Carme Martinell talks about the future challenges in the newspaper Ara

Carme Martinell, Director General of the Continuing Education Institute Foundation, was interviewed by the newspaper Ara on 25 November last, the day of the elections to the Catalan parliament. The interview was published in a special supplement of the newspaper entitled “Catalunja!”, which showed the strength and excellence of the companies and institutions from Catalan territory, which in the educational sphere brings together the majority of the most highly valued universities with training focused on internationalisation.

You can read the complete interview below:

Postgraduate training with the quality of the Pompeu Fabra University

The Barcelona School of Management and IDEC meet the training needs of professionals, companies and organisations, from here and around the world, in all the spheres of knowledge of the Pompeu Fabra University.

The Barcelona School of Management and IDEC are integrated in the Continuing Education Institute Private Foundation, created in 1993 by the UPF and by a group of companies and economic institutions committed to talent as a source of development of organisations and society. Carme Martinell has been Director General since 2011.

How can Catalan companies and institutions compete on the European and international level, taking into account the current depressing socio-economic context?

What we cannot do as Catalan companies and institutions at this “depressing” time is to stay put, watch the crisis go by, because in the end we might be carried along by this negative context. All crises represent an opportunity which it is necessary to seek and to take advantage of. How? With innovation, seeking the most favourable conditions to be competitive in a context which is no longer a local, national or state market; it is a global market.

Exactly what new business needs has this context triggered?

On the one hand, the management of complexity will require a capacity for analysis which until now was not demanded from professionals. On the other hand, automatic, free and immediate exposure with a difficult to digest volume of contents will entail the need for judgement and discernment. The speed of change and uncertainty are changing the stable models with which we have worked until now and will require versatile and flexible professionals. The new frameworks of relationships, without borders, will demand skills related to collaboration and the capacity for joint creation.

Talent is the main raw material of any organisation and we must take very seriously everything that as a society we can get to flourish. To talk about talent, in this new context, is to talk about three dimensions: sound and well-established rather than liquid and intuitive knowledge; interpersonal skills which allow you to adapt to an increasingly networked world in which collaboration and coopetition replace the traditional individualism and competition; and attitude, a positive predisposition toward change, a critical spirit, proactiveness and a mind open to new situations.

In this framework, with what skills do you equip your students?

In the Barcelona School of Management and in IDEC we are very lucky with the diversity of programmes and of profiles of the students. This diversity gives us a very close connection to different industries and professions and offers us a privileged view of professional and social needs. This allows us to take a dual approach: vertical depth (we train great specialists in each subject) and horizontal transversality (we expose our students and alumni to the scientific diversity of the university, so that they open their outlook to other worlds which also coexist in the institution).

This is our challenge and our commitment: to contribute to the development of professionals specialised in specific disciplines and with a broader outlook of the world.

What added value does the training of the Barcelona School of Management and IDEC represent for future leaders?

The added value of our training lies essentially in two pillars. The first is specialisation. We have a very broad offering of advanced programmes in different disciplines, always connected to the actual situation of the different industries that they serve and to the day to day activities of the professional practice. From the Master in Business Financial and Accounting Management to the Master in Publishing, and including the Master in Making Documentaries, to give just a few examples.

The second is the scientific approach to knowledge. This approach implies a very strong analytical mentality and an orientation toward value creation from rigour and reality, from empirical evidence and not just intuitive knowledge. The teaching staff of the UPF, known and recognised for having this scientific mentality and pioneering in different international rankings for their contribution to knowledge creation, is a fundamental asset to transmit this sensitivity to the participants on our programmes.

On what subjects do you focus your training? What is the profile of your students?

Between the Barcelona School of Management and IDEC we offer over 190 training programmes related to the three spheres of knowledge in which the Pompeu Fabra University has specialised, social and human sciences, health and life sciences and communication and information technology sciences.

We offer the training characteristic of a management school (MBA, Master’s degrees and Postgraduates in  Business Administration, Finance, etc.) and programmes in areas as diverse as Communication and Audiovisual Media, Creativity in Digital Media, Health Economics and Management, Cultural Management, Law, etc.

In the management sphere in particular, we are strongly committed to MSc (Master of Science) programmes, the name given internationally to the master’s degrees intended for professionals without experience and with an international outlook. These programmes are taught entirely in English and 84% of our students are of international origin.

What can you highlight about the teaching team?

The most remarkable aspect of our teaching team is the balance between the expert teaching staff recognised internationally for their scientific contribution in the different academic areas of the UPF and the active professionals from the different sectors and industries that they serve.

In the sphere of research we can highlight Robin Hogarth, who is carrying out research on behavioural economics, a discipline between psychology and economics, or Ana Valenzuela, Dean of the Barcelona School of Management, who is investigating consumer behaviour in different cultural contexts. As for the lecturers who combine teaching and professional work, we have Jordi Balló, who has promoted some of the most innovative Spanish cinema projects of recent years in the field of making documentaries; Vicenç Navarro, whose international prestige in the sphere of public and social policies has led him to advise the UN, the WHO and numerous governments from around the world; Xavier Puig, a great expert on the banking sector and a reference figure in the media on explaining the complex world of the financial markets in simple language; and Daniel Sánchez-Crespo, an expert in videogames and a regular contributor to platforms such as PSP, Nintendo DS and Xbox360. This is just a sample of the teachers who give classes in our institution.

From your position as an expert, what business and commercial relations do you foresee being developed in the international sphere in the short term?

The companies which will continue are those which go forward detecting and meeting future needs rather than the problems of the past in a global context without geographic borders. This “going forward” translates into the ability to generate new products and services for new needs, integrating and transforming those already existing or customising them. The customers buy what they want and choose the time, the method and the place.

For the construction and growth of these companies the collaboration of their clusters and even of their competitors is necessary. The ability to rethink and to question continuously is also necessary. This entails undergoing a continuous learning process. Last, but not least, having allocated the success or benefit, companies will have to compete and reinvest in society.

What future challenges are there with this horizon?

The context that I mentioned in the previous question requires professionals who anticipate situations, who have a comprehensive vision of the business situation and who are seeking, in their learning process, a personal route to determine their project. The three main future challenges of the Barcelona School of Management and IDEC will therefore be to meet the emerging needs; ensure the comprehensive and interdisciplinary thinking of our students, although maintaining specialisation; and to adapt to the specific situation of each participant through customised training.

Carme Martinell
Director General of the Continuing Education Institute Private Foundation of the UPF