Esade Recruits A New Director General From Portugal’s Nova

Esade Business School

Daniel Traca, the former dean of Nova Business School, joins Esade in Spain as director general in September of 2024


Esade Business School in Spain has a new director general, recruiting the former dean of Nova School of Business & Economics in Portugal.

Daniel Traça, who succeeds Xavier Mendoza, will join Esade in September.

Traça will begin his tenure at a time when Esade has  considerable momentum (see Is Esade Poised For A Big Run?) This year, the program leaped from 30th to 17th in the latest Financial Times ranking, putting the program in striking distance of an entirely new class of business schools. It also ranked first in Bloomberg Businessweek’s European Business School Ranking last year.A case-driven program known for innovation and technology, ESADE ranked as the #3 MBA entrepreneurship program in the world by Poets&Quants last year. Launched by entrepreneurs in 1958, the Barcelona program also finished as the 3rd-best program for Entrepreneurship by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2023 as well.


According to Esade, Traça joins the school with a mission “to strengthen the institution’s global position, standing out for the quality of the educational experience it provides based on sustainability and social impact and its commitment to innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit, all founded on rigorous research which is relevant for society.”

“I accept this appointment with the resolve to work with every Esade community member and to strengthen the institution’s great legacy, helping reinforce the school’s current recognition for academic excellence, its firm wager on innovation, and its commitment to social impact, three intrinsic traits in Esade’s development since its founding,” says Traça in a statement.

When Traça served as dean at Nova from 2015 to 2022, he led the construction of a  new campus in Carcavelos, which led to an exponential growth in the number of students, especially foreign students (growing from 10% to 72%), and greater recognition and prestige for the school, notably improving its position in key rankings during that period.


Besides serving as a professor at Nova since leaving the deanship, Traça also has been s visiting professor at INSEAD in France and Singapore, where he previously served as an assistant professor. Prior to the latter, he held the Chair in Managing for Sustainable Human Development at the Solvay Brussels School, in addition to serving as vice president and director of the MBA program. He was also Visiting Professor at the KDI School of Public Policy and Management in Seoul and at the Geneva Graduate Institute. In the non-academic realm, he has worked as a consultant for both the World Bank and the European Commission.

Traça holds a PhD in Economics from Columbia Universityand an undergraduate degree in the same field from the Nova. His research focuses on the interface between corporate strategy and public policies, and he has published numerous articles in key international academic journals in the globalization and economic development fields.

Traça’s predecessor,  Mendoza, has served as director general since 2022 and has longstanding connections with Esade dating back to 1982. Mendoza also served as the Dean of the business school from 2000 to 2008, a period in which the executive education unit was incorporated within the Business School. He then served as Corporate Deputy Director General from 2008 to 2011. 


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