Academic Year Kicks Off with Record Number of MBA Students, New Covid-19 Measures

  • IESE´s MBA Class of 2023 is the largest in the school´s history with nearly 400 students and a new sixth section. They join new cohorts of IESE´s Master in Management (MiM) and Executive MBA programs beginning classes in Barcelona, Madrid, and Munich.
  • IESE is one of the only top schools to have remained open for in-person classes since June 2020, thanks to putting in place rigorous health and safety protocols. This academic year, safety measures have been updated to include new protocols on vaccination and testing.

This week around 1000 students begin in-person courses of the MBA, Master in Management (MiM), and Executive MBA programs at IESE Business School´s campuses in Barcelona, Madrid and Munich. IESE´s rigorous set of health and safety measures, which enabled it to be among the first business schools to return to face-to-face classes back in June 2020, have been updated to include new protocols on vaccination and testing. The updated protocols ensure a safe and productive educational environment for all.

Despite the ongoing disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, continued strong demand from high quality applicants for IESE´s masters programs means that the school was also able to open a sixth section of its full-time MBA program for the first time this year. The incoming MBA class of 2023 is the largest in the school´s history with 387 students, up from 355 last year. More than eighty percent of the class are international, with students hailing from 59 different nationalities.

IESE´s full-time MBA students take classes at IESE´s campus in Barcelona, and study the program in English over 15 or 19 months. The average age of the class is 29.

The new students of IESE´s Master in Management (MiM) class of 2022 also recently began classes at IESE´s campus in Madrid. The class counts on 77 students from 27 different nationalities. Aimed at recent graduates with minimal or no work experience, the average age of the class is 23.

Launched three years ago and taught over 11 months, the MiM is a full-time program in English from the Spanish capital. It provides an immersive experience for participants, enabling them to acquire the best business tools to kick-start their management career.

Meanwhile, the new edition of the Executive MBA program in Munich has also started. IESE´s campus in Germany begins its third class of the executive MBA with 62 new participants from 22 different nationalities. The average age of the class is 35.

Ensuring a safe, innovative campus

From the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, IESE worked quickly to adapt its classrooms and put in place a comprehensive set of health and safety measures. These measures enabled IESE to successfully return to face-to-face classes over a year ago.

IESE´s extensive efforts to safeguard its campuses include restricted campus access and temperature controls, mandatory mask use in all common spaces combined with a high tech air-renewal and renovation system. As the pandemic has evolved, these safety measures have been further updated for the 2021-2022 academic year to include new protocols on vaccination and testing.

IESE is strongly recommending all participants and staff are fully vaccinated and provide proof of that with an official certificate. Those who are not will need to provide weekly proof of a negative PCR, serological or antigen test in order to access campus.

Participants who are unable to attend in-person classes will also continue to be able to connect to classes remotely. 

More on IESE´s health protocols.

Prof. Pietro Bonetti finds evidence tying fracking to increased salt concentrations in surface waters

IESE Research in Science: Hydraulic fracturing may be impacting surface waters

  • New research, published in Science, finds evidence tying fracking to increased salt concentrations in surface waters
  • The research points to the need for better and more frequent water measurement to fully understand the environmental impact on surface water of unconventional oil and gas development

August 20, 2021. New research, published today in the prestigious journal Science, finds that fracking is linked to higher salt concentration in surface waters. The research, which is authored by professors from IESE Business School, Chicago Booth and the University of Bristol, concludes that better water measurement is needed in order to fully understand the environmental impact of fracking.

The discovery of hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, is considered by many to be the most important change in the energy sector since the introduction of nuclear generated electricity more than 50 years ago—and a controversial one. US production of oil and natural gas has increased, energy prices have fallen, and domestic energy security has strengthened as the US has relied more on fracked oil and less on imports. But critics point to health and environmental concerns, especially the threat fracking could pose to water supplies.

Some studies have documented groundwater contamination related to fracking, but surface water may also be at risk: IESE Business School´s Pietro Bonetti, Chicago Booth’s Christian Leuz, and University of Bristol’s Giovanna Michelon find evidence tying fracking to increased salt concentrations in surface waters across several US shales and many watersheds. While the elevated levels they discovered were very small and within the bounds of what the US Environmental Protection Agency considers safe, the researchers note that better water quality data is needed to fully understand the surface water impact of unconventional oil and gas development.

Fracking allows the energy industry to reach oil and gas stores that are otherwise unavailable, which it does by injecting millions of gallons of liquid underground, at a high pressure, in order to create fractures in rocks to allow oil or gas to flow. While the industry maintains that the process is safe, others have raised concerns regarding the fracking fluid (a mix of water and chemical additives and propping agents such as sand) and the large amounts of resulting wastewater, which includes both flowback from the fracking fluid and produced water from the deep formations. The latter brine is naturally occurring water, into which organic and inorganic constituents from the formation have dissolved, resulting in high salt concentrations.

