In a world where everything moves quickly, very quickly, acts like this are particularly appreciated, where we stop for a moment and welcome you, telling you that your presence is an honor for us. (Thank you for being here, we are honored to have you).
A moment to celebrate your decision to learn and improve things, and also to celebrate our dedication to teach, to not stop improving, and to not forget how to do things well. (Improving, as you know, is like riding a bicycle: if you stop, you fall). There is something transcendent about this moment, because all of us who are here share a commitment to ourselves. We have reflected, we have asked ourselves what we want to do, what it is that can give our daily lives greater meaning, and we have made a decision. A decision that goes beyond the here and now; one that will change our future and ourselves.
An important, peaceful moment amidst a fast world where events happen at great speed, and where new situations arise constantly, requiring new knowledge and abilities. Situations where the reference frameworks aren’t helpful and original solutions are needed. The current reality is one that is changing and full of challenges. We are facing unprecedented challenges, which require new responses. That’s how it is, day after day, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating. We need to be well prepared for this.
We need to be well prepared in order to make sure we are relevant on the day, or days, when somebody turns to us and asks: “so what do we do now?” We need to be able to answer this question. That’s why we are here, to prepare ourselves well. Because if we’re not prepared for this question, we get frightened, we hide, we have a bad time and we enter into dynamics of powerlessness and a sense of victimization, where we worry a lot but do little. All of us here have decided to prepare ourselves to enjoy the challenges, grow with them and discover our new potential. (For example, I didn’t know that I could give a welcome speech for an academic course in the UPF Barcelona School of Management, and here I am, enjoying this moment and rediscovering that I love meeting you and sharing knowledge and experiences with you). That’s the way it is, and today we are here because we are connected by a will to do things better and enjoy the process.
A Peruvian student from last year, from Lima, told me just a few weeks ago that he had discovered something important during the year: that what he liked most in this world was solving problems. He genuinely enjoyed being faced with a problem and finding a way to solve it. Now, imagine a manager asking “so, what do we do now?”, and stood in front of him is my Peruvian friend, a guy who’s smiling and knows how to solve problems. That man’s face would change, his expression of hopelessness would turn to one of hope, and he’d think “I want to have this person by my side”, “I’m not going to let this person go”. This is the normal reaction that well-prepared people generate.
And that’s what it’s all about, in the UPF Barcelona School of Management, we prepare capable people to give a competent response to the question “so, what do we do now?” This question can only be answered with advanced, detailed knowledge, with clear references to what has worked well in other situations and what has not worked. Knowing the best practices as well as the worst.
Transmitting knowledge and experience. This is what the faculty team of Barcelona School of Management aim to provide. A team formed of academics, as well as people like myself, who combine our professions with university teaching, as well as a large number of top-rate professionals who, as well as highlighting their specialties, know how to explain what they do and how.
Transmitting knowledge and experience is a good principle for creating well-prepared professionals. It’s very good, and it’s vital, but it’s not enough.
There’s an attitude component missing. An open mind? Accepting reality as it is and being receptive to new options helps, it’s true. But it’s not the key ingredient. Being proactive? being one step ahead of the circumstances and going one step further than what’s asked of us is great, but it’s not a fundamental ingredient either. Entrepreneurship? Being innovative and having the initiative to carry out your ideas and take risks is extraordinary, but it’s not what makes sure you are prepared to respond to the question “so, what do we do now?”.
The key ingredient of those who are capable of overcoming challenges and finding original solutions is generosity.
Generosity is the catalyst that accelerates the fusion of knowledge with experience, the force that moves us towards the creation of an original solution.
Generosity is the wish to provide value, to do something that is valuable to others; a will to be useful and bring together all of our resources, and use them to create something new.
Generosity is an intention. A positive intention that highlights all of our potential and sets it loose, because it has one destination: other people.
When generosity disappears, interest appears, where everything starts and ends with ourselves, establishing a closed circuit filled with flawed air, air that is sometimes unbreathable, and which harms us.
It is important to develop generosity, and it’s even more important to stay generous.
Here, in the UPF Barcelona School of Management, we make sure that we encourage an atmosphere of generosity. Because where there is generosity there is always abundance, what one person is missing, another person has and shares. An environment of abundance is highly productive. Highly efficient, highly effective, and highly useful. In this way, generosity is a source of abundance and good results.
Like I was saying, here we make sure we encourage generosity. Through mentoring and tutorials, we try to make generosity between professors and students continually feed itself back: professors contribute their knowledge and experience, and students bring new perspectives, questioning the validity of old recipes and contributing new ways of combining knowledge to overcome challenges.
I invite you to make the most of this dynamic of generosity, and make the most of all that it offers: in classes, with mentors and with tutors. I invite you to participate in this dynamic with your contributions, your concerns, your questions.
When you develop critical thinking, share it as an act of generosity, and question the status quo of every discipline, this helps us to grow as professors and as an educational institution.
Innovating, suggesting and creating are acts of generosity that fill us with energy, make us enjoy the moment and boost the progress and wellbeing of others. This is what we offer: advanced, detailed knowledge, practical and actionable experience, and participation in circuits of generosity between all of us. Participation in the dynamics that this generosity creates, how it activates and stimulates all of our potential, and in the results we offer and the impact that it has on our lives.
We hope that this way of learning, working and attaining big results appeals to you, that it marks your style of developing as professionals and that you take this dynamic of generosity with you wherever you go. Because it is this generous attitude that will keep you constantly prepared to bring a useful response to the unprecedented challenges that you will probably have to face.
Knowledge, experience and generosity makes you better professionals, and allows you to grow with your work and enjoy what you do. Let generosity accompany you wherever you take it, wherever you apply your acquired knowledge and experience, and always look forward to somebody asking you “so, what do we do now?”.