Connor Sullivan

Connor Sullivan, United States
Full-Time MBA Class of 2022

Professional Roles, Achievements and Activities

  • FinTech Club Founding Member
  • President of Sales & Business Development Club
  • ESADE Runners Leader

What is invisible but essential about YOU? or ESADE? or Barcelona?

My parents lived in Tokyo during the ’80s and moved back to the United States to start a family. I was the firstborn into a large Irish Catholic family living in the New York City area. Growing up, my mother tutored Japanese American children in our home during weekdays. After English class was dismissed, the student’s mothers would drop off Japanese candies or food. “Nori” became a favourite lunchtime staple of mine, despite the ridicule of my classmates. These early experiences helped me develop a connection with the outside world. Twenty-some years later, I was on a one-way flight to Singapore’s Changi Airport. I remember the conversations with co-workers before leaving “You’re moving where?”

Over the next couple years, I experienced life on the other side of the world, working in Singapore, Hong Kong & Tokyo.  It is was equally exciting & challenging, and where I received my first cultural crash course.  It is also where I met my wife, from Bordeaux, who opened my eyes to another distinctly new (and delicious) culture.  Early last year, in the midst of COVID, we chose Barcelona for the next stop in our journey.  To us, we saw Barcelona as a global city that was still in touch with its roots, something that resonated with us both.  To me, ESADE represented the same identity, and it is where I’ve found a truly global family here in Spain.  In six months from now, the next chapter in our story will begin as we welcome a Franco-American child here in Barcelona.  While an identity crisis may be on the horizon, we couldn’t be happier to start our family here within Barcelona & ESADE.

Heejun Goo

Heejun Goo, South Korea
Full-Time MBA Class of 2022

Professional Roles, Achievements and Activities

From a young age, through my teenage years, my only focus was Taekwondo as a junior professional player, and my childhood dream was to become a member of the Korean National Taekwondo Team. However, the first dream was shattered when I got herniated disc in my back, and after recovering my body and my mind through a horrible and long rehabilitation process, I started thinking about another future plan. My only real interest outside of Taekwondo was the content, media, and entertainment, so I decided to pursue a career in that field and went to study in the UK. I enjoyed my university life with various and dynamic experiences. After graduation, I finally achieved my second dream. I joined CJ ENM, which is a leading media company in Korea and producer & distributor of the great movie, Parasite. Amongst those challenging and dynamic time in my life, I would like to talk more about my work experiences.

I started my career as an intern in 2012 and by 2016, I had gained a variety of experience across the media and entertainment industry. In 2017, when I felt I was reaching a crossroads in my career over whether to focus on becoming a specialist or take a managerial path, my own line manager helped me take the decision to focus on the managerial track. After working hard on developing my leadership skills, in 2018, I was ranked first in my division and was selected for the ‘potential leader’ development program, operated by the Human Resource Management team. In addition, I was also selected as an employee representative at a commemoration ceremony in 2019 and received a citation from the CEO. The fact that my hard work and achievements were recognized early by my manager and the company and I was given the opportunity to develop my skills as a leader, is something that I am very proud of.

What is invisible but essential about YOU? or ESADE? or Barcelona?

As said, I was a junior Taekwondo professional player. When I was in middle and high school, I typically spent at least ten hours a day practicing, and I built a reputation as a promising player. However, I could not make the dream due to a severe herniated disc in my back. The horrible accident suddenly and unexpectedly hit me, and I was afraid of losing the thing that was most important to me. In addition, my doctor warned me that there was a chance that I would not walk again. The first three months of rehabilitation were the toughest, I continually fell over, had bruises all over my body, and had trouble sleeping due to the pain. Thanks to my family, but I could overcome the toughest moment in my life so far and came back to a normal life without any pains.

Through this process, I started to realize that I was a naturally positive and strong-willed person, which has given me the added confidence that I can achieve anything I set my mind to in the future. Also, I realized that I am very systematically planned, structured, and self-disciplined person through the rehabilitation. I built the habit of setting goals, making plans, and implementing them on every single day during the rehabilitation. Lastly, but most importantly, I learnt the lesson that “too much is as bad as too little & to always be humble for both physically and mentally” as I tried to understand what caused my herniated disc. These three lessons have become ESSENTIAL factors in my life. 

