Joan Prat (MBA 00): “It is extremely satisfying to have been able to cover the first year of the Pablo Soler Scholarship”
This academic year, the Esade Alumni Andorra Chapter has carried out the first Giving-back Consultants project in Andorra and brought to fruition its main project, namely the creation of the Pablo Soler Scholarship by Grup Heracles & Esade Alumni Andorra. We talk with Joan Prat about these and other projects.
-How would you take stock of this first year?
There is no doubt that this academic year has been affected by the passing of our fellow board member Pablo Soler (Lic&MBA 85). This could have been a reason to put a brake on the Chapter’s activities, but actually it has done the opposite: it has been our reason to ramp up our association’s mission. We have kept up the pace of hosting 2 or 3 events per quarter to share topics of interest with our community. But we have especially made our association meaningful by carrying out the first Giving-back Consultants project in Andorra and bringing the main project to fruition, namely the creation of the Pablo Soler Scholarship by Grup Heracles & Esade Alumni Andorra.
-How did the idea of creating the Pablo Soler Scholarship come about?
The Pablo Soler Scholarship is a tribute to our colleague, where we will give a student from Andorra with a good academic record yet without the financial wherewithal the opportunity to complete bachelor’s degree at Esade at no cost whatsoever. The student can choose between the BBA & Artificial Intelligence or the Bachelor in Transformational Leadership and Social Impact (BITLASI). The scholarship will be financed equally by the company Grup Heracles, where Pablo worked until the end, and donations from all the alumni in Andorra. We are extremely satisfied to have been able to cover the first year of the scholarship, and now we are facing the challenge of the coming years. I will never tire of expressing my gratitude for the generosity of everyone who contributed, the support received from the very start and the attendance of the Director General of Esade, Xavier Mendoza; the Director of Development & Engagement, Olaya Garcia-Lancha; the Director of Esade Alumni, Patrícia Valentí (MBA 02/Promociona 17); and the Minister of Education and Higher Education of Andorra, Esther Vilarrubla, on the day we publicly presented the scholarship. We hope to find the student this year and for this homage to be an opportunity for them to improve their personal and professional future.
-The Giving-back Consultants program also started in Andorra. What feedback have you gotten on it?
This was another challenge this year. Being a community of responsible leaders that aims to have a positive impact on society means helping others, and this is precisely what this program tries to do. From the very start, we had a very favorable response from different alumni, which materialized in the project with AUTEA, the Autism Spectrum Disorder Association of Andorra. As the coordinator of this program, I want to express my thanks to all the alumni who participated in it and to encourage other clubs or chapters to do it if they haven’t yet. Also, I should mention that we have other colleagues who are interested in a second edition, which I hope we can do next academic year.
-What can you tell us about the new Esade Alumni Andorra Business Angels Club?
This is another initiative promoted by this chapter’s board which will consist of creating an Alumni Investment Club of Andorra that will invest in projects in the seed phase or series A projects. The intention is to facilitate learning and networking and to bring business angel culture to Andorra. We’ll have Esade’s BAN platform as our main deal flow, and we would also like to invest in new initiatives that may spring up in Andorra.
This is another initiative promoted by the chapter’s board which will consist of creating an Alumni Investment Club of Andorra
-What activities are the most valuable for alumni?
We have an extensive community of 408 people, 263 of whom are members. We have tried to offer a range of activities because not all preferences are the same. What alumni value the most, besides the topic and the speaker, is the networking at the end of every event. Knowing how to combine academic and more recreational events is also part of the variety that we are striving for, and of course we can never forget the institution we represent and the need to always remain on par with its expectations.
-How can the chapters promote greater involvement by alumni?
Even though we have an extensive community in a rather small country, we are competing for limited resources, such as people’s time, and with an extensive range of events and activities, including digital ones. Knowing how to pinpoint the local topics that concern or interest them is an important point. The key thing here is creating a community, fostering networking and meeting everyone. The events have to be an opportunity to learn or train in new topics, but even more importantly an opportunity to get together again.
-Tell us about the relationship with other chapters in the rest of the community?
The annual gatherings of presidents held by the Regional Clubs in Spain have enabled us to make important connections among all of us. As a result, we can share both best practices and any other improvements.
-How would you take stock of your years as the president?
I have been the president for six years, after taking over from Conrad Blanch (XX), who was the first president and founder of the chapter. Speaking personally, is has been very positive; I spend a lot of personal time on it, but that time is amply rewarded. I am very proud to have a great board, with an equal number of men and women and new generations who are getting involved to host all the activities we do. I am also pleased with the backing and gratitude we get from all the alumni. We have managed to increase the member base and put the annual fee to good use. Being one of the most dynamic chapters with the activities we host, welcoming and helping new alumni moving to Andorra to integrate quickly and seeing that everything we do makes sense helps us to keep going.
I am very proud to have a great board, with an equal number of men and women and the presence of new generations who are getting involved
-How do you think that being the manager of Via Moda Andorra helps you to fulfill your responsibilities with the chapter?
Via Moda is the leading fashion retail company in Andorra whose mission has always been to be on the cutting edge with new commercial distribution formulas that can surprise our customers, and with a clear mission to serve the country. Combining both responsibilities gives me the chance to continue growing both professionally and personally.