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The values that underpin the future of universities and businesses

José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, CaixaBank president, officially opened the 2021-22 academic year at Esade with a master class highlighting the importance of values for the future of universities and businesses. During this ceremony, Esade director general, Koldo Echebarria, also emphasised that these values “must be conveyed by people who set an example” and “be regarded as guidelines rather than restrictions on decision taking.” 

With regard to Esade’s identity, Jaume Guardiola, president of the Esade Foundation, pointed out that the values of this business school “help students acquire an entrepreneurial, teamwork mindset that encourages not only competitiveness but also ethics”, a crucial combination for tackling the ever-changing times in which society lives today.

Josep Maria Garrell, dean of Ramon Llull University, stressed one of the factors that has marked social change the most in the last two years – the restrictions imposed in response to the pandemic – and expressed the hope that this year would be the year of recovery. 

Watch the full video of the opening ceremony here.

There is always a concept of business ethics behind principles and values 

Goirigolzarri discussed the main subject of the opening day with Do Better, particularly the relationship between university and business, the future of education and importance of the values learnt in the classroom and applied to everyday business. 

Firstly, as regards the training that companies need their present and future employees to have, the CaixaBank president underscored, in addition to technical skills, the importance of a global, international vision: “some experience, some contact with foreign universities or having lived abroad.”

In order to deal with the ethical challenges of today’s business world, Goirigolzarri acknowledged the crucial importance of “understanding the part business must play in society”, a framework that strikes a balance between the different stakeholders in society.

He decried the commodification of ethics, which is sometimes mistaken for reputational risk when considered in terms of returns. Goirigolzarri believes that only ethics and value-based projects are sustainable in the long run.

There is still room for improvement in business-university collaboration in Spain, admitted the president of the advisory board of Deusto Business School. He also mentioned the great possibilities of reskilling for employees, “companies themselves must help people acquire the new skills necessary for going digital.”

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