An Interview with James Doherty,
US American/Irish, ESADE MBA Class of 2013 Student

James is an internationally minded MBA student, 3-time case competition winner (Europraxis, Hult Prize Dubai, ESADE Innovation Summit), global finalist for the CEIBS InnovateChina competition, and global finalist of the world-renowned Hult Prize with his social enterprise, Origin, founded with 4 fellow MBA students. James and his team presented to Bill Clinton in the finals of this prestigious competition in September of 2013 after spending the summer in the IXL Center in Boston and Mumbai, India developing the business. James is particularly interested in the non-profit sector and global development. He has worked for five years as an export strategy consultant for Exportrådet in Chicago and is now developing a start-up project for Telefónica Digital in their Barcelona office.

What has your ESADE MBA experiencebeen like so far?

The MBA is what you make of it. I made that decision the day I embarked on my MBA and so far I’ve been lucky enough to form part of the winning team in 3 case competitions in locations around the world, I’ve been president of the MBA Student Association, and have grabbed every opportunity that has come my way. After all, the reason for coming to ESADE is to change your life, and in my particular case, I wanted to do a 180º-degree career jump, so it was up to me to make that happen. It’s an intense experience. There’s a lot to be said for the flexibility we’re given here to choose where to take the MBA so it fits in with your plans, so this is a big plus. I think of the MBA as an opportunity to try out anything and everything with few to no repercussions, so the onus is on you to make sure you’ve tried it all before you graduate!

How would you describe thelearning environment at ESADEBusiness School?

At ESADE we are a true family. We celebrate our classmates’ achievements as though they were our own, and there is no feeling of competition or one-upmanship. The fact that we are such a tight-knit, intimate-size group has meant that the people I have met in Barcelona will be life-long friends and possibly even business associates in the future! At ESADE we work in a very team-focused setting, which means that not only do you learn a lot about yourself and your own abilities, but you get to know your teammates well and how you work best with others. I remember in a case competition at CEIBS School in Shanghai that we eventually won, the impression my team made on the Chinese jury when they discovered our leaderless team format and how well it worked for us. I guess it’s because we all knew how we work and adapt best in a team and what elements make up the perfect team, that there was no need for a leader figure per se. This will be hugely important going forward in my professional career, without a doubt.

What has been the highlight ofyour ESADE experience?

I think the biggest highlight has been my involvement in the Hult Prize competition and presenting to President Bill Clinton in the finals. I want to go on to work in non-profit organisations after the MBA and working on our project which was focused on making food more accessible in the poorest areas of India has given me a great platform from which to go into this field. We made it to the finals out of an initial 10,000 applicants and travelled to India, Dubai, Shanghai, Boston and New York for this competition alone, making it one of the most incredible experiences I have had to date, and one I’ll never forget.