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XVIII ESADE Alumni Annual Conference in Barcelona

27/05/2013 (dd/mm/yyyy) | Barcelona

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1st Part - XVIII ESADE Alumni Annual Conference in Barcelona
Over 2,500 alumni converge to discuss the multilatina phenomenon
1st Part - XVIII ESADE Alumni Annual Conference in Barcelona (English simultaneous translation)
2nd part - XVIII ESADE Alumni Annual Conference
2nd part - XVIII ESADE Alumni Annual Conference (English simultaneous translation)


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Under the theme of Latin America 2.0: The Rise of the Multilatinas, the 18th ESADE Alumni Annual Conference featured two exceptional speakers: Javier Santiso, Associate Professor of Economics at ESADE, Vice President of ESADEgeo and author of the book The Decade of the Multilatinas; and Antonio Brufau, Chairman and CEO of Repsol, who gave a talk entitled "Transformation Processes in Companies".

Xavier Sanchez (Lic&MBA 97/AMP 08), Director of ESADE Alumni, opened the conference by thanking the audience for coming and acknowledging the event’s corporate sponsors, Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira and "la Caixa", as well as other collaborators.

Mr. Sanchez then gave the floor to Miguel Trías (MBA 89), President of ESADE Alumni, who summarised the history of the close trade relationship between Spain and Latin America, which was the central theme of the conference. Mr. Trías then described the profile of the new generation of emerging leaders: "At the Matins ESADE sessions held since our last Annual Conference, we have had the opportunity to hear the strategic message of two global companies, two leaders in the consumer goods market, two companies that understand what drives demand". He went on to link the idea of corporate social responsibility to the satisfaction of the public’s needs: "Only by realising that the public wants healthy food will we be able to beat the competition. Only by demanding that our providers use sustainable production techniques will we be able to guarantee a continuous supply flow. Only by holding ourselves to the highest environmental standards will our factories be sustainable in the future". Mr. Trías then predicted that this new generation of business leaders "will see the sustainability of the environments where their businesses operate as an essential part of creating value for their companies" and stressed that ESADE is committed to this type of leadership. 

Towards the end of his remarks, Mr. Trías briefly touched on ESADE’s growth and the goal of social change that the institution is pursuing through its scholarship programme: "In order to finance this growth and continue to attract the best talent, ESADE needs us. All of us. Through thousands of small donations that place no burden on anyone, we can make sure that ESADE has the resources it needs to ensure the sustainability of its scholarship programmes. With this goal in mind, about one year ago ESADE and ESADE Alumni launched a campaign called the ‘ESADE Challenge for Talent’, under the leadership of Germán Castejón (Lic&MBA 81), who is currently a member of the ESADE Foundation Board of Trustees. In this first year, more than 100 alumni – well-known professionals with close ties to ESADE and the capacity to set an example – have made donations to ESADE as part of a campaign called ‘1,000 x 1,000 ESADE’".

The audience then watched an emotional video featuring testimonials from students in their final year of the Bachelor in Business Administration who have donated money to ESADE’s scholarship programme. Afterwards, representatives of the 2013 graduating class took the stage alongside Jordi Alavedra (Lic&MBA 78) and invited the audience to help secure ESADE’s ability to attract top talent by contributing to this project. 

The next speaker was Eugenia Bieto (Lic&MBA 73/PhD 08), Director General of ESADE. Ms. Bieto began her talk by highlighting the human quality of the donors. She described how an honour scholarship allowed her to achieve her dream of studying at ESADE, an experience she described as life-changing. Ms. Bieto then reviewed the major milestones that ESADE has achieved over the past two years: the launch of the Double Degree in Business and Law and the Bachelor in Business Administration taught entirely in English, the opening of the EGarage business incubator on the Sant Cugat campus, an excellent showing in leading international rankings such as that of the Financial Times, and the ongoing internationalisation process being undertaken by a school already regarded as among the best in the world. "In difficult times, it is important that ESADE’s top talent be there to help those who are most in need", declared Ms. Bieto towards the end of her remarks. "Because of the economic crisis, the demand for scholarships is up by 40% and we need your help to make sure that talented students can achieve their dream of studying at ESADE".

Mr. Sanchez then gave the floor to Javier Santiso, Associate Professor of Economics at ESADE and Vice President of ESADEgeo, who gave a very interesting talk called "Latin America 2.0: The Rise of the Multilatinas", whose title doubled as the theme of this year’s conference. In his talk, Prof. Santiso noted that the world is realigning geopolitically and economically in a way that favours emerging markets. This trend is not just a rebalancing of the financial, commercial and industrial wealth of nations, he argued, but also a massive rebalancing of innovation, technology and entrepreneurship. "The rise of Latin American multinationals – the multilatinas – is an example of these trends", declared Prof. Santiso, citing the fact that 150 multilatinas are currently ramping up their internationalisation efforts. 

Prof. Santiso also noted that the internationalising multilatinas have a higher market capitalisation than many European multinationals, including the Spanish ones. He added: "The internationalisation of these emerging multinationals presents a unique opportunity for Spain to position itself as a hub for corporate offices in Europe – a bridge and a gateway for these multinationals to enter Europe". Mr. Santiso predicted that Spain could become the "Latino connection" for numerous multinationals looking to set up shop in Europe. 

