Meet Esade Business School’s MBA Class Of 2024

International Study Tours are a key component of the Esade MBA experience. These students are in Dubai

P&Q: Where are some of your students’ favorite hangouts in Barcelona? What do they do and why do they gravitate there? What makes Barcelona such a great place to earn an MBA?

Hohberger: “Barcelona is one of the most exciting cities in the world. It offers a unique blend of architectural marvels, rich cultural heritage, great food, vibrant street culture, and amazing nightlife. Barcelona’s stunning beaches and picturesque parks provide a perfect balance between urban energy and nature, and the Pyrenees and the Costa Brava are also only an hour’s drive away. Barcelona’s innovative spirit and creative scene attract artists and entrepreneurs from around the globe, while its diverse and inclusive atmosphere fosters a welcoming environment for all. When students have free time, you can frequently find them in the bohemian neighborhood, Gracia, a young and lively neighborhood with plenty of small tapas bars, live music, and street festivals. There’s always something new to do in Gracia! Most of the year, the weather is also warm enough for students to head to Barceloneta or Bogatell Beach for sun, beach volleyball, and a cocktail at one of the chiringitos or beach-side cafés and bars.”

P&Q: How would you describe the Esade Business School culture? Considering that Esade ranks among the top MBA programs for Educational Experience according to The Economist, how does the Esade culture give MBAs an advantage in the marketplace after graduation?

Hohberger: “Esadians pride themselves on having a very open, positive, and collaborative culture. We believe this mix creates an environment of trust and support and allows for experimentation, learning, and creation. As a school, we strongly prioritize teamwork and collaboration versus competition and we believe in finding win-win solutions for business and society. This impacts our content, teaching style, and interactions between students, staff, and faculty, as well as helping us think about new business models. Consequently, our culture is closely linked to Esade’s overall mission to “contribute to social debate and help to build free, prosperous, fairer and socially and environmentally sustainable societies.”

Esade MBAs in class

WHY CHOOSE ESADE

1)  Programming: “The Esade program has been carefully designed to equip students with a multifaceted toolbox for navigating the business world. This toolbox is comprehensive, but the aspect that I appreciate the most is its emphasis on leadership skills. Esade’s curriculum is extremely intentional about fostering these skills. It starts from the course on Neuroscience, which is focused on understanding people at the beginning of Term 1, to courses like Leading Transformative Change, Business Simulation and Advanced Communication in Term 3. Although technical skills are undoubtedly important, the value of soft skills cannot be overstated. These are the skills that truly make a difference, and my experience at Esade has further affirmed this belief.”
Samuel Kofi Alomenu (’24)

2) Case-Driven: “My favorite part of the curriculum was the case discussion methodology. Each professor has an extensive library of case studies that students need to review before each class and they encourage you to participate via cold calling.

It was extremely valuable because each case discussion forces you to develop critical thinking where you envision yourself as one of the protagonists of the cases, either by being leaders of organizations or governments. This emphasizes experiential learning while also understanding different world viewpoints working side by side with your classmates. In no other environment can you get such a wide breadth of opinions and knowledge. For me, all of this has strengthened my problem-solving skills and better prepared me for managerial positions.”
Nabil Rajafellah (’24)

3) Barcelona: “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.”
Felipe Alarcón Alvarez (’24)

“Barcelona is a very livable city; it has the perfect proportions to easily walk around it, but it is big enough to have any type of entertainment and gastronomy – not to mention very different neighborhoods… The city itself has a mountain and beaches and that is fantastic. My favorite part of Barcelona is its dynamism: it is always changing: you never get to know it all. I also love the beautiful landscapes that can be visited as a one-day trip from Barcelona.”
Anna Oliveras Torra (’24)

“Whether it be the vibrant streets, music that fills every corner, delicious tapas, incredible weather, and people from all over the world, Barcelona has a heartbeat that makes the city unforgettable. Barcelona has the perfect balance between work, culture, and fun which turns it into the perfect landscape for a very intense and remarkable MBA experience. This city has given me some of my core life memories.” Inês Filipa Rodrigues Fonseca Monteiro (’24)