For me, ESADE is a representative of diversity, equality, and harmony. As a child I was strongly influenced by my mother, who was a social worker helping senior citizens and immigrants, and the lessons she taught me about treating everyone equally, has meant that I am able to get along with everyone, irrespective of their background. I hope this another essential but invisible of me will be aligned with ESADE SPIRIT. Now, I am enjoying ESADE MBA life and trying to improve and hone myself to start on the path to becoming an industry leader who can positively influence the people around me.

Maryam Samee

Maryam Samee, Pakistan & United Kingdom
Full-Time MBA Class of 2021

Professional Roles, Achievements and Activities

Growing up I was always told that I should be a lawyer because I was passionate and loved to debate. However, after studying law at university and practising as a Paralegal at a law firm in Borneo for a year, I realised the profession was not for me and that I wanted to do something creative. Digital marketing looked dynamic and exciting to me and so I decided to work for an agency. Here I had the opportunity to work on some exciting projects for major FMCG clients like Nestle and Miller Genuine Draft. 

I eventually moved into the hospitality sector, working with the likes of the Gordon Ramsay Group and D&D London- two of London’s major hospitality groups launching their websites and e-commerce platforms. As an avid foodie, this was the perfect combination of my skill set- combining my love for food with my digital marketing background. Most recently, I moved in house to work for one of the world’s most innovative hospitality groups with six Michelin stars in its portfolio.

Following this, I decided that I wanted to expand my knowledge and learn about all areas of business beyond digital. I wanted to learn about finance, operations, and all these other facets and so I decided to do an MBA. For me it was extremely important to find the right school- one that was diverse not just in the nationality of students, but also their backgrounds and thought- and so I decided on ESADE after being lucky enough to get accepted following a very thoughtful and enjoyable selection process where I really got to experience the ESADE spirit.

During my MBA I have been very active in club life- taking on roles as Vice President of the Marketing Club and Vice President of Allies in the LGBTQ+ Club. Although this was not the MBA experience any of us had envisioned due to COVID, I had the opportunity to get involved in ways I had never imagined. During this time, I founded the ESADE Black Lives Matter Coalition, which has now been developed into ESADE’s Blacks in Business & Allies Club by the new class. I also led a series of virtual cookalongs for my class where we all took part in teaching each other how to cook dishes from our respective countries. 

What is invisible but essential about YOU? or ESADE? or Barcelona?

Having grown up across six different countries- my entire life experience has been a melting pot of cultures, thoughts, and mindsets. I was born in Pakistan and then moved back and forth between there, the Middle East and the UK. Growing up in multiple cultures has also allowed me to see issues from different perspectives. Personally, I am most concerned with the theme of feminism, and what equality and equal opportunity mean to women in different parts of the world. Although at face value everyone believes in the equality of women, what that actually looks like and how we get there is often something people clash on. Through my professional work experience, I have also observed firsthand many of the struggles women face in the workplace. For example, I have seen how senior women in male-dominated upper management roles sometimes struggle as authority figures with their assertiveness being misconstrued as aggression. I find that women need to work harder to strike a balance between confidence and approachability than their male peers do.

Beatriz Hortelano Garvayo

Beatriz Hortelano Garvayo, Spain
Full-Time MBA Class of 2022

Professional Roles, Achievements and Activities

  • Visiting 55 countries, some with friends some alone
  • My contribution in “Arjuna el Guerrero de la Luz” a Poetry collection by my mother which was published in 2019
  • Volunteering in Mexico for two months providing medical and psychological support to 150 children of the same community
  • Five years of international professional experience

What is invisible but essential about YOU? or ESADE? or Barcelona?

