked back on how the program has shaped their careers.

IESE Professor Franz Heukamp, the associate dean for MBA programs, recalled how since its inception and over the past 50 years the program's mission has been to forge leaders and provide them with new and enriching skills.

Today the program remains steadfast in this vocation, but has gradually integrated new objectives to adapt to a changing world. Among other things, "we are working to prepare professionals who will influence the new digital world" as well as make "the MBA a great place to forge an increasing number of women leaders."

Unforgettable Experiences

The event included a panel discussion with students from the MBA's first graduating class as well as more recent graduates. They all agreed that the program contributed more to their personal and professional growth than they had initially anticipated.

"I enrolled, because I was told that it would get me a job. Once I started studying, however, I realized that I wasn't interested in passing or failing, but really wanted to be in class with this professor, because for the very first time, I was learning something useful," explained Kim Faura (MBA '78 and General Manager of Telefónica España in Catalonia).

Leslie Rubio (MBA '90 and managing director of Corporate and Investment Banking at CITI) remembered her time in IESE’s MBA program as "a personally and professionally enriching experience without peer. I felt like a different person when I graduated, which is the reason I always recommend it."

The Importance of Values

Something that is appreciated by former students was the opportunity to develop values intrinsic to a manager's role, because working life involves interacting and communicating with people.

"Our education prepared us for a profession in which we work with and for people rather than amass wealth. This is the most important thing I learned at IESE," stated Gerardo Salvador (MBA '66 and president of the Fundación María Francisca de Roviralta).

Eusebio Díaz-Morera (MBA '69 and president of EDM Holding) agreed, and urged others to "think more about the work than the money, because the latter is merely a consequence."

The speakers pointed out that the two-year MBA program provides the time and space for personal reflection, as well as contemplating professional opportunities. "Most business schools equate success with having a good salary and a good job. IESE allows you to look inside and develop your own definition of success," said Christopher Daniels (MBA '00 and head of communications at Hybrid Air Vehicles).

Career Impact

The speakers also considered IESE's MBA to be a driving force in transforming their professional lives, providing not only career development opportunities, but also giving them unique skills.

"After completing my two-year MBA, I went back to work with a much greater capacity for critical thinking and the ability to offer perspectives that exceeded the expectations of the company," recalled Enikö Matanov (MBA '10 and director of Revenue Optimization & Business Insights at American Express Global Business Travel).

Leslie Rubio summed up the overall feeling in the room with the following words: "Once you've been to IESE, there is no going back. Something stays in our DNA that is transmitted and lives on forever in our work."