IESE Dean: Resolving To Embrace Our Shared Humanity

IESE Dean Franz Heukamp: “For 2024, I hope that collectively we do a better job of recognizing the inherent humanity and dignity of each person, beyond stereotypes and labels.”

As I look back and reflect on 2023, a year marked by harrowing conflicts around the world, my New Year’s resolution is to focus on how my actions, as well as the activities and initiatives of the school, can help those around us foster a sense of shared humanity. I truly believe that, despite our diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences, there are fundamental aspects of the human experience that unite all of us.

Yet too often, whether it’s through social media, media reports, or simply family debates during the holiday season, we can fixate on what divides us, and the differences between us fellow people. For 2024, I hope that collectively we do a better job of recognizing the inherent humanity and dignity of each person, beyond stereotypes and labels. It’s about emphasizing enduring human values like compassion, empathy and respect for others while conducting ourselves in our professional and personal lives with authenticity and humility.

Recognizing shared humanity first involves appreciating and celebrating the diversity of human experiences. At IESE, we have always embraced having a diversity of profiles and perspectives in our classrooms, and know the importance of creating environments that welcome people from various backgrounds. IESE’s extensive global reach is also rooted in emphasizing local expertise and approaches, such as through our international modules or when collaborating with our associated business schools, among others. In addition, during 2024 we will also will be doubling down on our offering for local executives in Germany. Our Munich campus continues to go from strength to strength, with our Executive MBA and recent AI program for executives proving valuable additions to the local business community. In 2024, we will also be providing new types of programs and opportunities from our Munich campus specifically tailored for those in the region (watch this space!).

Another aspect to this is making sure we have programs that respond to a variety of needs and preferences, while also encouraging more women on their path to business leadership positions. While we still see a strong preference for in-person programs, we have also implemented new types of online and blended learning programs that appeal to different profiles and markets. This is an area that IESE will be growing in 2024 and beyond.

Finally, we want to ensure that our research, teaching and other activities continues to emphasize the importance of universal humanistic values and provide ways for people to get the know-how to create a better and more just world. For example, through our multi-disciplinary research initiatives Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Management Initiative and our Institute for Sustainability Leadership. Both initiatives are producing world-class research, while overseeing the integration of new IESE programs and curriculum content that emphasizes practical ways students and executives can tackle these global challenges, all with an emphasis on positive impact.

In these ways, I resolve that 2024 will be a year in which IESE underscores the interconnectedness, commonality, and mutual responsibility that binds all human beings together.

Franz Heukamp is the dean of IESE Business School at the University of Navarra in Barcelona, Spain.

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