While studies such as a 2011 paper by Duke’s Stephen G. Osborn, Avner Vengoshb, Nathaniel R. Warnerb, and Robert B. Jackson have linked fracking to groundwater contamination, there has been less evidence tying the process to surface water contamination, other than to isolated spills and leaks. But Bonetti, Leuz, and Michelon’s research suggests fracking may lead to increased salt concentrations in surface waters.

The researchers used a geo-coded database that combined surface water measurements with 46,479 hydraulic fracturing wells from 24 shales across 408 watersheds from 2006 to 2016. They specifically looked for concentrations of bromide, chloride, barium and strontium because these ions are usually found in high concentrations in flowback and produced water from wells, and they do not biodegrade and have been found several years after spills. Using a statistical approach, Bonetti, Leuz, and Michelon identified anomalous changes in ion concentration associated with new wells in the same watersheds.

Small but consistent increases in barium, chloride, and strontium

In areas where there were new hydraulic fracturing wells, there were also elevated salt concentrations in surface waters, according to the researchers, who find small but consistent increases in barium, chloride and strontium concentrations, but not bromide, for many watersheds across the US. These elevated levels existed in Pennsylvania—which accounted for almost 41 percent of the sample—and for all US watersheds at comparable magnitude and significance.

The increases in salt levels were largest during the early phases of production when wells generate large amounts of flowback and produced water, which suggests a link between elevated concentrations and the unconventional oil and gas development process, according to the research. The salt concentrations were most pronounced for wells that produced larger amounts of water and for wells located in areas where the deep formations exhibited higher levels of salinity.

The elevated levels the researchers discovered were well below the US Environmental Protection Agency’s limits and advisory levels for what is considered safe. However, the water measurements were predominantly taken from rivers, and it is important to recognize that not all wells are close to surface water and not all monitors are in locations where they could detect an effect, the researchers argue. In addition, they write, the study was hampered by the availability and measurement frequency of water quality data. Hydraulic fracturing fluids contain chemical substances that are potentially more dangerous than salts, but Bonetti, Leuz, and Michelon weren’t able to look for these chemicals, as they’re not widely covered by public databases.

As such, the research shows “we need better and more frequent monitoring and water measurement to get a greater understanding of the environmental implications of fracking”, says Bonetti. “For instance, federal and state environmental agencies could consider placing monitoring stations in a more targeted fashion to better track potential water-quality impacts. More extensive water measurement for a broader array of substances clearly requires adequate funding for these agencies.”

More: Pietro Bonetti, Christian Leuz, and Giovanna Michelon, “Large-Sample Evidence on the Impact of Unconventional Oil and Gas Development on Surface Waters,” Science, August 20 2021.

Read an interview with Prof. Bonetti discussing the research.


Speakers at IESE's 16th Banking Industry Meeting spoke of a stable and resilient sector.

Post-Covid outlook for banks is optimistic despite structural challenges

  • ECB’s Andrea Enría and Luis de Guindos speak at IESE-EY 16th Banking Industry Meeting

July 7, 2021. The banking system has shown resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, weathering the crisis and helping to limit its wider economic impact. Yet the industry should be wary of complacency if it is to secure its future, experts warn. The acceleration of the pre-COVID trends of digitalization and sustainability present significant challenges, as well as opportunities, as banks try to manage the transition to a greener and more digital economy. Meanwhile, despite a recent wave of mergers, low profitability remains a pressing issue, with representatives from the European Central Bank (ECB) suggesting further consolidations may be necessary.

Those are the key conclusions from the 16th Banking Industry Meeting, organized by the IESE-CIF in collaboration with EY.

The annual event, which concluded yesterday, brings together the leading players in the European banking industry including regulators, academics, consultants and CEOs. As such, the event helps give a 360-degree vision of how the sector is currently performing, and where it is heading at a decisive moment for society as a whole.

Toward recovery
This year’s event took place over two days under the title “Helping to boost the economy” and looked at how the industry can help limit the financial hit of the pandemic for households and companies, as well as boost the economic recovery. In addition, speakers reflected on the role banks will play in a future marked by technological disruption and the challenge of climate change.

Speaking on Monday, Andrea Enria, the ECB chief supervisor, focused his remarks on the post pandemic outlook. According to Enria, positive signs of economic recovery combined with the fact that uncertainty – a defining feature of the COVID-19 crisis – is starting to abate, points to an overall picture of a stable and resilient banking sector.

