Meet the ESEI team: Rosanna West, Head of Academics

Today, we have the pleasure to introduce you to our new Head of Academics, Rosanna West. We sat down for a chat so you can get to know her better – you know we’re all about fostering personal relationships in the ESEI community!

Rosanna was kind enough to share why she came to Barcelona, what her plans are for ESEI as the new Head of Academics and why she’s so passionate about education.

From London to Barcelona

Rosanna is a proud Londoner – while she hasn’t lived there full-time for over ten years, she often goes back to visit her hometown. She did her undergraduate degree in Modern Languages at the University of Bristol and her MBA in Education Leadership & Management at GBS and spent some time living in Colombia and France during her studies. But what brings her to Barcelona?

“I caught the Spanish language bug in a big way,” she says. “When I graduated, I decided to move to Barcelona to try the Spanish way of life and keep my language skills up. I haven’t looked back since. The weather has nothing to do with that, of course…”

Rosanna trained as an English teacher and has been working in the education sector since moving to Barcelona. She started working in another business school here that had just opened their Barcelona campus. It was a great opportunity for her to grow professionally as the school grew. Thanks to the passion she discovered for the work and the mentorship of a colleague, she was heading up the academic department after just a couple of years.

“What I love most about my job is the inspiration it gives me on a daily basis. Working with students and professors who are curious about the world and who want to change it for the good makes me want to do the same,” she says.

“In my role, it isn’t just about providing students with a well-designed, well-delivered and effective programme. It’s also about creating a safe, open and forward-thinking space in which students feel free to ask questions, to think differently, to create and innovate. It means being there to support students and faculty however they may need and fostering a strong sense of community.”

She loves to watch students grow as they progress through their programme, and sees it as a privilege to guide them on that journey. “It’s not always an easy one, but that’s what makes graduation day so special!” she says.

Rosanna’s vision as Head of Academics at ESEI

Rosanna describes the first time that she stepped foot on the ESEI campus like walking into a family home – albeit a large one. Our personalised approach made her feel comfortable from the very first moment.

“I love that students here aren’t simply a student number – people know each other’s names, what they’re studying, their aspirations. Much of this is thanks to the friendly, approachable staff team who are clearly dedicated to providing the ESEI community with the best experience possible,” she says.

As the new Head of Academics, Rosanna has clear objectives and an ambitious vision for ESEI.

“I plan to ensure the continued smooth-running of the great work that’s already happening at ESEI, but also to listen to constructive feedback and act on it where possible. There is always room for improvement, and it’s my job to ensure the department is constantly striving for more,” she says. “My main objective is to provide an enjoyable, inspiring and nurturing educational experience which effectively prepares students for the 21st-century business environment.”

She will focus her attention on:

  • Enhancing the sense of community among the ESEI student body and faculty team
  • Providing clarity to students and teachers on ESEI’s academic processes
  • Ensuring that the academic programmes are relevant, interesting and demanding
  • Fostering a stronger connection between the academic programme and local industry partners
  • Turning the city of Barcelona into the school’s campus wherever possible
  • Facilitating the development of more student businesses and helping to turn their ideas into a reality

Outside of ESEI

Outside of work, Rosanna likes spending time with friends and enjoying the city, particularly in the sunshine. She’s also an avid salsa dancer, having spent 8 months living in Colombia.

“What I really live for though is seeing the world. I’ve lived in four countries and those experiences have made me who I am today. Any excuse for a holiday and I’m there!” she says.

If she could choose one person to have dinner with – anyone at all – Rosanna would pick a leader who inspires her.

“It would have to be Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” she says, referring to the current U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district and the youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress.

“Whatever your politics, Ocasio-Cortez represents hard work, compassion, hope and a commitment to making the world a better place. She is also a hugely positive, visible role model for women across the globe, reminding them never to underestimate themselves,” Rosanna says. “If we had dinner, I’d ask her about her story, what keeps her positive, how she sees the world twenty years from now and what she believes the role of education can play.”

When asked to name one cause that she’s passionate about, Rosanna highlights the role of education in changing the world.

“I wholeheartedly believe that if we provided free access to education for all, the critical global issues currently dominating the front pages of the newspapers would be at least lessened, perhaps in some cases even eradicated. Education brings us knowledge, understanding, insight, perspective, confidence, opportunity. Ultimately, it empowers us. Empowered people are usually the ones who make change happen,” she says.

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