4) Elephant Talks. “Within my role at MBASA, I moderated 5 Elephant Talks, the concept of this talk was as the name says to talk about the elephant in the room. We discussed topics such as diversity in our cohort, gender equality, quotas, stereotypes, and mental health, among others. I had the opportunity of not only starting this but also moderating. I’ve learned a lot about people management and how to expose myself and create safe environments for others to do it as well. In each of these spaces, we built a unique type of bond between the participants and there were always at least 3-4 students who told me that their experience changed because they were able to share their stories and learn that they were not the only ones. I’m very proud about this even If it might seem little because I think sometimes little things like talking about the elephant in room require courage and I’m happy to know that I was able to encourage my colleagues to do it positively.”
Kimia Koushesh (’24)

5) Multicultural: “I enjoyed all of our mixed culture events as it was the celebration of Diwali with our Indian friends, or Ramadan Iftar with our Muslim friends. There was also the Afrobeat’s Party, where our African friends shared their music and teach us their dance moves and the Gastrofest where all the 20+ countries had a food stand and performance to share their culture. My favorite tradition about ESADE is that, beyond business, there is always time to embrace each person’s background, share it, and get exposed. Every culture, language, and country unlock a new world of opportunities and I never believed I could unlock so many dimensions simultaneously while unlocking my one for others.”
Kimia Koushesh (’24)

Students at ESADE. Courtesy photo

ADVICE TO PROSPECTIVE ESADE APPLICANTS

“The word that comes to mind when I think of the Esade MBA is collaboration. I believe applicants need to be mindful of what will be expected of them: working in numerous highly diverse teams with tight schedules, assisting their colleagues in areas where they may be less proficient, and seeking help when facing similar challenges. Additionally, it is critical to participate in activities that contribute to boosting class morale is crucial. I am confident that applicants who demonstrate not only their ability to contribute to the community but also their willingness to receive support from it, applicants who show a genuine eagerness to collaborate, will have great chances of gaining admission to the Esade MBA.”
Alonso Otárola (’24)

“My advice to potential applicants aiming for admission into the Esade MBA program is to stand out. Don’t be reticent about your accomplishments or your experiences. Embrace them and tell your unique story. Esade values diversity and the exchange of varied perspectives. The school seeks individuals eager to make a positive global impact – those willing to challenge norms and innovate. So, beyond striving for excellent GMAT scores and impressive academic achievements, introspect and identify what sets you apart. What makes you unique? How can you contribute to this community that strives not only to do good, but also to do it better and differently? Show them that uniqueness, and you’ll enhance your chances of joining the crew.”
Samuel Kofi Alomenu (’24)

“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.”
Felipe Alarcón Alvarez (’24)

MBA Student Hometown Undergraduate Alma Mater Last Employer
Felipe Alarcón Alvarez Bogotá, Colombia Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Dow Chemical Company
Gokce Gun Istanbul, Turkey Yeditepe University Novartis
Samuel Kofi Alomenu Accra, Ghana Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration Worldreader
Satomi Nakagawa Osaka, Japan Tohoku University Idemitsu Kosan
Rashmi Nirbhavne Mumbai, India Mumbai University Accenture
Anna Oliveras Torra Barcelona, Spain Universitat de Barcelona Janssen (Johnson&Johnson)
Alonso Otárola Lima, Peru Universidad del Pacífico McKinsey & Company
Domenico Potortì Naples, Italy University of Surrey Nissan Motor Company
Nabil Rajafellah Mantua, Italy Parma University Boston Consulting Group
Inês Filipa Rodrigues Fonseca Monteiro Amora, Portugal University of Lisbon Roche
Matthias Scheider Essen, Germany University of Muenster PwC Germany
Xiaoming Song Beijing, China Shandong University CGTN (China Global Television Network)

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