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XXI ESADE Alumni Annual Conference in Barcelona

26/05/2016 (dd/mm/yyyy) | Barcelona

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The best moments of the Eday Barcelona
Institutional speech by Joaquín Uriach at the Eday
Speech by Eugenia Bieto at the Eday
Monologue by Luis Piedrahita at the Eday
See the whole picture gallery


On 26 May the Italian Pavilion at the Fira de Barcelona in Montjuïc, hosted a very special event: the 21st ESADE Alumni Annual Conference in Barcelona, which brought together more than 1,500 alumni and addressed the challenges of today’s society.

The magnificent venue opposite the National Palace and Magic Fountain of Montjuic, a Barcelona must-see famous around the globe, made the keenly anticipated alumni conference a very enjoyable event that combined learning, entertainment and networking with former classmates, ESADE teaching staff and other members of the ESADE Alumni network.

This year’s keynote speaker was Indra K. Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, winner of the 2016 ESADE Best Leadership Award for her successful leadership of the company’s global strategy for more than a decade. Nooyi’s efforts to diversify the firm’s food and beverage portfolio have had outstanding results. The event also featured one of Spain’s best comedians, the magician and film director Luis Piedrahita, who entertained ESADE alumni with his unique sense of humour once again following his great show at the 9th Annual Conference in Madrid last October.

Xavier Sanchez (Lic&MBA 97/AMP 08), Director of ESADE Alumni, thanked  everyone for attending, particularly CaixaBanc, the financial partner of the event; and the sponsors SEAT, Cuatrecasas-Gonçalves Pereira and AlfaConsulting. He also highlighted the growth of the alumni network and its presence in more than 100 countries around the world, and thanked the alumni for all their efforts to make it such a success.

For a better world

During his speech, Joaquín Uriach (MBA 94), President of ESADE Alumni, addressed the challenges currently facing social wellbeing. "It is based on developments in science and technology and this has given rise to new challenges related to the environment, lack of resources, migration, coexistence of different cultures and the distribution of work, which all oblige us to adapt. Politicians and the governors of central banks are not the only ones who face uncertainty: companies and their managers and professionals do too".

"We have an extremely solid network (56,000 alumni) in different posts, businesses and regions. One of the companies where our talent is to be found at every echelon is PepsiCo", said Joaquin Uriach, who explained that Indra K. Nooyi’s participation in the conference was thanks to the alumni themselves. "We must respond to this new era in our association and in society with commitment, competence and enthusiasm, and our guest today is a marvellous example of all three. The world needs people like her, determined, forward-looking, committed people who, like ESADE’s slogan, are inspiration for the future".

Ever faster change

This was followed by the presentation of the 2016 ESADE award to Indra K. Nooyi by Xavier Sanchez and Joaquin Uriach together with Manuel Raventos, Chairman of the ESADE Foundation board. The ESADE Awards are organised by ESADE Alumni in recognition of individuals and organizations whose careers, activities or services rendered reflect the core values of ESADE’s founding spirit, and who are an example or benchmark for others.

In her talk after receiving the award, Indra K. Nooyi championed the need for companies to engage with society by adopting corporate social responsibility policies to help solve the most urgent challenges facing the world. PepsiCo has more than 250,000 employees in over 200 countries, and has implemented new sustainable growth strategies based on its outlook of "results with responsibility", which have achieved robust, long-term financial results by working sustainability into its business strategy and ensuring a positive impact on society and the environment.

Nooyi talked about short- and long-term strategic thinking and the importance of striking a balance between the two – in business and in politics and in life. "The problem of short-term thinking is commonplace in our societies. It is structural and we need structural solutions", she said, "One of the dangers of our time is constant short-sightedness and chronic short-term thinking. So the challenge is how we can strike a balance between living our lives at breakneck speed whilst finding solutions for more global challenges moving at a slower pace".

As regards her management role, she explained that the CEO’s task is to build a company that lasts, which is always there, and which tries to focus on performance and longevity. "We must make sure that future generations of business leaders are being trained to manage their companies responsibly – and this means broadening their understanding of what a successful organisation means", said Nooyi and then added, "We will be the most loyal guardians of ESADE’s founding values in our everyday life".

Transformative experience

In her closing speech, Eugenia Bieto (Lic&MBA 73/ PhD 08), Director General of ESADE, recalled that society has still a long way to go to close the gender gap in top management and increase the visibility of women who represent excellence, are successful at work and want to be responsible leaders. "This is why I am so grateful to Indra K. Nooyi for accepting our award. She is the sixth woman to receive ESADE’s management award".

Eugenia Bieto, in her capacity as managing director, proudly announced that ESADE’s classrooms welcome more than 11,000 students year after year, and hoped that they would all find the road to accomplishing their dreams at ESADE. However, she also felt a need for even higher standards: the need for exemplary behaviour. "We can and must improve today’s social and economic model. We can and must be leaders in more committed companies and organizations. We can and must be leaders in reaffirming the figure of the company, the entrepreneur, the representatives of justice and lawyers. It’s our responsibility. We can and must set a good example for the people around us and for society", she reminded the audience.

The global network

After the talks, all of which emphasised the need to build a better world, entertainment was provided by Luis Piedrahita, the Spanish comedian famous for his TV and radio appearances, who had the audience laughing and set the right mood for the networking that came next.

Delicacies typical of North and South America, Europe and Asia-Pacific (where ESADE Alumni’s 38 chapters are located) gave the cocktail a decidedly international flavour and were thoroughly enjoyed by all the alumni, as was the relaxed atmosphere complete with DJ. Many participants had fun taking selfies against international backdrops in the themed photocall, which were then printed out and shared in the ESADE Alumni Instagram #IamESADEalumni.




Are you ESADE Alumni? Live the Eday!

Come and enjoy the annual meeting with Indra K. Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo. Be entertained by Luis Piedrahita’s comedy; connect and get in touch with old classmates, ESADE teachers and other members of the ESADE Alumni network.

7.00 pm Doors open

7.30 pm Start of event

Welcome and presentation:
Xavier Sanchez (Lic&MBA 97 / AMP 08), Director of ESADE Alumni

Speech by:
Joaquín Uriach (MBA 94), President of ESADE Alumni

ESADE Award ceremony

Indra K. Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo

Speech by:
Eugenia Bieto (Lic&MBA 73/ PhD 08), Director General of ESADE

Stand-up Comedy by:
Luis Piedrahita, humorist and film director

9.00 pm Networking cocktail



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