Maryam Samee

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

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
LinkedIn

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.

MIRROR STATION:

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.

AFFIRMATION STATION:

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.)

GRATITUDE MACHINE:

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)

PHYSICAL TOUCH:

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
LinkedIn

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
LinkedIn

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 www.ivankow.com/study.html) 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
LinkedIn

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
LinkedIn

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!

Santiago Guerrero

Santiago Guerrero, Ecuador
Full-Time MBA 2020
LinkedIn

Academic Roles, Achievements and Activities
I have a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Before ESADE, I created and developed a business acceleration program which helps SMBs owners create better and more efficient businesses. I have also founded an international book fair and an entire online corporate Learning Management System. I have managed budgets of up to $165,000 and teams of up to 30 people.

What is invisible but essential about YOU? or ESADE? or Barcelona?
Creative writing, literature, and spirituality have always been invisible but essential for me. To have peace and balance and to be truly happy, I need to be involved in some sort or another with them, every day.

When I was 14 years old, I started writing as a means of expressing myself. With some intermittency, I have kept it going for my entire life. That has led to more than eight creative writing contests won, two books published, and myriads of short stories and reflections written. I also have a Facebook page where I publish my short stories (https://www.facebook.com/HistoriasparaNochesdeLluvia/). In a way, writing is a way for me to keep track of my existence, and to make sense of the chaos of life.

Literature is another pillar of my life. For me, reading is a way of exploring other realities and other points of view. There is no better feeling than to read a book and feel that you are a different person because of it. My love for books led me to create an International Book Fair in my home province. Last year we organized its forth edition, with more than $50,000 in funding from various donors and 10,000 attendees. My goal with the fair is to attract people to discover the magic of books, and to deeply enrich their lives by doing so.

Last, but not least, is spirituality. I think that the only way to find heaven and happiness here on Earth is to have it inside ourselves, in our souls. That can only be achieved with a strong spiritual side. With that in mind, I am a devote believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings of love and compassion for the world. I am also interested in other forms of spirituality, like Buddhism, Zen meditation, and even the serenity that comes from philosophies such as the one from Alcoholics Anonymous. I love learning about other religions in the world, and how people find solace in them. I always like to tell that I have a wooden sculpture of Ganesha, the lord of wisdom and luck, the removal of obstacles and my favorite Hindu God, in my room. I brought him from my trip to India and is always with me.

Writing, literature, and spirituality keep me going day by day, and make my life substantially sweeter and nicer with their presence. I just wish that God keeps granting me the time and opportunity to develop and enjoy them, before he decides to call me by his side.

Émile Kobiyama

Émile Kobiyama, Japan
Full-Time MBA Class of 2020
LinkedIn

Academic Roles, Achievements and Activities
Bumbu Ryodo (study well, work well and run well)  
– Study: Learned business insights in ESADE and FGV-Brazil  
– Work: 3 internships in “Catalonian Sake” brewery, Japanese top manufacture, and Brazilian venture capital  
– Run: Won the marathon league in Barcelona, and the national atheltic championships in Brazil

What is invisible but essential about YOU? or ESADE? or Barcelona?
Following my family’s value, since when I was a small child, I have believed that “What is Really Essential is What is Invisible.” In case of business schools, visible elements like rise in salary after MBA, sophisticated facilities and number of nationalities etc. seemed approximate among top schools, and they may not be core of the long-term competitiveness in currently saturated MBA industry. This principle could be also adopted in the business world (e.g. visible-product, invisible-corporate vison). Value of the visible elements could be maximized via invisible strengths. So at the first interaction with Ms. Mary Granger, the most admired admission director to lead me to the priceless experience in ESADE, I asked her “What is invisible but essential on ESADE MBA?”