Raised between Spain and Germany, I have constantly moved from one country to another. When thinking of “Invisible but essential” the first thing that pops into my mind “Nec spe nec metu” – without hope, without fear. By following and believing in this phrase, my heart suddenly got divided between the place where I was born and the place where I was reborn:

I’ve long tried to be invisible. Even when out among “the people,” I preferred to pass unnoticed, to merge with the crowd. You can call it being introverted if you will. My desire to remain invisible was based less on wanting to be left alone and more on not wanting to bother anyone. I tried to pass through crowds as smoothly as I could for many years, letting people pass when they were in a hurry and holding open doors whenever I could, contributing whilst not taking.

Until I found myself searching for the right answer to the question someone had asked me: “What’s the reason for you not doing this Bea?” “Lack of self-confidence?” Probably. And there I was, in Germany, aged 22, just me and my invisibility. Realizing the urge to redirect all this invisible energy into something noticeable, meaningful, and impactful. And so, I did. In turn, I experienced a self-transformation that brought me here.

Invisibility doesn’t mean sacrificing one’s individuality, it only means not having to assert it all the time. But still, assert it from time to time. In this sense, when realized, it can reflect a deeper sense of self-confidence than standing out. Even if no one else ever knows.

Nowadays, it is often difficult to stop and appreciate what we are and what we have. The following exercise helped me recognize the importance of ourselves. I hope you enjoy it.


Stand in front of a mirror, look into your eyes, and say out loud that you love yourself.

How often do we do that? Not often enough. But the more we do it the more it builds in our sub consciousness.

The how: take a mirror, look at yourself. 3 reps of mirror work. Appreciate yourself. That’s you.


The how: Write 3 affirmations. 3 reps out loud of each.

  • I AM PROUD OF MYSELF (There are many reasons you can be proud of)
  • I AM DOING MY BEST (We tend to be too hard on ourselves. Remember we always try our best. Don’t forget that)
  • I DON’T HAVE TO BE ANYONE ELSE BUT ME (We are constantly comparing things, careers, and personalities. Stop it. You are unique, stay unique.)


Being grateful for ourselves, bodies, health, or whatever it is about us.

The how: Note 3 things we are grateful for. Thinking about it is also powerful.

  • I am grateful for the mistakes I have made in my life (Mistakes. Sounds kind of negative right? But you would probably not be here today if it wasn’t for them. Enjoy their outcome)


Hug more. Often. Give a hug to yourself for 30 secs.

The how: Take your arms and gently wrap them around yourself. Breathe. Let yourself know that you are here. Be present. Enjoy the moment. Breathe. Notice how you are feeling. Breathe.

Brooke Latham

Brooke Latham, United States
Full-Time MBA Class of 2021

Professional Roles, Achievements and Activities

  • President for Net Impact Club
  • Mentor of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship
  • IESE Impact Investing Case Competition
  • ESADE Social Impact MBA Scholarship
  • In my free time I love to practice yoga, run and cook

What is invisible but essential about YOU? or ESADE? or Barcelona?

The MBA moves at 100mph, at the start of the program we were told there were 3 S’s- Sleep, Study, and Socialize and at any given time you can only choose two, which was extremely accurate of the first six months. But I would challenge that there is a fourth S, SELF. To be able to keep going on, you need to take care of yourself and learn what recharges you and how to create a healthy balance. For me the self-aspect is my meditation practice.

October 2019, I was sitting in my first week of the MBA, and a leadership professor mentioned the role of emotional intelligence (EI) and how mindfulness can be a useful tool to cultivate your EI. He proceeded to ask the class if anyone had a mindfulness practice and would be willing to share the next day. I raised my hand and volunteered. While living in Guatemala, I had deepened my yoga and meditation practice, and I had spent a significant amount of time learning about different types of meditations and energy healing, but I never thought this would mix with the MBA. Nervous and unsure how a classroom full of MBAs would respond to meditation, the next day, I guided 60 of my new classmates in a meditation and pranayama breathing exercise, which was very welcomed by the class.

Quickly the meditation sessions caught on to the rest of the cohort. We started bi-weekly meditations, which lead to regular meditation before exams. Before each exam, 15 to 20 students would gather in the MBA gardens or outside the exam room to pause, breathe, and to center ourselves to overcome exam pressure or anxiety. For me, creating the right mindset was more important than last-minute studying of finance equations. It was a testimony of mindfulness that even in the most stressful experiences we have the control to choose our reactions and the breath is a powerful tool to center ourselves.

