Designed to complement the training received by the students at the School in their part-time studies, the objective of EAE Business School’s Focused Programs is to ensure that knowledge is properly updated and applied to the professional sphere, covering the needs and new trends in the employment market.
With sessions lasting an average of how hours, the programs focus on six areas of knowledge: Management, Finance, leadership, marketing and sales, innovation and sectors. The expert speakers who ran these presentations included lecturers and Program Directors, such as Marc Sansó, the Director of the MIB; Alex Alegret, the Director of the Master in Marketing and Commercial Management; Fátima Vila, a lecturer on Communication and Marketing on the Master in Marketing and Commercial Management and Pablo Contreras, a lecturer on the MBA at EAE Business School.
Each month throughout the academic year, two Focused Program sessions were held, which can in turn be categorized by the format: online, in-person at the Barcelona Campus and in-person at the Madrid Campus. In total, over the course of the 2016/2017 academic year, more than twenty Focused Program sessions were run.
Key factors for achieving profitability in large account
Alex Alegret, the Director of the Master in Marketing and Commercial Management at the Barcelona Campus, ran the first of the Focused Program sessions in November 2016. "Profitability management in large accounts” was the title of the presentation, which focused in the image of large account managers, their panoramic overview of the company and how to define the expected level of profitability. Beyond being customer-centred, other key factors for large accounts that the expert highlighted included product management, supervision of the sales team, time management, logistics and customer service.
Leadership and managing high-performance teams
In a Focused Program held at the Madrid Campus, Jorge López Cifre, the Professor of Economics and a specialist in negotiation and conflict management, shared his insight into the characteristics required by a leader and the changing system of organization management.
“People management and leadership will be two essential skills in a scenario in which people are going to be fundamental”, highlighted the speaker. Being responsible, valuing the people under their command and teaching the team to work together are some of the key aspects required by a leader. “Ordering and commanding is no longer useful”, but we are still a long way from becoming a fully accessible reality applicable to all types of organizations as a holacracy, a management system in which the roles are defined based on the work and not the people.
The legal sector was the topic of the session run in Madrid by Cristina Paredes. “The Board of Directors: liability and challenges” covered everything from basic legal concepts to the special circumstances with current significance, as well as clarifying the relationship between the liability of directors and managers and a few general conclusions and a set of future challenges.
The session itself was divided into sections explaining the obligations that can de demanded of directors (duty of diligence and duty of loyalty, duty to exercise the position effectively, duty of vigilance or supervision, the duty to keep informed and the duty to protect company discretion), special liability circumstances, particularly in situations of company liquidation or bankruptcy proceedings, and future challenges, as highlighted by Cristina Paredes. “We are heading towards an indisputable globalization, in which we need uniform regulations capable of resolving conflicts across the length and breadth of the globe”.
Communicating effectively: Logos, Ethos and Pathos
In March 2017, the Focused Program session on communication was held in Barcelona Campus, run by Fátima Vila, a lecturer on Communication and Marketing on the Master in Marketing and Commercial Management. In the presentation, she defined the concept of communication in generic terms, but also gave an overview of communication focused on labour relations and political communication.
In relation to the types of communication that we can use to convince our counterpart (the ultimate aim of communication), Fátima Vila highlighted three ways: Logos, through logic; Ethos, through credibility; and Pathos, which is based on emotion. “To achieve effective communication, we have to be able to control these three types of message and, as far as possible, combine them to convince and persuade our listeners”.
The innovation department: “Creating innovation ecosystems” and “Innovating and creating a culture of innovation in companies”
Enric Bayó, the Director of Innovation Management at ACCIÓ, ran two Focused Program sessions that looked at innovation in companies.
Firstly, in March 2017, the Barcelona Campus was the venue for the session entitled “Creating innovation ecosystems”, in which the presenter discussed everything from the key factors for innovating to the innovation process and challenges for the future. One of the essential factors for an innovative company that the expert highlighted was “management focused on profitability based on two skills: identifying challenges and opportunities, and developing solutions”.
The second session in June 2017 was online under the title of “Innovating and creating a culture of innovation in companies”. The speaker emphasized innovation as a key factor in staying up-to-date. “It has to form part of companies’ DNA” he explained. He went on to stress that companies must build their foundations on four pillars: flexibility, innovation, speed and efficiency. In the session, the expert underlined the importance of establishing specific reasons for innovating and the three different methods that an innovation process may involve: linear or iterative.
“Finance for non-financial directors: basic concepts”
Sofía Ruiz, an economist and specialist in financial management and capital markets ran a session on the Madrid Campus that explained to students the importance of understanding finances within a company, the definition of the financial accounts and the objectives of a financial and economic analysis.
“It is crucial to have a minimal set of financial management concepts and tools”, explained the expert. “The key functions of a director are decision-making and supervising management, and the decisions made in all of the departments eventually have an impact on the financial accounts”. The session covered basic concepts such as profitability, liquidity and solvency of a company, and the degree of balance between profitability and risk, as well as accounting reports, the balance sheet and income statements.
Negotiating effectively: “The more patient approach will maximize your profits”
Marc Sansó, the Director of the Master of International Business, gave us an insight into negotiations between companies and trade unions in his session of the Focused Programs, highlighting the need to reach an agreement as soon as possible to minimize the losses incurred.
Dividing the viewpoint of strategic negotiation into five pillars, he started by emphasising that “the game can change”. On this point, Marc Sansó underlined the importance of knowing your adversary in order to predict their future moves, “as if the negotiation were a game of chess”. The importance of timing was the second pillar, followed by identifying what motivates your opponent. “Anticipating their moves is another crucial pillar, in which each part of the negotiation has a dominant strategy”. To bring his division of strategic negotiation to a close, in fifth place, he emphasized finding “our own path, bearing in mind what we want to achieve, how to achieve it and with whom”.
“How to consolidate successful Business models”
Another of the Focused Program sessions on Management run by Marc Sansó, the Director of the MIB, was entitled “How to consolidate successful Business models”, which was held online in English. In the session, the lecturer gave us an integrated overview of the executive role, from the service or product to be commercialized right through to the market analysis and the competition.
“The creation of value in an organization is achieved by integrating the external and internal vision”, as well as five variables that comprise the company’s value: cost, quality of the product or service, good customer experience, flexibility and innovation.
“Marketing in a Long Tail Market”
The concept of long tail and its evolution thanks to new technologies were the key aspects in this Focused Program session run by Pablo Contreras, a lecturer on the MBA. The term long tail refers to products aimed at niche markets for which there is little demand outside of this small market.
As the expert explained in the session, these products used to be considered “strange and not very profitable”, but this situation has changed with the arrival of new technologies. “The concept of electronic long tail was born”. As a result, some of the largest companies and platforms that we know today have emerged, such as Amazon and Netflix.
“There are alternative financing options other than banks”
In July 2017, “New financing models – FINTECH” was the last of the Focused Program sessions. It was run by Xavier Olsina, a lecturer on finance and treasury management on the Master in Accounting and Financial Management at EAE Business School.
In the session, Xavier Olsina gave us an overview of the different financing model alternatives other than banks: business angels, venture capital, family offices and Fintech, through which we can access to crowd lending, equity and crowd equity, as well as insurance and crowd insurance. He went on to highlight the current threat that this represents for banks, which have seen a drop in their number of users. “Faced with this situation, banks have to concentrate on the customer experience (using tools such as Big Data)”, concluded the expert.