Enria also spoke about the ECB´s plans to allow banking institutions to continue to use their capital buffers flexibly until at least 2022, given that they have been particularly strained in the face of the pandemic. “We do not want to start again to tighten the reins on the capital buffers while the crisis is still hitting the balance sheets of the banks.”

However, Enria urged banks to be wary of complacency, warning that banks should not be negligent with loans that could become shaky in the wake of the crisis. In addition, he questioned whether banks would take significantly bold measures to secure their future, pointing out that low profitability remains a concern. He suggested that further consolidations in the sector may be necessary, whether in the form of full-scale mergers or though consolidating business lines.

Merging the future
For his part, ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos highlighted the success of the extraordinary measures adopted during the pandemic to boost the economy, with company bankruptcies and unemployment being largely contained.

However, he reiterated Enria’s call for banks to improve their profitability to address the sector’s structural deficiencies. He also said he would encourage cross-border mergers within Europe, stating that it would be “very desirable” as it would send a signal that there is a European banking market.

Finally, many speakers also spoke about how the pandemic has accelerated several pre-COVID trends such as digital banking and the transition to a more sustainable, greener world. Here, de Guindos highlighted how the pandemic has shown the opportunity of new digital channels and ways of working, as well as the importance of properly addressing the issue climate risk.

José Manuel Campa, former IESE professor and current President of the European Banking Authority (EBA), added that financial institutions must urgently “improve the mechanisms for measuring and evaluating environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks.”

Meanwhile, BBVA CEO Onur Genç referred to climate change as “one of the greatest disruptions in the history of mankind” and highlighted the role the banking sector can play in financing and acting as catalysts to the transition to a greener economy.

Photo caption: speakers at IESE’s 16th Banking Industry Meeting spoke of a stable and resilient sector.

Most attractive countries to invest post-Covid? China, South Korea and France enter top 10 for first time

  • The 2021 Venture Capital and Private Equity Country Attractiveness Index sees the US hold on to the world’s number 1 spot, followed by the UK (2), Japan (3), Germany (4) and Canada (5).
  • Within the top 10, the most remarkable gains were seen for China, South Korea and France, who entered the top 10 for the first time. All top-ranked countries are expected to make swift recoveries from the COVID-related recession, especially China
  • In its 10th edition, this year’s report also includes a five-year historic comparison, pointing out which economies are moving in the right direction in terms of their VC/PE attractiveness

July 07, 2021. The United States remains unparalleled as a magnet for investors, according to the 10th anniversary edition of the Venture Capital (VC) and Private Equity (PE) Country Attractiveness Index, released today. The index ranks 125 countries according to the quality of their investment environment for adventurous VC and PE investors. The countries are analysed and ranked according to thousands of weighted data points covering six key drivers: economic activity, depth of capital markets, taxation, investor protections and corporate governance, human and social environment, and finally entrepreneurial culture and deal opportunities*.

Based on its strong performance in all six areas, the United States continues to be the index benchmark with a score of 100. It is followed by the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, and Canada to round out the top five.

Within the top 10, the most remarkable gains were seen for China, South Korea and France, who entered the top 10 for the first time. All top-ranked countries are expected to make swift recoveries from the COVID-related recession, especially China (now 7th), where GDP growth is already recorded.

Spain, meanwhile, entered the top 20, having climbed seven places in the ranking since 2015. Its success is due to increasing capital market activity and a professionalism of its financial community, as well as a more entrepreneur-friendly culture.

In terms of regions, North America, Australasia and Western Europe are the most attractive for capital allocations, as the heat map below shows. (Visit the VC/PE Country Attractiveness Index 2021 website for an interactive map to drill down for individual country analyses.)

The United Kingdom stays on top in Europe

In the previous edition, published in 2018, all eyes were on the United Kingdom to see how much its position might change due to Brexit. However, the analysis finds that, “potential Brexit effects are not (yet) visible in the data and have been somewhat superimposed by the COVID-related damages.”

Nevertheless, the gap between the United States in first place and United Kingdom in second has widened, while the gaps between the others in the top five have narrowed. These changes are partly driven by the pandemic’s impact on financial markets everywhere, reducing the differences between many countries in terms of their “depth of capital markets” indicators.

Tracking 5 year trends in VC/PE country attractiveness

In order to demonstrate shifts in the VC and PE country attractiveness, the authors also performed a historic comparison, tracking ranking changes from 2016-2021. This analysis reveals strong increases of VC and PE attractiveness for certain countries, as well as highlighting the impact of financial and economic crises on others.

In the VC and PE arena, many investors are looking to emerging economies for faster growth. While many are promising, the index creators warn that underdeveloped markets or other risk factors should be taken into account. That said, tracking five-year trends can reveal which economies are moving in the right direction in terms of their VC/PE attractiveness. Tracking changes in the index can be useful for investors watching developments in countries’ institutions and socio-economic situations over the years.

