Harvard’s Decisive Contribution to IESE’s Development

Jordi Canals edits book on Harvard-IESE alliance and its “founding pillars”

27/07/2016 Barcelona

Harvard Business School

Deans and vice deans from Harvard and IESE reflect on the two schools’ collaboration and business leadership / Photo: IESE

Dean of IESE, Jordi Canals has recently edited the book, IESE’s Global Development: The Purpose and Impact of the Harvard Business School-IESE Committee (Eunsa 2016).

In this book, deans and vice deans of Harvard Business School, IESE and the University of Navarra present the key decisive contributions that HBS have contributed to educating business leaders and the development of IESE through the Harvard-IESE Committee since 1963.

The authors reflect on business leadership and the type of education needed to empower directors and entrepreneurs to put people at the center of their business – and lead with integrity.

They also reflect on the role of companies in society today and how an organization can stay relevant in a fast and often drastically changing environment.

The professors from Harvard Business School, says Canals, “have helped define our strategy and make complex decisions in the world of business education. The HBS faculty have been the brightest colleagues and most generous friends that we could have ever hoped to have.”

Management Giants

This work also gathers some historic speeches from the likes of George P. Baker, John H. McArthur, Nitin Nohria and others, along with new articles written by the last 50 years’ key players.

The book opens with the first IESE MBA graduation speech, given by Professor and then Dean of Harvard Business School, George P. Baker. He highlights that “in every society and in every era, leadership has endured. Men and women have supported and hailed leaders who are aware of the great social responsibility that comes with prestige and power.”

“It is certain that only efficient and profitable companies can contribute to the development of society,” says Baker. “While making a profit and balancing the books is the main duty of entrepreneurs, in a solid economic situation, the way that a company develops its role within society is crucial. It helps to shape not only the quality of life in a region, or a nation, but also the opportunities available and the respect of every single person’s dignity.

“In fact,” concludes Baker, “a company’s commitment to this social responsibility determines its long-term strength.” In the end, the performance of a company is “the result of the decisions made by its directors.”

Responsible Directors

Educating directors to be efficient and socially responsible is a main thread throughout the book. The first Dean of IESE, Prof. Antonio Valero, highlights the need to educate directors of both public institutions and private companies.

In his speech – which was also given at the first MBA graduation ceremony – he points out that directors need to know their capacity as well as their limitations, while also being able to acknowledge their mistakes and learn from them.

Former Dean of IESE and member of the first Harvard-IESE Committee, Prof. Carlos Cavallé, pays homage to the extraordinary standing and contributions of the Harvard professors who helped at IESE during the first years of the Committee: notably Steve Fuller, Ralph Hower, Franklin E. Folts and Harry L. Hansen.

Meanwhile, Prof. Pedro Nueno reflects on the values shared by both schools, in particular the “magnanimity” of the Boston professors’ willingness to collaborate.

The analysis of Harvard Dean John H. McArthur on the “passion for human values in business education,” which he delivered during his acceptance speech of an honorary degree from the University of Navarra is also a prime focus in the book.

Complexity, Innovation and Values

Prof. Jay O. Light, another former dean from Harvard Business School, presents a historical perspective on the education of directors. He touches on the major milestones that shape them, as well as some of the current challenges they face.

The mainstay of management education, he says, does not lie in techniques or tools, but in the ability to face complex situations and decipher which questions are really important. That, and the ability to prudently analyze these situations in order to make the right decision – and the leadership ability to implement them within the organization – is also key.

In his article, the current HBS Dean, Nitin Nohria, highlights the need for continual innovation in business education and the generation of new ideas and solutions for companies.

Professor Jordi Canals brings the volume to a close with his analysis of the influence of the contributions from Harvard Business School, from the initial support given to IESE, to the school’s ongoing development.

He closes reiterating “the importance of leaders with values, and a sense of service orientated towards people and society.”