Guiding a morning meditation and Bhramari pranayama exercise, a specific type of breath exercise that can help reduce stress and anxiety by regulating and reducing blood pressure.

After continued interest in the group meditations, a classmate, Lauren Holmes, and I decided to create an MBA mindfulness retreat with the kind support of ESADE’s spirituality department, especially Teo Mellen Vinagre. The last weekend in February, 15 MBAs joined Lauren and I at a retreat house in Manresa, Spain (about an hour out of Barcelona). The concept of the retreat was to provide students a moment to emotionally and mentally recharge while exploring notions of mindful leadership. We designed a complete schedule of meditations, a sound bath from a Barcelona yoga teacher, Chi Kung, dinner in silence, and mindful leadership exercises while having time to explore the beautiful natural scenery of Manresa. The objective of the retreat was provide students an outlet and opportunity to focus on the 4th S, Self.

First Esade MBA mindfulness retreat, Manresa, Spain at Jesuit Retreat House, March 2020

A few days after the retreat, campus closed, and Spain went into complete lockdown for COVID-19. Given the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic, I decided to start nightly zoom meditations for whoever of our class wanted to join. 3 to 4 times a week at 8 pm after the applauding the health workers would end, we would start a group meditation or pranayama breathing exercise. The zoom meditation group continued throughout the entirety of lockdown, and it provided a routine, an outlet to release stress and anxiety of the global uncertainty and more importantly a way to stay connected as an MBA class from our living rooms. During this time, I could not have been more grateful for the Esade community and even more so, the meditation group. A year ago, I thought I embark on the journey of business school, improve my business acumen, build a professional network and continue to pursue my career in impact investing. While all of this is true and has been the focus of my MBA, it has also been a year of self-development. For instance, I did not expect that additionally I would discover a skill and passion for guiding meditations. I believe that mindfulness is an integral part of business and leadership. It help manage stress and create self-awareness which can help manage your reactions, and I have seen it in practice this past year with myself and my classmates. Now more than ever with a focus on the mental health implications of Covid-19 we need to take care of the 4th S (Self) with extra diligence and mindfulness can be a powerful and accessible avenue to do so.

Ivan Kow

Ivan Kow, Malaysia
Full-Time MBA Class of 2021

Professional Roles, Achievements and Activities

  • MBA Case Competition Finalist – Patagonia and PepsiCo
  • HKSAR Government Scholarship, ESADE MBA Student’s Fund Scholarship
  • Founder of the International Students Association at CUHK
  • Developed viral applications used by over 50 million users worldwide and a content website that was at one point, the most viewed site in Iceland
  • Launched 2 different businesses from the ground up to becoming a multi-country venture, reaching over 100k accounts in 23 countries in total

What is invisible but essential about YOU? or ESADE? or Barcelona?

Fundamentally, what strikes me as invisible but essential is interconnectivity. On the atomic level, we have atomic (or sub-atomic) configurations and interactions that make up all the visible world around us. In our current information driven world, the advent of the internet has enabled the open exchange of information at scale and the explosion of knowledge and applications that we see now.

On the surface, I may be seen dabbling in a diverse range of interests. I’ve taught and performed swing dancing, picked up and performed improv, hosted and promoted networking events. On any given day, I may be reading a book, out for a run, learning a language or shooting some hoops. While I enjoy each of these activities on its own, what truly excites me is finding cross domain applications. Perhaps dancing rhythm can be a useful model for dribbling exercises. Perhaps promoting events is akin to hyping up a product for launch day. Perhaps functional strength training can develop the right muscle activation for a certain dance move. Perhaps improv exercises can be adapted for interview training. Ultimately, I find that the world around us becomes infinitely more exciting when you look at it through the lens of what’s invisible but essential – interconnectivity.