About the report

Designed and elaborated by IESE Business School’s Center for International Finance, working in conjunction with emlyon business school and eXapital, the VC/PE Country Attractiveness Index and accompanying report were prepared by Alexander Groh (emlyon business school), Heinrich Liechtenstein (IESE Business School), Karsten Lieser (eXapital) and IESE guest researcher Markus Biesinger. This year, the index celebrates its 10th anniversary and the research team plans to release a series of additional alternative investment indices covering real estate, infrastructure and impact investing.

The results are presented on the VC/PE Country Attractiveness Index 2021 website which includes dynamic features for ad-hoc analyses and the additional information.


*The six key drivers covered by the ranking are:

  • economic activity, including the economy’s size, expected GDP growth and employment levels
  • depth of capital markets, including the markets’ size, liquidity and IPO activity as well as M&A activity, lending and the health of the banking system
  • taxation, focused on entrepreneurial incentives and burdens
  • investor protections and corporate governance, including property rights protections and the quality of legal enforcement
  • human and social environment, including measures of education, labor practices and corruption
  • entrepreneurial culture and deal opportunities, including indicators of innovation, scientific output, the ease of starting (and closing) a business, as well as corporate R&D

About IESE Business School

IESE is one of the world’s most international business schools, with campuses in Barcelona, Madrid, New York, Munich and São Paulo. Consistently ranked within the top ten worldwide, IESE has pioneered business education in Europe since its founding in 1958 in Barcelona. IESE seeks to develop business leaders with solid business skills, a global mindset and a desire to make a positive impact on society. The school distinguishes itself in its general-management approach, extensive use of the case method, international outreach, and emphasis on placing people at the heart of managerial decision-making. The Financial Times currently ranks IESE no.1 in the world for executive education, and has done so every year since 2015.

About emlyon business school

Founded in 1872 by the Lyon CCI, emlyon business school has an enrolment of 8,600 students of 121 nationalities. The school has six campuses around the world (Lyon, Saint-Étienne, Casablanca, Shanghai, Paris and Bhubaneswar), a network of 190 international academic partners and an active community of 33,000 alumni in 130 countries. emlyon business school’s mission is to foster “makers”, to provide life-long training for leaders, managers, entrepreneurs and senior executives with solid international experience and intra/entrepreneurial abilities, who are capable of understanding the complexity of the world and give it meaning, as well as shaping and transforming companies and the society in which they operate, as part of a collaborative approach. emlyon business school provides opportunities to develop these skills through original learning methods that combine the creation and output of academic research of excellence and innovative learning paths based on action and experimentation.

About eXapital

eXapital (“eX”) is a founder-owned capital and investment solutions boutique linking alternative assets with global investors. Based on decades of experience and best-in-class technology the firm delivers smart funding solutions and pre-qualified investment opportunities. In addition, eX offers M&A advisory (buy-side & sell-side) providing access to unique transactions and platform investments across alternative strategies (PE, VC, RE and Digital Infra).

IESE research in Science: Lack of female inventors hinders women’s health innovation

  • New research, published in Science, points to gender imbalance in R&D having repercussions for women´s health. It marks an important step towards showing how labor-market inequality can lead to product-market inequality.
  • U.S. biomedical patents with all-female inventor teams are 35% more likely to focus on women’s health than all-male teams, new research finds.
  • Science magazine, published by the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society, is among the world’s bestselling and most prestigious general science journals.

June 18, 2021, Barcelona. Why are women’s diseases, women’s anatomy or women’s needs more generally overlooked by inventors? New research points to gender imbalance in R&D having repercussions for who is benefiting from inventions.

Analyzing more than 430,000 U.S. biomedical patents filed between 1976 and 2010, professors Sampsa Samila of IESE Business School, Rembrand Koning of Harvard Business School, and John-Paul Ferguson of McGill University find significant evidence that who is doing the inventing affects what is being invented, and they point to the missed opportunities that this pattern reveals. Their paper “Who do we invent for? Patents by women focus more on women’s health, but few women get to invent” is published in the journal Science.

Today only about 13% of U.S. patent inventors are women. Yet this study found marked progress over the years: in 1976, just 6.3% of biomedical patents came from women-led teams while the figure grew to 16.2% in 2010. There is evidence that this 10 percentage point increase has resulted in significantly more innovations affecting women’s health.

There’s also evidence that women, who currently make up about 35% of STEM scientists, aren’t more plentiful in the ranks of patented inventors for a few reasons — including gender bias in the labor market and in decisions regarding which R&D opportunities are deemed worth pursuing by managers.

