Continuing on from previous editions, the Annual Alumni Reunion 2017 was held on Friday 3rd November in the VIP box at Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu stadium. Organized especially for former students of the School, the event became a forum for analysis, reflection and debate that, on this occasion, focused on entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, innovation and design thinking.
“Building the Change” was the slogan that set the scene for the conferences given by the guests. The keynote speech was given by Mitch Lowe, the co-founder of Netflix and the current CEO of MoviePass. In his presentation, “Creating a Winning Culture”, he discussed the importance of innovation in the entrepreneurial sector and how a small idea can turn into a giant, as was the case with Netflix.
“This initiative is a fantastic way to continue building the future”
In Lowe’s opinion, this kind of event is particularly beneficial for the School’s former students, who have the chance to cross paths again despite living far from each other. “If you need partners or someone to discuss some kind of information with, this is the place to find them. This initiative is a fantastic way to continue building the future”, explained the guest.
After co-founder of Netflix, it was time for the EAE Talks - short presentations given by respected professionals, who gave attendees an insight into the main topic from different perspectives. This section included the participation of Carmen García García, the Director of Cognitive Solutions at IBM; María Marte and Luisa Orlando, the Kitchen Manager and General Director at Club Allard, respectively; Mariano Silveyra, the Country Manager for Spain at Cabify; Almudena Moreno Hernández, the Head of Millennials Makers at Telefónica Open Future; and Beatriz Navarro, the Director of Marketing and Communication en FNAC.
The stories and knowledge that they shared over the course of the Reunion inspired the students and lecturers who had come together at the event. Like Lowe, the rest of the guests also agreed how valuable this type of conference is for promoting networking between classmates, and an essential formula for enhancing innovation in education. “For the School, maintaining this continuity after the students finish their academic programs and bringing them back together is fundamental”, explained Mariano Silveyra, among others.
“Blending professionalism with dynamism to ensure that an academic reunion doesn’t lose its freshness”
“Without a doubt, the conference given by the co-founder of Netflix and his story is really interesting and rewarding. It is a large company at a global level and you won’t find someone with that profile every day in Madrid”, said Julio Pérez Tomé, who was the moderator of the Masterclass at the School. However, he added that the ‘more local’ conferences, as he called them, were also very interesting, focusing in more specific topics. If he had to choose just one to highlight, he would go for the presentation by Mariano Silveyra and the case of Cabify: “the international projection of this Madrid-based startup is spectacular, and even more so in terms of transformation, digitization and trends. Highlighting the Cabify conference is like holding up and idea that you have almost seen originate in your own city”. Julio also underlined the organization of the event, which “blended professionalism with dynamism to ensure that an academic reunion doesn’t lose its freshness”.
Carlos Puig, a lecturer at EAE Business School, was in agreement that he had really enjoyed getting to know more about Cabify from the company’s Country Manager for Spain. “We have had the opportunity to see how it is on the brink of becoming the holy grail in business terms: the first Spanish company valued at a billion dollars”. The lecturer went on to say that it had been also great to catch up with his former students, “see how they have progressed and what projects they are involved in”. He emphasized that the Annual Alumni Reunion was a great platform for exchanges between students, lecturers and all members of the School community.
Catching up and chatting with former Master students and lecturers
We discussed this reunion between former students and faculty members with Karen Tobar and Cristina Aranda, graduates of the Master in Marketing and Commercial Management, together with the lecturer Víctor Conde. “He taught us on the logistics course and it was precisely in his classes that we looked at contemporary cases such as FNAC. We had studied this case, so we knew more about it at the conference”, explained the former students in reference to the presentation given by Beatriz Navarro. “Víctor’s classes always dealt with up-to-date issues and everyday matters, so we found them really interesting”, they added.
In the opinion of these two students, the topics selected for the Annual Alumni Reunion were ideal. “Innovation is what sets apart from the competition”, said Cristina, who explained that she is currently working for Grupo VIPS. In her company and sector, the innovation is culinary, “so we have laboratories to work in this respect. If you don’t innovate, you get left behind”.
In Karen’s case, innovation is a fundamental part of her everyday work and the company that she works for, Schibsted Spain – the country’s largest classified advertisement and employment offer company (owner of Infojobs, Fotocasa, Milnauncios, etc.). “Innovation is what makes us grow. Everything is digital now. You used to look for job offers or a new house in a newspaper, now you do it on the internet”, explained the former student.
We also discussed entrepreneurship with Emma Herrera and Michelle García, both former students and classmates on the EMBA, together with their lecturer Gour Saraff. The students agreed that they were both really happy to have attended the Reunion organized by the School. “As far as we are concerned, this afternoon, we have acquired a new mindset, a new perspective for finding opportunities”. Gour advised them to put into practice everything they had learned both over the course of the Master and during the presentations at the Annual Alumni Reunion. “It has been really interesting for students to get an insight into what is happening in the market and how companies are adapting to the new technological age”, added the lecturer and founder of startups in six different countries.
As well as meeting up with former classmates and lecturers, the event gave attendees the opportunity to strengthen their networks of contacts, meeting more members of the EAE community and other professionals. This was the highlight of the Annual Alumni Reunion for former student Isabella Hirt. She told us that she had been at the previous edition held in Barcelona, and wanted to repeat the experience this year in Madrid. “I hope that the School keeps holding these reunions because they are a great help for students. It is fantastic to be able to ask the guests whatever we want and chat to each other afterwards”.