The journey to professional confidence goes through the Full-time MBA programme

Frances Salayo comes from Canada. She is an award-winning professional in the Pharmaceutical industry, having managed Remicade®, J&J's top selling drug. Frances will graduate from ESADE Business & Law School in 2016 but she already has experience in cross-functional leadership and monitoring of sales and activities against goals. Prior to joining ESADE, she worked with opinion leaders in the Rheumatology field to develop and execute brand plans. She is also experienced in provincial access strategy, as well as new product launch co-positioning

Editor’s pick: Frances is on track to acquire the necessary business expertise and soft skills to be able to drastically accelerate her career and transform from a respected professional in her chosen field to a confident businesswoman who leads from the front. Frances’ story should serve to demonstrate the full potential of the Full-time MBA programme and inspire everyone ambitious enough to aim as high as her.

Frances, why did you decide to pursue an MBA at ESADE?

I was very surprised because I had always thought I would go to a Canadian university, but about a year before starting the MBA I had the opportunity of going to an Open Day in New York, where I met ESADE alumni from different backgrounds and different cultures. The way that they described the school culture and the values of innovation and collaboration inspired me to come to Barcelona and join the Full-time MBA programme.

What are the factors that you took into consideration when choosing to go for a Full-time MBA course?

I felt that the ESADE MBA, at the time of my selection process, would provide me with further international exposure with its exceptional diversity. I carry a global mindset due to my upbringing, languages and volunteer and travel experience. My experience living in different countries has taught me how to immerse myself in diverse learning environments. As such, I felt that this school was a perfect fit for someone with my background, and the full-time format would provide the maximum immersion. In addition, I am really passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration. These are areas I believe I need to develop because I feel they are critical to my success as a business leader. My learning experience from courses such as Global Sales and Sales Management Strategies will greatly contribute towards my career goals. Lastly, I appreciate the strong network of alumni in Healthcare, which is my industry, including senior leaders. Having spoken with alumni, I was certain that the Full-time MBA at ESADE will help me build strong connections that will later be crucial in advancing my career.  

How would you describe the learning environment in the Full-time MBA course?

The environment in my programme is challenging, diverse and very collaborative. Firstly, the full-time programme is challenging because we have the opportunities to grow not only through the classes but also through the rich offering of labs, case competitions and clubs, to help students specialise and get the most out of the MBA with subject matter experts and industry leaders. This challenging environment prepares us to become leaders in our own specific paths. Secondly, my MBA programme is rooted in diversity. For instance, in my Term 1 team, we had group mates from different parts of the world such as China, Canada, India, Colombia, Nigeria and Brazil. I enjoy the unique and dynamic environment with individuals with different perspectives and opinions, which fosters a very global mindset. When you study full time you are entirely committed to your studies and can gain the most from what the programme provides. Lastly, this is especially true in this programme because of the collaborative environment. A large part of our coursework is done via groups and we develop a mindset of sharing ideas to drive towards a common goal. The spirit of collaboration can really be felt within the team-based activities and the wonderful learning environment, where all opinions are respected and each team member's strengths are leveraged to the fullest. The reality is that we live in a connected, global environment and adaptability is one key criterion that will help foster our success as business leaders in the future. I look forward to implementing my MBA knowledge and skills in my future projects.

Have you enjoyed the subjects that you are studying during the MBA?

Of the specialised business labs available during the Full-time MBA, I am involved in two. One is the ALCP (Action Learning Consulting Programme) in which I am part of a team of five working on real-life business challenges for companies facing consulting or marketing issues, or expansion projects looking for bright minds to contribute and give them strategic ideas. The other is the Innovation Lab, which has allowed me to be involved in a research project with CERN in Switzerland, helping visually impaired people with spatial awareness. I have worked with individuals from different backgrounds collaboratively, and with some designers from Barcelona’s IED design school, to design a new solution and a prototype to allow blind people to navigate through a grocery store.

Do you feel satisfied with your choice of FT MBA?

Yes, I am very satisfied with my decision. I am entirely devoted to my studies and all the opportunities provided by the programme. I participate in the current ALCP with a team that will be driving a challenge within the medical technology sphere. I am also leading the Healthcare Club and I have enjoyed organising activities, networking with key Healthcare leaders and furthering the development of the presence of my school in the Healthcare industry.

What has the MBA given you?

I truly enjoy the unique environment which ESADE has built for us, where everybody comes from a different background. In Term 1 of the MBA my team was made up of students from India, China, Colombia, Nigeria and myself from Canada, all of us bringing different ideas and different perspectives on how the world should be, and together we have produced something beautiful. 

This article has been produced by Advent Group and featured in the 2015-2016 Access MBA Guide