The next speaker was Antonio Brufau, Chairman and CEO of Repsol, who gave a talk entitled "Transformation Processes in Companies". In his talk, Mr. Brufau explored the idea of how to manage uncertainty, focusing in particular on the constant change brought about by globalisation, technology and their effects on today’s society. Mr. Brufau posed the question of how to reposition oneself for the future against the backdrop of the present economic situation – circumstances which no one had predicted. "I want to encourage you to manage your companies disruptively", he declared. Mr. Brufau identified as salient features of the new paradigm the shift in global governance and the emergence of new players such as the "BRICS" countries, which he predicted will set the tone in the future. Turning his attention to the specific case of Repsol, Mr. Brufau highlighted the important role played by multinationals in emerging countries, particularly in the oil industry. 

Mr. Brufau then described the growth of the middle class in emerging economies and discussed how the resulting increase in demand has affected consumption and supply security. He also discussed the shifting geographical balance, competitiveness, and threats to the sustainability of resources for future generations. Mr. Brufau then highlighted some important geopolitical changes, including the fact that countries such as China are acquiring natural resources to in order ensure long-term access to energy. "We have to consider the new role of emerging players, not just the ones that have natural resources but also the ones that are buying them up", he said. Mr. Brufau stressed the importance of technology in achieving a more efficient use of natural resources and touched on how technology influences competitiveness. Regarding his own management approach and the road map followed by Repsol, Mr. Brufau declared: "We knew we couldn’t keep going in the same direction, so we chose the slogan ‘Let’s Invent the Future’". 

Mr. Brufau then emphasised his commitment to developing new business models and technology through partnerships with universities and research centres. Referring to Repsol’s presence in Latin America, he said: "Good managers take their companies to places that offer legal certainty, and Latin America, generally speaking, falls into this category".

Towards the end of his remarks, Mr. Brufau shared some tips on change management: "First of all, think about whether what you’re doing will be the future. Then put the organisation into the tension of change with uncertainty and a dose of audacity, boldness and optimism". Finally, he warned of the risk of resisting change and continuing to do things as they have always been done. 

The next portion of the conference was the presentation of the 2013 ESADE Award. Mr. Sanchez and Mr. Trías were joined onstage by Pedro Fontana (Lic&MBA 74), President of the ESADE Foundation Board of Trustees, and Andreu Mas-Colell, Catalan Minister of Economy and Knowledge. The 2013 ESADE Award was presented to Antonio Brufau for his brilliant management career and extraordinary combination of strategic vision, innovation and sustainability. Mr. Brufau – who, in addition to holding the post of Chairman and CEO of Repsol, is also Vice Chairman of Gas Natural Fenosa and Chairman of the Repsol Foundation – thanked ESADE Alumni for the award and received a warm ovation from the audience at the Palau de Congressos de Catalunya in Barcelona. 

Mr. Mas-Colell delivered the closing address. Echoing the sentiments expressed in the previous talks, Mr. Mas-Colell declared that there are good reasons for optimism. He highlighted the importance of exportation and internationalisation and pointed out that Catalan companies are becoming more competitive. Referring to ESADE, he declared: "Looking ahead, you will need to practice intergenerational solidarity. I want to congratulate these very young students on the scholarship programme initiative". 

Taking the stage once again to close the event, Mr. Sanchez made a fitting segue to the traditional post-conference networking cocktail by reiterating the fundamental importance of getting to know one another and sharing ideas. As is traditional, alumni from the various graduating classes immortalised the Annual Conference by taking part in a photocall. As a new feature of this year’s conference, participants competed for three special prizes: Award for Top Tweeting Class ("Make this year’s event a trending topic!"), Award for Best-Represented Class ("Can your class outnumber the rest?") and Award for Most Original Photograph ("Break all the rules!"). The winners were chosen by the participants via social media. 





7.00 pm Doors open

7.30 pm Start of event 

Held by Xavier Sanchez (Lic&MBA 97/ AMP 08), director of ESADE Alumni

Speech by Miguel Trías (MBA 89), President of ESADE Alumni
Speech by Eugenia Bieto (Lic&MBA 73/PhD 08), Director General of ESADE

Lecture: “Latin America 2.0: The Rise of the Multilatinas"
by Javier Santiso, Associate Professor of Economics at ESADE, Vice President of ESADEgeo and author of the book 'The Decade of the Multilatinas'

Lecture: “Transformation Processes in Companies"
by Antonio Brufau, Executive Chairman of Repsol

ESADE Awards ceremony

Presents Pedro Fontana (Lic&MBA 74), President of the ESADE Foundation Board of Trustees
Held by Andreu Mas-Colell, Minister of Economy and Knowledge of Generalitat de Catalunya

9.00 pm Networking cocktail 





  • Award for Top Tweeting Class: Make this year’s event a trending topic!
  • Award for Best-Represented Class: Can your class outnumber the rest?
  • Award for Most Original Photograph: Break all the rules! 

    Consult the RULES of the competition

    For further information:



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