Jorge Estera Sanza is a doctor of neurobiology, a novelist, educator, and international business person. He founded ESEI in 1989, after a distinguished career spanning 25 years.
He has experience working all over the world, including in South America, Australia, the UK, and the Pacific Rim. He was also the director of ICI for South America and worked for Procter and Gamble, among others.
We asked him a few questions.
If you were a student today, what would you study and why?
Business for me is a question of vocation – and you never find your vocation in your a first job. Rather, it often comes after a negative or positive experience that illuminates the right path for you.
Although I’m a doctor of neurobiology, I think studying business is something that opens the door to new, global concepts, and is in fact a very interesting way of understanding the human condition. Really, I would study anything that binds objectives, ideas, and ethics together.
What advice would you give to an aspiring young entrepreneur?
Firstly, my advice is the same as Socrates’. Finding yourself is the beginning of a tremendous experience. Anyone that understands the human soul deeply enough knows that you must find your true purpose. The fact is, it is easy to understand others, but it’s very hard to understand yourself.
Why is that do you think?
Because you have no reference, objectivity is impossible. Nevertheless, it is important that you do not misunderstand yourself: you must strive to find the real you.
Secondly, my advice is that once you have discovered your singularity – your true purpose – and you are good at it, you can begin to develop something that is much bigger than you.
And while you can read a lot a of books (and you should), anything from Cervantes to management theory, you also have to be a manager who can explain things and connect the theory to a practical reality.
You moved from business management and directorships to education. Why was this?
The word education has its root in latin. Educare means to establish rules, give objectives and direct students. Then there is Educere, which means to extract understanding from you, and helping you to find bring out that which you have within yourself. In my opinion, education and politics allow a person to reach their highest potential. Education is about helping others and that’s something that we strive to do at ESEI.
If you could have dinner with a leader, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Now we’re going through a dramatic time and an uncertain future in Catalonia, I’d say perhaps Churchill. He was a paradigm of leadership. In fact, prior to World War Two he could see the future. Although nobody listened to him, he foresaw Hitler’s plans and understood that it was time to prepare for war.
Finding someone who leads with a clear idea of what the future holds is very rare, he would be a fascinating and insightful dinner guest.
What’s your favourite place in or around Catalonia?
I’m very keen on Romanic art. In fact, when I was very young, both my grandfather and my father told me that the best Romanic art was here in Catalonia. Although I was, perhaps a little skeptical of their assertion, I too became very interested in the subject.
One day, while I was working in New York, I met a very interesting business person, who told me the exact same thing as my father did:
“You’ve got the best Romanic art – in the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya.”
And so, that’s probably my favourite place.
What would you say to a new student at ESEI?
As a man of a certain age, I’ve lived a lot and have a lot of experience. I’d like people to know I don’t want anyone to be afraid to ask me for help. If anyone ever calls me, I will drop what I’m doing and to help them right away.
This is important to me because when I was young, I met many good people who gave me good advice and I want to do the same.