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IX ESADE Alumni Annual Conference in Madrid

22/10/2015 (dd/mm/yyyy) | Madrid

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'Big Data and the Future of Business' by Kenneth Cukier, Data Editor at The Economist
Together we can achieve higher goals. Institutional discourses
Monologue by Luis Piedrahita, comedian, magician and film director
The best moments of the Eday Madrid


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On October 22nd, the VIP box at the Santiago Bernabéu football stadium hosted the ESADE Alumni Annual Conference in Madrid entitled "Big Data and business strategy. The new rules of the game". The keynote speaker was the international expert Kenneth Cukier

This 9th annual conference brought together alumni from around the globe in a stunning venue with a difference, where the wisdom of one of the world’s foremost experts in Big Data joined forces with the down-to-earth humour of one of Spain’s finest stand-up comedians, the magician and film director, Luis Piedrahita.

Xavier Sanchez (Lic&MBA 97/AMP 08), Director of ESADE Alumni, introduced the conference, welcomed the audience and thanked the event’s sponsors: CaixaBank and SEAT. Sanchez emphasised that events of this type are an opportunity to get in touch, catch up and share experiences: "Together we want to help you get where you want to be and achieve even higher goals".

The recently appointed President of ESADE Alumni, Joaquín Uriach (MBA 94), introduced the subject of the conference by insisting that Big Data will transform our world, "but we must use them with a large dose of humility and humanity. Despite the virtual world of Big Data, we still enjoy getting together, cementing links, sharing the same humanist values because, as Kenneth Cukier said, in a world of Big Data, at the end of the day, it’s people that matters".

Jaime Castelló (EMBA 03, Retail Marketing 05), associate professor at ESADE, took the floor and introduced the keynote speaker. He said that the Big Data concept is so new that we do not even know what to call it but he had no doubt that it would transform all spheres of life, just as internet did in the 20th century and the printing press in the 15th century. 

Kenneth Cukier, data editor at The Economist and co-author of the book Big Data, highlighted in Madrid that "information must be taken into account in the business world as a production factor", and that Big Data would play an essential role in this field. Cukier debunked the myths about Big Data, pointing out that the world "is a perfect platform for data gathering and that after these data are gathered, stored, processed and analysed, they are of great value to the company".

The speaker reminded the audience that the world will change radically as a result of Big Data and the technology now enabling this vast amount of information to be handled faster, and more cheaply and efficiently. Industries such as medicine, marketing and transport, to name but a few, can benefit greatly from Big Data and are already doing so.

He went on to list several risks that should, however, be taken into account to ensure that Big Data works for mankind and not the other way round. One such risk is privacy, "a risk already present in small data but which must be closely monitored". A factor closely related to privacy is what Cukier called propensity, the trends stemming from the analysis of these data and which could be used to label people with a propensity to engage in certain activities according to these data, but who have not yet done so. Cukier also recalled that the ownership of these data could be a source of conflict and warned against dataism, i.e. regarding Big Data as an absolute truth or a religion. "Truth and reality are far more than data", he said emphatically.

Cukier’s talk was followed by a more relaxed act by Luis Piedrahita linking Big Data to everyday life including mother-children relationships and how to park a car.

The closing comments were provided by the Director General of ESADE, Eugenia Bieto (Lic&MBA 73/PhD 08), with a detailed look at the previous academic year and what is in store for 2015-16. "It was a great year for ESADE", she said, "with higher income and more students enrolled on our courses".

Bieto attributed these figures to the upturn in Spain’s economy, "People are more confident than in previous years and, above all, our portfolio has taken another step forward and developed thanks to our strategic plan for the next five years entitled Student First".

The ESADE Managing Director pointed out that Madrid plays an essential part in ESADE’s projection and development, particularly in the international scenario, "We help broadcast brand Spain around the globe, sharing ESADE’s very characteristic way of developing our careers on the basis of excellence, values, ethics and humanism".

The event ended with a networking cocktail, an informal, friendly opportunity for participants to chat and share experiences.









ESADE Alumni
invites you to the IX ESADE Alumni Annual Conference in Madrid titled "Big Data and business strategy. The new rules of the game". 

We tend to think of business strategy as a set of timeless principles related to economic history. But that is untrue. The optimal structure, processes and activities are entirely contingent on the state of technology at a given moment and, in particular, on information flows. As the world enters a stage in which we go from scarcity to abundance of data, what it means to be a company is changing – and what it means to be a business manager is changing as well. In a lively talk loaded with real-world examples from companies and cutting-edge research labs, Kenneth Cukier, Data Editor at The Economist and co-author of the bestselling book Big Data, will demystify the trends in big data and artificial intelligence that business leaders must know in order to succeed – or be crushed.

7.00 pm  Doors open and guests arrive 

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

Brief remarks by Joaquín Uriach (MBA 94), President of ESADE Alumni

7.40 pm Lecture: "Big Data and the Future of Business"
By Kenneth Cukier, Data Editor at The Economist
Presentation by: Jaime Castelló (EMBA 03 / Retail Marketing 05), Associate Professor and Director of the Master in Marketing and Sales at ESADE Madrid

8.20 pm Monologue:
By Luis Piedrahita, comedian, magician and film director

8.40 pm Closing remarks:
Eugenia Bieto (Lic&MBA 73/ PhD 08), Director General of ESADE

8.45 pm Spanish wine

For further information:
91 2526845

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