Meet Esade Business School’s MBA Class Of 2024

The “Rambla of Innovation”, home to a unique entrepreneurship ecosystem that has led the Esade MBA to be ranked the best in Europe for entrepreneurs by Poets & Quants.


As a whole, the Class of 2024 features 184 students. Women account for 32% of the class seats. True to its international nature, 97% of the class hails from outside Spain, with 41 nationalities represented in the class. Academically, 46% of the class majored in either Economics or Business Management as undergraduates. Another 25% hold degrees in Engineering. The class also includes students who studied Social Sciences (10%), Science and Healthcare (8%), and Technology (5%). The remainder of the class (6%) falls into an “Other” category.

While ESADE may feature entrepreneurship and innovation on its marquee, Barcelona offers a strong 1-2 punch. Think art and architecture, beaches and mountains, soccer and music festivals – a place where you’ll never run out of places to visit and things to do. Picture life on the Mediterranean Sea, cool and breezy, mid-50s in the winter and mid-80s in the summer – a year-long fiesta! Imagine Jazz, blues, and electronic music festivals, Eat Street food trucks, crazy carnivals, Grec dance and theater performances, Christmas lights and outdoor movies. When you need to leave town, it is just a 90-minute drive to Costa Brava, home to luxury beach resorts, tasty wineries, and scenic hiking paths.

No wonder Domenico Potortì says that, in Barcelona, “every weekend feels like a rejuvenating mini-vacation, providing the perfect recharge for the [upcoming] week.

Nabil Rajafellah sums up the Barcelona experience in three words: landscape, architecture, and people. “The combination of sea and mountains in one place provides a perfect place to do any type of activity that you could imagine – from hiking, mountain biking to beach volley to paddle boarding and, of course, football. The architecture is stunning. Each street has a unique and colorful design and silhouette; as you walk through different “barrios” you will see that no two streets are alike. And lastly, Barcelona has a great mix of people: it’s a huge melting pot of internationals and locals, which allows you to constantly be around new faces and cultures. You can be walking down the street and hear five languages happening all at once! Not to mention, all the international food that comes with it.”

’23 alum Florian Burmeister frames the diversity of options available in Barcelona this way: “In winter, you can go skiing in the Pyrenees and, on the same day, eat mussels at the beach, drink a glass of sangria, and enjoy the sun.”

5. Enrique Lores, CEO of HP and Esade alumni, addresses the Esade MBA community during an insighful fireside chat.


Earlier this year, Esade ranked 4th overall in P&Q’s overseas ranking, while climbing four spots to 30th in the newest Financial Times ranking. At the same time, the school is nearing the start of Dean Joan Rodon’s second year. What’s in store at the school in the coming years? In August, P&Q reached out to Jan Hohberger, associate director of the Esade Full-Time MBA. From new innovations to signature experience, here is what you need to know about Esade for the coming year.

P&Q: What are the two most exciting developments at your program in the past year and how will they enrich the MBA experience for current and future MBAs?

Hohberger: “In September 2022 the MBA moved back to the Executive Education campus in Barcelona where we have our own beautiful space. The new location allows us to create more synergies and a single community together with EMBA and Executive programs. This ranges from shared electives, a common speaker series, and a lot of shared social events. This culture of exchange and mutual enrichment is also fostered by the professors who teach in both MBA and more senior executive programs.

A second exciting development is the integration of new relevant content in our curriculum. Two areas in particular have been at the forefront. First, COVID forced all companies to develop digital strategies; thus, topics like digital transformation and digital business models are now a central component of the MBA journey and they’re covered in various electives. Also, to truly be able to participate in and shape current business opportunities, students often need STEM-related knowledge. As a result, we have substantially broadened our content offering in these areas. This ranges from specific programming classes (e.g., Python) and business analytics to specialized classes (e.g., biotech and life science). Second, we believe that businesses play an important role in creating a fair and sustainable society for all. Consequently, all our courses, from finance to strategy, are now connected to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

P&Q: If you were giving a campus tour, what is the first place you’d take an MBA applicant? Why is that so important to the MBA experience?

Hohberger: “Our roof terrace overlooking all of Barcelona as well as our own MBA garden are very special places and a must-see on any campus tour. They’re both spaces where students spend a lot of hours during their MBAs, whether studying on their own, working on group projects, holding company visits or end-of-term celebrations, or simply relaxing in the afternoon sun. They also highlight the social and collaborative nature of the Esade MBA experience.

Jan Hohberger

P&Q: What is the most innovative thing you have introduced into the MBA program in recent years? How has it been a game-changer for your program?

