‘’Barcelona Personalities’’ that is what this newly created section is all about and this description suits Carlota Estera perfectly. What a sparkling personality! We have the pleasure to meet Carlota at the ESEI business school situated just outside the city at Carrer Montevideo. What an oasis of tranquility compared
to the city centre. The sun is shining and the school looks like an old country house, very impressive.
Carlota welcomes us warmly and we sit down in a large meeting room where Carlota immediately fires away. ESEI is a private business school that offers mainly bachelors in business administration in English in 3 years time and it’s a British degree. The school is also launching learning by doing Master´s and MBA programmes. The programmes are very practical and include many industrial visits and learning walks. Moving from the classroom to the field.
Carlota is Spanish but considers herself as an international mind; she has studied in Paris, London, worked for multinationals and small and medium sized companies. As Carlota mentions ‘’ I’ve always worked in a very entrepreneurial environment and I am not afraid of dealing with CEO’s and CFO’s as I started dealing with that very young’’. Furthermore she describes herself as a really active person, which will become clear as you read. Being specific is not who Carlota is, she is more the general kind of person. ‘’ In my case it’s not that I get bored of things but I need new input all the time, I need to feed myself¨. And the characteristics of not being specific do come in handy when it comes to management and business. Networking is one of the basics if you want to develop new ideas or projects according to Carlota: ´´ I would like say, and I hope it doesn’t sound arrogant; I am well-known to be a good networker´´.
Projects, projects, projects
Carlota is a very active person and this is illustrated by the fact that she fires away about all the projects she runs or is involved in while at the same time she is running the ESEI Business school. She breathes enthusiasm when talking about all the projects. The first project we talk about is the app GooTaxi, which is a collaboration with a friend of her who approached her with the idea of this mobile application in 2001. After setting up this project, managing the marketing and taking care of the strategy someone was interested in getting shares and Carlota was interested in selling.
Icontrata.com is another project that Carlota is involved. She is shareholder of this b2b platform where people and companies can get up to 5 free budgets. You get on to the platform and you order the budget in the field of your interest. Fields range from providers in paper to web design. This is what Carlota has to say about Icontrata: ´´ If you think about it, it’s the good thing about internet, for many years we have had physical evidence of things but lately people are looking for getting everything together in one place, to find things easy. This also allows companies to compare and gets all the information in one place and for free´´.
The next project of Carlota is a personal passion and she is very excited about it but knows that it is going to take time. She loves children even though she doesn’t have any herself. This concept is some sort of a kindergarten, for kids and parents. The creativity and skills of the kids will be developed and the parents will learn how to talk to their kids, how to tell stories and also include dynamic talks. It’s all about, as Carlota says ‘’ Tell me what you do well and what you would like to do and we will work on that’’.
We don’t need to be superwomen
‘’The last thing and I will stop with all the projects’’ says Carlota as she fires away about another project. This project, called Mujeresin.org, is another collaboration with a friend who is a coach. It seems like Carlota really takes satisfaction from all the projects and doesn’t see this as work, as this project was mainly for pleasure she said. The objective of the project was to help the role of women within society today. We organize free conferences and workshops in different formats; how to market yourself, find what you really like, develop your personal skills, look for your hobbies, how to find your passion and make it your work, how to say no. Carlota says ‘’we don´t need to be superwomen, we may accept ourselves, are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them´´. The topics are discussed in panels of entrepreneurs of women within a very intimate atmosphere.
Now, you might ask yourself, like we asked ourselves, how does she do all of this? Carlota answers with a smile on her face and twinkling eyes, as if it is very simple: ´´ In the end it all comes down to time management. I tell you, it can be quite stressful to be honest. But this is also why I decided to do meditation. I have learned to say no, so lately I am doing what I really love´´.Time management skills are necessary and it seems like it all comes naturally to Carlota.
The perfect location
When we ask Carlota about the move to the new location she explains the following: ´´The new location has much more space and allows us to have a small residence for students. By means of the new location we have been able to maximize resources and have everything in one place. We have a garden in case we want to organize parties, graduations, events and business presentations´´. The new location has so far been a great success.
The other part where ESEI is successful is the personal touch that is integrated within everything they do. From the selection process to the daily coaching of students, everything is given personal attention. Carlota says ´´ for a young student to go abroad, leave their family and stay for three years it´s quite a big decision and a long process, it implies a lot of patient from us, support, tutorials, meetings and credibility´´. This personal attention and understanding is probably also why ESEI does very well when it come to word of mouth. Students recommend their friends to join.
Quality of life
Why is Barcelona so popular with students? Carlota states ´´Barcelona became a hub for business schools and universities, it is well known in education although this is not the main reason why students are attracted by Barcelona. The main reason is the city itself, the weather and the quality of life. I have lived in Paris and London but you can imagine how much I missed Barcelona, because of the sea, the structure and the diversity of being able to ski but also to go to the sea´´.
Cultural differences come to mind automatically when talking about working with international minds. Carlota has her very own opinion about these cultural differences ´´ Sorry I am not going to be diplomatic here because everyone is saying ´´be careful´´ you cannot generalize but I think there are trends. I generalize when someone has been living in the same country for all of his or her life. It gets more complicated when we talk about international minds, not international experience, but international minds. If everyone would be a bit more relax about cultural differences and would be able to make fun of it without getting offended it would be so much better´´. Carlota is of opinion that we should all in some way be interested in cultures; respect others then others will respect you. Be curious!
Thank you Carlota for putting your precious time in this interview, thank you for your inspiring words and thank you for your enthusiasm which works contagious and really made me want to get started with some project.
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