Article of Ana Valenzuela, Dean of the Barcelona School of Management


Ana Valenzuela, Dean of the Barcelona School of Management

The world as we know it is undergoing an unstoppable process of change. The current economic and financial crisis means that we have to question all of the strategic and management models hitherto applied, and this paradigm shift affects both the private and the public sectors. It affects all of us. These are times in which traditional solutions no longer seem to work, as we look around us for new leadership and new ways of doing things.
Becoming Dean of the Barcelona School of Management, the new business school promoted by Pompeu Fabra University, has given me the opportunity to directly influence the way in which we offer solutions for the new circumstances. Our school's main mission is to enhance the skills of professionals so that they may successfully face the new world that is already upon us, while also fostering research and the exchange of knowledge.

A centre such as ours, which is striving to gain renown as an international leader in scientific output, transference and training for new generations of professionals, must help its students to ask themselves questions and to question their environment, to become passionate about discovering that the process of finding answers is what must drive and guide them, and not the answer in itself, as no single solution exists, and today, more than ever, thousands of solutions exist at the same time. Perhaps this may shed a little light on matters; we may need to understand that the great paradigm shift is about learning to accept uncertainty as something normal, and confusion as a natural state.

When we decided to create an educational project grounded in the real world, which meant nurturing a close relationship between academia and the business world, our objective was to do so by training keenly critical professionals who would dare to try, to make mistakes and try again; who would understand that success, today more than ever, lies in the inner conviction that we are able to construct our futures, that now, more than ever, success is born of the ability to manage uncertainty and confusion better than others. How do we propose to do this? By training our students to use tools that will allow them to understand the past (business analytics) and generate future opportunities (innovation and entrepreneurial management), but also to co-create value, because the question now is not how to compete for a slice of the market, but rather how to make the market grow through cooperation.

If, in this way, we manage to tackle the questions, we shall be one step closer to the answers (the right ones).