“Effectively, the results are showing that labor market inequality could lead to product market inequality,” prof. Samila explains. “In other words, discrimination in the labor market is not just an issue for the individuals affected, but it affects the entire society due to the absence of the contributions of those who were discriminated against.”

The good news is that lowering barriers to disadvantaged groups should help boost innovation and economic growth. “There may still be many untapped market opportunities to invent for women, opportunities that could in turn improve women’s health,” the co-authors state.

Innovation inequality

Anecdotal evidence abounds of advances by female inventors. For example, the entrepreneur Surbhi Sarna has drawn from her own ovarian cancer scare to invent a better cancer-detection tool. Another, Dr. Patricia Bath, has invented a more precise treatment for cataracts, which affect women more often than men. This new research backs these up with systematic data analysis, finding that all-female teams of inventors are 35% more likely to focus on women’s health than all-male teams are. Interestingly, male inventors are less likely to focus their patented innovations on either men’s or women’s health issues when compared with their female counterparts.

While inventor teams with some women also follow a sex-focus pattern, the pattern is “strongest for all-female invention teams, holds over decades, and is present even within narrow areas of invention,” as the co-authors summarize. This latter point “suggests that the female inventor-invention link is both the result of women working in more female-focused research areas [e.g., gynecology] and female inventors identifying opportunities to invent for women regardless of the area in which they work [e.g., ocular surgery procedures].”

Prof. Samila gratefully acknowledges funding for this project from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 799330.

About IESE Business School

IESE Business School is the graduate business school of the University of Navarra. Founded in 1958, the school is one of the world’s most international business schools, with campuses in Barcelona, Madrid, Munich, New York and São Paulo. Consistently ranked within the top ten worldwide, IESE Business School has pioneered business education in Europe since its founding. For sixty years, IESE has sought to develop business leaders with solid business skills, a global mind-set and a desire to make a positive impact on society. The school distinguishes itself in its general-management approach, extensive use of the case method, international outreach, and emphasis on placing people at the heart of managerial decision-making. IESE is currently ranked number 1 in the world for Executive Education programs by the Financial Times, and has been every year since 2015.   


Corporate venturing in deep tech on the rise in East and Southeast Asia

  • 77 innovation leaders took part in IESE Business School’s new report, revealing their biggest challenges innovating with deep-tech start-ups
  • Japan, South Korea, mainland China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand are the East and Southeast regions with the highest adoption rate of corporate venturing
  • 71% of analyzed companies expect to increase their collaboration with deep-tech start-ups during the next 5 years

Hong Kong/MadridIESE Business School releases today a new report on corporate venturing in deep tech in East and Southeast Asia, which finds that the region’s largest companies are stepping up their collaborations with start-ups at the cutting edge of technology.

The study covers the regions of Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, mainland China, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, and looks at how companies are working with start-ups on the frontlines of innovation.

“Deep tech refers to emerging technologies based on scientific discoveries or engineering innovations, seeking to tackle some of the world’s fundamental challenges–encompassing work in expanding fields such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, blockchain, robotics, and quantum computing,” co-authors Josemaria Siota and Prof. Mª Julia Prats explain in the report.

The study found that among the analyzed companies, corporate venturing – the practice of established companies innovating with start-ups – has increased 2.8 times in the past five years, while deep-tech cooperation has gone up 4.2 times.

This growth puts East and Southeast Asia ahead of Latin America but still behind the United States in terms of corporate–start-up innovations among corporate giants. On average, East and Southeast Asia have a 57% adoption rate of corporate venturing, compared to Latin America with 40% and the United States with 90%.

The study also looked at obstacles to this type of cooperation. Based on 77 interviews, the study identifies seven areas that keep chief innovation officers up at night, ranging from technology evaluation, corporate short-term view over deep-tech start-ups, silos between R&D and corporate venturing teams, regulation, to top-down innovation approach.

The report is being released in Hong Kong at the Corporate Innovation Summit organized by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), which is discussing corporate innovation trends and best practices.

For more on the study´s findings see:

New report: Improving the resilience of the financial system in response to Natural Disasters

  • The 3rd Future of Banking report by IESE and CEPR explores how prepared the financial system is for future pandemics and climate change

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed severe vulnerabilities in the global financial system, and serves as a cautionary tale for the potentially devastating effects that future natural disasters and climate change could cause to the world economy. The question of whether society is adequately prepared and what measures can be put in place to mitigate these risks has never been more pertinent.

A new CEPR/IESE report by Patrick Bolton, Marcin Kacperczyk, Harrison Hong, and Xavier Vives tests precisely how resilient the financial system is to natural disasters and discusses what can be done to make it more resilient. The report details how to reshape central bank policies to address climate-related risks, debates the role of asset managers in dealing with natural disasters and climate risk, and explains why mitigation is a form of self-insurance to limit the systemic risks of global warming.

