Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Felipe Alarcón Alvarez, Esade Business School

Felipe Alarcón Alvarez

Esade Business School

“Passionate about value generation and building bridges among the business, consulting, finance, and legal worlds.”

Hometown: Bogotá D.C., Colombia

Fun Fact About Yourself: Just between us, I have an addiction to karaoke!

Undergraduate School and Major:

– Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bachelor of Laws.

– Universidad de Los Andes, Postgraduate Diploma in Law.

– Universidad de Los Andes, Master of Laws.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:

– As a full-time employee: The Dow Chemical Company (Colombia), Senior Associate Counsel.

– As an intern: Bayer AG (Germany), MBA Intern.

What has been your favorite part of Barcelona so far? What has made it such a great place to earn an MBA? My favorite part is simply everything. Barcelona is a brilliant and cosmopolitan city with multiculturalism, rich history, stunning art and architecture, effervescent culture, festivals, and celebrations, first-class weather, great geographical location (beach and mountains are just there, you can go to the beach during summer and take advantage to ski during winter), and nice people.

It is such a great place to earn an MBA because the city enriches what the MBA offers. You are not just going for the MBA; you are going because you can have the best of both worlds: Esade´s academical excellence and Barcelona´s cultural experience and unique vibes.

Aside from your classmates and location, what has been your favorite part of Esade Business School’s MBA programming and why has it been so valuable to you? By far, my favorite part is the MBA´s foundation and how the entire program is built and guided by it. At Esade, the MBA is considered as a journey that is based on individual awareness, creation and innovation, and transformation. Just take a moment to reflect how powerful this statement is, and how it can forever enhance your career.

Being aware implies a thorough introspection to comprehend one´s attributes and contextual surroundings, which is the first step for a genuine change. Then, proactively creating opportunities and cultivating your own perspective is the best way to address the desired changes in your immediate, medium, and long-term perspectives. Finally, the MBA equips you with the necessary tools to progress beyond mere conceptualization by adeptly implementing the envisaged transformation. It becomes a tangible reality.

Esade´s MBA has a unique curriculum to go beyond limits and boost your career to places you did not even imagine.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Esade? The course that I enjoyed the most was “Corporate Finance” by Gloria Batllori. I admire her knowledge and the way she built bridges with other courses of the MBA and the reality outside of the classrooms. Nevertheless, I must expand my appreciation to “Financial Accounting and Reporting” by Josep Bisbe, “Finance” by Gloria Batllori, and “Managerial Accounting” by Santiago Simón del Burgo. The reason is that I learned the most from these courses and because of the professors´ experience, real-life exercises, interactive material, supporting staff, classes, personalized mentorships, depth, and way of teaching. Two thumbs up because their financial courses were simply exceptional.

If I may, a piece of advice for future students: don´t be scared to participate and take the most of courses where you know the least. In those, your learnings are exponential.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment was earning the trust and respect of the Latin-American leaders at The Dow Chemical Company. I was considered as a dedicated person that acted with the highest level of integrity and ethics, which is why I was appointed as a member of the board of directors and selected as an officer at Dow Chemical-Colombia. I also became the corporate secretary of Dow´s legal entities in Colombia, México, Costa Rica, and Perú.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: So far, my biggest accomplishment as an MBA student has been to be offered an “MBA Intern” position to join the Strategy & Business Consulting Department of Bayer AG in Germany. I was selected to work in topics related to corporate strategy and business transformation.

What has been your best memory as an MBA so far? So far, my best memory of the MBA is to attest, as a participant, how each of us evolved and complemented our careers thanks to the Esade MBA. We are, for good, radically divergent if compared to the individuals that sat at the classrooms during the very first day of classes.

Although there are many reasons that contributed towards our progression (i.e., top-of-the-world education, sharp peers, or outstanding staff), I personally consider that the most important cause is diversity. In fact, more than 40 nationalities (plus professors) are represented in the MBA. This translates into a colossal “breadth of perspective”, giving the Esade MBA candidates a very good grasp of complexity, risk perception, outlooks, decision-making triggers, creativity, conflict resolution, leadership skills, and open-mindedness.

I could continue, but for clarity and brevity the summary is: my best memory is how we evolved and complemented our careers thanks to the opportunity to learn from the world, which was represented in Esade´s classrooms. What a privilege!

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the Esade MBA program? Here is a good one: do not only think about what you can take from the MBA, equally important is what you are able to deliver to the MBA community. “Serving others” by “doing good and doing better” is Esade´s DNA.

Thinking about it, there are many individuals who have made big differences in this world, though very few of them, perhaps none, managed to do them completely alone and without a serving ambition.


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.