Hohberger: “Real-life learning opportunities and connections to the business community have to be the cornerstone of any MBA education. While Esade has always had a very practice-oriented educational approach, relying on a diverse set of teaching methods like case studies, simulations, guest speakers, and challenges, we have pushed this agenda even further. Our objective is to be recognized as the most relevant and connected business school in the world. To achieve these goals, we’ve introduced a lot of innovations in the curriculum in recent years. For example, for final Master’s degree projects, our students can now work on consulting projects in collaboration with consultants from Monitor Deloitte on real-life challenges for companies such as Nestle, PepsiCo, and Allianz. Similarly, guest speakers are not the exception; they have become the norm for all our courses. Discussing the Bayer-Monsanto acquisition might be an interesting case study, but being able to discuss details of that deal with the head of Bayer’s corporate strategy provides another level of discussion and learning. This can also be seen in our CEO speaker series, in which students can discuss leadership-related questions, for example, with Enrique Lores, an Esade alum and the CEO of HP.”

P&Q: Every business school has a reputation. What is something that applicants associate with your program that’s true? What is something that might be a misconception? Tell us why on both counts.

Hohberger: “From a program focus, we’re best known for our strength in the entrepreneurship and technology areas, both of which often go hand in hand. For good reason, the Esade MBA is ranked the Top Entrepreneurship Program in Europe by Poets & Quants. Innovation and entrepreneurship classes are an integral part of the core curriculum for all MBAs and they’re complemented by a huge set of specialized electives. However, to be successful as innovators, students need to experiment and implement their ideas in real-life settings and develop an entrepreneurial attitude and mindset. Thus, students at Esade are embedded in an ecosystem consisting of founders, startups, investors, incubators, student associations and clubs, as well as an Angel investor network (EsadeBAN), where they can work on their ideas.

Many of these hands-on experiences are hosted at Esade eWorks, which is Esade´s venture-creation program. eWorks also offers a series of activities and services designed to promote and support new startups created by Esade students and recent graduates. Among other initiatives, eWorks runs several accelerators simultaneously during the summer and the second year of the MBA. eWorks also organizes bi-weekly meetups with guest entrepreneurs, with live sessions to pitch ideas, discuss and get feedback from the community, as well as 1-on-1 meetings between our entrepreneurs and mentors.

One fact, which is sometimes overlooked by our applicants, is our ever-growing strength in the consulting sector. A large part of our outgoing class has been hired to fill consulting roles, whether in the three big strategic consulting firms, specialized boutiques, or in-housing consulting roles. We now offer specialized consulting-related electives which are taught by former consultants from leading firms (e.g., McKinsey, BCG, and Kearney), and our Consulting Careers Accelerator Program has been designed in close collaboration with several consulting firms which also recruit our MBAs.”

Esade MBA students between class

P&Q: What have MBAs told you is the most memorable, signature experience they’ve had in your program? Why did it resonate so much with them?

Hohberger: “Over 30% of our students are “triple jumpers” (changing their countries, functions, and industries) and more than 70% are “double jumpers.” So, it’s fair to say that the Esade MBA provides a transformational experience, which goes far beyond professional knowledge. I’ve had several conversations with students who dreamed of a specific role and got a relevant offer through the MBA. However, the MBA also made them refocus their dreams and they ended up pursuing a very different option. This shows that the Esade MBA is a place to prepare and accelerate careers but also a space for learning, reflection, and potential reorientation.

Even after four years in my position and many years teaching MBA classes, I’m still humbled by and proud of the impact the MBA can have on our students’ lives. A particularly eye-opening experience for me occurred when I met with a student to talk about her successful job placement. She focused on the fact that she’s female, LBGT+, and from a very conservative background. However, she said that the time she had spent doing the Esade MBA was the first time that she felt fully accepted and integrated and that this gave her the knowledge and confidence to be successful.”

P&Q: Esade ranks among the top full-time MBA programs for International Course Experience. What does Esade do, as part of its programming, that enables students to enjoy a deeply global experience?

Hohberger: “Over the last few years, we’ve expanded our range of global experiences and redesigned them to be truly immersive and experiential. Now, nearly all of our students take part in at least one international experience, whether our exchange program, study tours, or company tracks.

For example, we’ve expanded our list of partner exchange schools and we now have an amazing total of 48 around the world. And, this year, more than half of our MBA students have opted to spend several months at another institution.

The scope and focus of our international study tours and company tracks are now more closely linked to our program’s strengths (e.g., entrepreneurship, technology, consulting, and social impact) and designed to immerse our students in a specific local ecosystem to provide them a truly immersive experience. For example, 55 students went to Berlin to visit startups and VC firms and experienced another vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem there. Similarly, 60 students traveled to Dubai to learn about one of the fastest-growing regions and they visited many leading consulting firms. Other cities students visited include Zurich, Amsterdam, Dublin, and Munich, among others. In all these trips, we also connect with our alumni there and potential recruiting companies.”

Next Pag: In-Depth Profiles of 12 Full-Time MBAs

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