This is the third report in the series on The Future of Banking, part of the Banking Initiative from the IESE Business School and supported by Citi. In the report, the authors stress the need for the financial sector – from asset managers, supervisory regulators to central banks – to play a major role in the prevention and taming of these disruptive, environment-related events. To do so, climate risk drivers and their transmission channels must be accurately addressed, precise measurement of the economic and financial impact of the different risks is essential, and mitigation and risk-reduction measures must be adequately developed. Policymakers thus have a responsibility to guarantee the stability of the financial system and use the fiscal and environmental instruments at their disposal. Climate risk should not be measured through short-term horizons and there must be an internationally coordinated response to a global issue. 

“The Covid-19 crisis and the subsequent downturn have reinforced the need to evaluate and address highly disruptive environment-related events as well as the strategic importance of sustainable finance in the upcoming years”

The risks involving natural disasters and climate change are large and complex. As a result, they require a broad range of players and tools to manage them. Fighting climate change will require a combination of public intervention and private sector mitigation strategies to price and hedge the long-term implications of climate-related events. Carbon abatement proposals should include net-zero commitments made by governments and companies worldwide to decarbonise the economy, and sustainable finance mandates should be introduced, backed by financial intermediaries to incentivise firm efforts towards decarbonisation.

Three key messages emerge from the report:

  • Central banks must play a proactive role in promoting mitigation policies and coordinating climate risk policies consistent with government mandates, the private sector and civil society. Central banks should focus on the development of forward-looking scenarios and the implementation of climate stress tests. Central banks must include natural disaster risk in their prudential policy frameworks. The policy response to stabilize the financial system, however, should avoid an excessive reliance on central bank backstops – ‘lender of last resort’ interventions should not become the default.
  • Asset managers can facilitate the management of climate risk and promote green financing through hedging and engagement in mitigation. Although an array of hedging instruments have been developed by the financial industry in response to crises, the systemic nature of natural disasters complicates the hedging activity for financial players because of the lack of effective risk-sharing. Financial markets and asset managers could discipline market participants to stimulate mitigation efforts by the real sector.
  • Climate mitigation investments, such as incentives for firms to adopt decarbonisation technologies and reach net-zero targets, could have similar positive effects on stock valuations and for climate risk-management responses to those seen with the rapid development of vaccines to combat the pandemic, which played a significant role in stabilizing the financial system during the Covid-19 shock. Clear clarification of financial commitments and enforcement of stringent standards to combat climate change is essential in this regard.

The report shows that climate change and associated natural disasters will undoubtedly cause severe disruption to the global financial system without the implementation of adequate prevention and mitigation strategies. The Covid-19 pandemic should serve as a stark warning that the financial sector, from firms to central banks, must act now to ensure future stability. 

IESE 2021 MBA Graduation Ceremony Celebrated on Campus

  • Rigorous health and safety protocols allow for a special in-person event, which included a commencement speech from the CEO of Cellnex Telecom

On May 21, 2021, IESE´s MBA Class of 2021 took part in a special graduation ceremony on the school´s Barcelona campus. IESE was able to hold the ceremony in-person thanks to putting in place a series of rigorous health and safety protocols. These follow on from a comprehensive set of health measures that IESE has already implemented on its campuses, which have enabled it to resume in-classroom instruction since June 2020.

The ceremony included commencement speeches from prominent IESE alum Tobias Martinez, the CEO of Cellnex Telecom, as well as from IESE prof. Marc Badia, Director of the MBA program, Catherine Vera, President of the MBA Graduating Class of 2021, and finally Franz Heukamp, Dean of IESE Business School.

The IESE MBA Class of 2021 were able to participate in the graduation ceremony in-person if they had either been vaccinated, had already gone through Covid-19 as of January 1 of this year, or had received a negative antigen test that was taken the same day of graduation.

Along with the students, about thirty faculty members attended the ceremony. All attendees had to adhere to social distancing guidelines and wear masks. All facilities also utilized extensive air purification and air renewal systems.

The families and friends of graduates connected remotely to follow the ceremony online and in real-time.

Speeches focus on adaptability, lifelong learning, spirit of service and responsibility

The modified ceremony caps what became a distinctly different MBA experience than what many of the Class of 2021 would have anticipated when they first began classes in September 2019. But just as the class had to rise to the challenge and adapt to the new circumstances, so too did IESE.  Since the pandemic began, IESE has adapted its facilities and redoubled its commitment to the hybrid methodology so that it can continue offering a transformative, innovative and, above all, safe educational experience for students.