This applies to ESADE too. Like any top ranked MBA programme, diversity of experience and background is an expectation of the student body. What makes the experience at ESADE special is the relationships you build with others in your cohort. From ex-professional tennis players to UN alumni previously working in the Middle East to Washington DC interest group advocates, you will meet a truly wide ranging conglomerate of individuals. And the secret sauce is our unique culture of warmth, cooperation and excellence together. At ESADE you can find hosts for different cultural celebrations, students sharing notes and conducting tutorials (you’ll find mine on and friends for life. I hope you – the reader engage in the ongoing journey to discover what is invisible and essential around you. Cheers.

Ryo Ishiyama

Ryo Ishiyama, Japan
Full-Time MBA Class of 2022

Professional Roles, Achievements and Activities

I have been working for a railway company, East Japan Railway Company, and trying to make changes in its industry and society. One of my experiences that could sound unique is that I contributed to open the door for the industry to step forward to another field of business as a Corporate Venture Capital by leading “JR East Startup Program” an open-innovation project successfully.

The railway industry tends to be conservative, given that top priority is always safety, but I was lucky to take that position to make a change when the industry needed it because of the changing business situations especially regarding the decreasing population and aging society in Japan. I decided to open our resources for startups to incorporate our business legacies with their innovative ideas. This process of collaboration was really stimulating for me, and I got so excited when I saw our first cashier-free convenience store open in Tokyo.

What is invisible but essential about YOU? or ESADE? or Barcelona?

My invisible but essential fact is that I am a tap dancer. Even though I had been swimming competitively since I was 2 years old, I decided to start something completely new in my university period. I had never danced in my life until then, but I had a positive impression about tap dance from the Hollywood musical movies that my parents watched when I was little and thought tap dance would be a nice skill to have because it was rare in Japan. Once I start practicing it, I got absorbed. When I was an exchange student in Seattle, it helped me out jump in the local communities and perform on one of the biggest tap dance showcases in the United States.

Another invisible but essential fact is that I am a triathlete. I started triathlon 5 years ago when my father gave an advice “to be excellent in a field, try to find the right place for you by combining your hobbies/interests that you are good at.” For me, triathlon was perfect because I was good at swimming and used to go biking and running as hobbies. As my father told me, it was relatively easier for me to be competitive in triathlon races than expected, and I liked it. This is what I always recall when I feel lost in work or study because this reminds me of the importance and meaningfulness of what I would acquire and leverage in the future. I am really looking forward to seeing how I can find positive combinations from my past experiences and my MBA journey at ESADE.

Adrian Schier

Adrian Schier, Germany
Full-Time MBA Class of 2022

Academic Roles, Achievements and Activities

  • VP of Operations Consulting Club
  • VP of Communication Sales & Business Development Club
  • Vice President of student board BBA
  • Volunteered at charity events as part of the National Honor Society in high school

What is invisible but essential about YOU? or ESADE? or Barcelona?

When I was three years old, I asked my mother why I looked different than her. Ever since then, my adoption, diversity, and different cultures have been an open topic. Growing up in Germany with traditional values while appearing Vietnamese has made me aware of diversity from an early age. Questions of heritage, behavior, and customs were always openly discussed in my family.

I grew up in a small town near Hamburg, Germany but moved to Texas to attend public high school at the age of fourteen. The scenery changed from seeing bicycles to pick-up trucks, walking to school vs. taking the yellow bus, and watching soccer to American football. The adjustment to this cultural shock took a while, but the experience not only opened my eyes to a completely different culture but more importantly taught me to truly understand cultural values from the other person’s perspective.

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions”, said Oliver Wendell Holmes and I firmly believe in this statement. Because of this, it is essential that we are open to new ways of thinking and encourage others to do the same despite not everyone wanting to. Over the years I’ve realized the value of surrounding yourself with people that have a positive impact on your life, embrace differences, and keep challenging you to grow. The ESADE careers team places special emphasis on cultural fit and diversity and I am quite amazed how much that shows. Our MBA batch consists of 187 students and 47! nationalities. Each person has a unique story to tell and we are all learning from each other’s experiences. I look forward to shaping the future with potential leaders from all across the world!