As soon as I met Mary, I chose ESADE via being fascinated by its invisible but essential factor, for me which was an “ecosystem” that we could deeply revamp on how we would live future with own solid life principles, and that may be a “marriage” of all visible strengths like program structure etc. As we know, we are not developed by MBA, we develop ourselves by ourselves through MBA. ESADE provides an environment for us to develop ourselves and to find own strengths thanks to “chemistry” with diversified colleagues, flexible study choices and artistic culture of Barcelona etc., that is why ESADE was only option to me. Before applying, networking with ESADE alumni, who were superior as professional and “charming” human, also made me confident to enter into ESADE.

By leveraging such ecosystem, in my ESADEan life for 18 months, I could pursue the “Bumbu-Ryodo” style, a Japanese principle meaning “study well, work well and run well”. As achievements, I learned a lot of critical business insights in ESADE and in FGV-Brazil for study, got wider career opportunities in “Catalonia Sake” brewery founded by ESADE alumni, in Japanese top manufacturer, and even in Brazilian venture capital for work, and won the national athletic championships for run. Before the MBA I did not expect that these would happen to me, but every encounter could open my door to the unrecognized but attractive directions, in which I would be able to live as I am.

To sum up, a MBA never directly gives us “right” answers for our future directions, but ESADE should provide an ecosystem for us to find “optimal” answers. Sincerely I hope that ESADE will further attract students by its “invisible but essential” strengths in the next generation too. And I would like to contribute to broaden ESADE’s invisible value from alumni’s view, even after graduation, with my best appreciation and respect toward ESADE.

Malcolm Werchota

Malcolm Werchota, Austria
Full-Time MBA Class of 2021
LinkedIn

Academic Roles, Achievements and Activities

President, ESADE MBA Organization & Human Capital Club
-Building teams for success
-Harmonising Leadership Style
-Customer focused decision making
-Ambitious, Polite and Flexible
-Managerial competency
-Developing others
-Conflict Management
-Inspirational Leadership

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

To move to Barcelona for the ESASE MBA, with, or without the family – that is the question.

While applying for the ESADE university, I had not yet thought about the way forward with my family. We have a little family with two small children, Sophia and Camila, who both love Vienna. My little daughter Camila loves her Kindergarten situated next to the Danube. My other one, Sophia, is quite small, yet already connects with the children at the playground next to the flat. Both enjoy our afternoons spent cycling along the Danube, running around in the wine yards on the outskirts of Vienna and obviously their small Wiener Schnitzels.

Once I was accepted, it hit me. What should I do? Shall I move my entire family from Vienna to Barcelona? Shall we relocate all the furniture and belongings out of the flat, in which we just moved into one year ago? Shall we disroot the family from their known environment?

Pondering about this, I remembered the impact that my little family already has had on me. While both Camila and Sophia are only one and three, they have already, indeed, significantly transformed me.

Becoming a father has, indeed, significantly impacted me. It seems that as a father, one inherently develops skills and traits that make one a very different person. Raising a family with two toddlers has taught me to be more patient and understanding, yet also to be able to manage simultaneous challenges and crises more calmly. Life is now less about “me”, it’s about “we”. These traits have naturally flown into my professional setting, and my team has benefited from them. Lately, I have realized that I find it easier to comfort colleagues when they have difficulties.

Having two babies who cannot speak, one’s attention to non-verbal communication is also heightened. The awareness has also helped me identify signs of struggle and distress of a team member, which I was able to address in a private setting to help him with. Becoming a father has finally helped me become a better role model, not only for the sake of my children but also for my colleagues and the environment around me.

Thinking about the points mentioned above made me realize that I should take them with to Barcelona. Not only for them to enjoy a new culture, new type of food – especially seafood, which is not readily available in Austria – but also, generally, the fantastic cultural setting that Barcelona has to offer.

Looking back on the last three months, have proved us right. Our daughters are thrilled here. Camila started learning Catalan in her new Kindergarten. Sophia has found a few playgrounds within a few minutes’ walks from our new flat. And both are continuing to educate their Papa, by teaching him new values and skills – lately, negotiation techniques.😊