The theme of learning from the challenging circumstances of the pandemic was reiterated in the commencement speech of the MBA class president, Catherine Vera. She spoke about how the class of 2021 have become captains of change”, who have increased their resilience and adaptability. Addressing her fellow graduating classmates, she said that over the course of the pandemic, “we found ways to reclaim what we had worked so hard to build, proving to ourselves that we are more prepared than ever to convert challenges into opportunities.”

“Thank you all who worked relentlessly to ensure the campus was safe and functioning for us to complete our course of study. We couldn’t have done this without you”, she added.

In his address, Tobias Martinez the CEO of Cellnex Telecom, shared his advice to the graduates about the importance of constant learning as well as the three stages of his professional life and how it helped him in his career. The first stage was focused on developing an entrepreneurial mindset, the second on management, and the third on synthesis and strategic vision.

For his part, IESE MBA program director prof. Marc Badia emphasized the importance of the graduates possessing a spirt of service, not just to help them become better leaders but also to have happy, fulfilled lives. According to prof. Badia, “the pandemic has made evident our dependence on jobs and professions that often remain hidden and yet are fundamental”, such as delivery workers, supermarket cashiers or cleaning staff. As such, “we need their help in the same way that others need our help, starting with our families and close friends. When we serve, we better appreciate the many undeserved gifts we receive from others. When we serve others, we are useful, we have purpose and we grow as human beings.”

To conclude, IESE Business School Dean Franz Heukamp reminded the MBA class of their responsibility as future business leaders. “The more that each of us has a deep sense of responsibility and commitment to the needs of the people around us, the better the world is going to be”, he said.

“Creating business leaders the world needs”

  • IESE and Shizenkan’s MBA Future of Capitalism course closes with former Unilever CEO Paul Polman 

The first edition of IESE and Shizenkan UniversityMBA course on the future of capitalism came to a close last week, in a special session where students presented their vision of how business can have a more positive impact on the world

During the course, students received input from a group of prominent business leaders and CEOs who are supporting the initiative, including:  

  • Paul PolmanCo-founder and Chair of ImagineHonorary Chair of International Chamber of Commerce and former CEO of Unilever 
  • Tak Niinami, CEO of Suntory Holdings 
  • James Higa, Executive Director of Philanthropic Ventures Foundation and former Senior Director of Office of the CEO at Apple 
  • B. Muthuraman, former Vice Chairman of Tata Steel and Chairman of Tata International 
  • John Elkington, Founder and Chief Pollinator of Volans 
  • Nitin Nohria, professor and former dean of Harvard Business School. 

There’s “a need to bend the curve of capitalism to make it more sustainable, more inclusive and more functional for the generations to come,” Paul Polman said during the final session’s keynote address.

He also stressed the importance of creating leaders who can drive this change in business, highlighting how the Future of Capitalism MBA course can help lead the way“We certainly need more business school programs that create the business leaders the world needs, so I commend this program for doing that.” He particularly praised the global nature of the program, which involves collaborating with schools from Brazil, India, Japan and Spain. “We cannot tackle these big issues alone, so having these broader partnerships in the academic world is key.”

A global MBA project for social change 

The Future of Capitalism is an MBA course that is designed to help students critically observe the current state of capitalism and explore the roles of business leadership required to create a better future. 

The course was developed by IESE and Japan’s Shizenkan Universityin cooperation with the School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL), India, and Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV), Brazil. Launched in January 2021, the course is open to MBA students from all four schools. In total, 81 students of 22 different nationalities took part in the course.  

Over the last three months, the MBA students have engaged in virtual conversations with a variety of guest speakers from around the world, including Mark Thompsonformer CEO of New York TimesJennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International; former child soldiers in Uganda; and formerly homeless children in Bangladesh, among others. 

In the final session of the course, two finalist student groups presented their vision for how capitalism can become more inclusive. The first group to present explained the problem of adequately defining capitalismThey also highlighted how one of the issues with the current system is that “while we may have greater wealth creation, we also have greater inequality.” They attribute this to the widespread use of return on investment (ROI) instead of value creation as the main way to assess performance, which can ultimately end up destroying value. For them, the single biggest issue with the current system is “the shift from value creation to money creation.” 

The second group of students focused on how to encourage an even balance between promoting economic improvement and social well-being. Among their proposals, they looked at the need for business to think more long-term, explored changes in how to incentivize CEOs, and also emphasized the importance of collaboration 

Muthuraman praised the “brilliant presentations” and how they highlighted the importance of looking at the system as a whole, measuring performance in a proper and holistic way, and understanding the importance of balancing competing needsHe concluded by reminding the participants to make sure they apply the learnings from the course to their own lives, because “we need more advocacy.”

Business leaders on the future of education 

The final session also included a high-level panel discussion among five business supporters of the course and IESE Dean Franz HeukampOne of the topics explored how education needs to change to have a more positive impact on society.  

Polman highlighted the key role responsible business leadership must play in tackling climate change and inequality, and the crucial part business schools can play in that.  

“We need the willpower of our leadership. Sixty percent of climate change solutions are available to us now. We need to use them. We also need a new economic narrative.” To do that, “we need to create leaders who are good human beings with empathy and compassion. Never has the role of business schools been more important.”

John Elkington said that, “the future generations are being massively disadvantaged by our current actions and non-actions.” He added that, “we can’t just simply say to younger people that we will educate you so you can help with this. This is a pan-generational issue. We also need to re-educate the older generation” who have the experience, connections and perhaps time to do something about it.

James Higa talked about how the style of leadership has changed in his lifetime, and education needs to reflect this. “Being a CEO or leader is not done anymore within the confines of four walls and at the head of a conference room table. How do you help leaders bring this sense of collaboration and working with outside groups into being?”

He added that the new generation of leaders need to know how to lead in online settings, and have the ability to listen, empathise, persuade and build trust with disparate people. 

For his part, Nitin Nohria, former dean of Harvard Business School, pointed out how business schools are now over 100 years old, so what they need to focus on now also has to change. He said the values of this generation are in the right place, the issue is now for business schools to understand how to arm students with a body of knowledge that can equip them to better translate these values into businesses.  

To conclude the session, Tomo NodaProfessor and Chair of the Board of Trustees at Shizenkan Universityreiterated that the aim of the Future of Capitalism is to be “not only a course but a project for social change.”

The next edition of the Future of Capitalism will take place in 2022, with the aim of opening up the course to more participating schools thus increasing its impact. The objective is to convert the course into a platform where around 300 students from 30 schools can join for the 2024 edition. 

Photo caption: Paul Polman, Nitin Nohria, Franz Heukamp and John Elkington (clockwise from top) spoke during the closing session of The Future of Capitalism MBA course.

IESE venture hub report

IESE-led startups create 70,000 new jobs worldwide, raise $3.6 billion in capital

  • New report sets 2030 goals for school’s entrepreneurship and innovation activities

April 12, 2021. Companies founded by IESE Business School alumni have created over 70,000 jobs worldwide and raised some $3.6 billion in capital, as the school has expanded its entrepreneurial ecosystem, according to a new report.

The report measures the impact of IESE’s entrepreneurship activities over the last two decades, and sets out goals in the area for the year 2030. The numbers are based on an analysis of internal IESE data, complemented with external databases such as Crunchbase, Dealroom, LinkedIn, and others.

Among the highlights of the impact report:

  • 70,000 jobs have been created by IESE-trained entrepreneurs in 5 continents
  • $3.6 billion of capital has been raised by IESE-founded companies
  • 30% of IESE students have started a business within 5 years of graduation
  • $65 million has been invested in startups by IESE funds and other mechanisms

But IESE’s impact goes beyond helping to create thousands of companies. It has also conducted relevant research and held conferences and other events related to entrepreneurship and innovation, in order to advance knowledge in the field. That impact includes:

  • 15 competitive projects in which IESE has been selected by the European Commission, and governments in Asia and Latin America
  • 20 publications per year over the past two decades, including refereed articles, books, studies and business cases
  • 70 extracurricular events per year such as entrepreneurship conferences, hackathons and workshops – tripling the activity of four years ago

“Entrepreneurship at IESE has an increasing relevance and these numbers reflect our deep global impact,” said Prof. Mª Julia Prats, Academic Director of IESE’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center (EIC). “By developing entrepreneurs and innovators, we are supporting the creation of companies, jobs, knowledge and economic growth,” Josemaria Siota, Executive Director of the EIC, said.

2030 goals in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals

The report also sets ambitious goals for 2030, in line with three of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Those are:

  • Create 50,000 new jobs by supporting 5,000 entrepreneurs in building their startups and in raising at least €500 million in venture investment (UN Goal #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth)
  • Impact 2,000 C-suite executives across the globe through IESE research and activities (UN Goal #17 Partnerships to Achieve the Goals)
  • Release 200 new publications related to search funds, corporate venturing, technology transfer and angel investment, in order to foster innovation (UN Goal #9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure)

At IESE, the entrepreneurial mindset is embedded across programs, which prepares all its graduates for the startup world or to innovate within existing firms. In addition, IESE provides research, insights, networks and funding through its Technology Transfer Group, Open Innovation Institute, International Search Funds Center, Finaves venture capital fund, Business Angels Network and weGrow mentoring program, among other initiatives.