2018 Best EMBAs: Juan Diago Sempere, INSEAD

Juan Diago Sempere


Age: 35

“Passionate and reliable person driven by challenges to make the world a better place.”

Hometown: Valencia, Spain

Family Members: I am single. My parents, sisters and my little niece live in Spain.

Fun fact about yourself: My football team, Valencia CF, plays usually at night (Asian time). I wake up anytime at night to watch its games. Actually, I have achieved to have a bunch of Valencia supporters in the class. And growing.

Undergraduate School and Degree: MSc in Telecom Engineering (Universidad Politécnica Valencia), BSc in Business (Universidad de Valencia) and Aerospace MBA (EOI Business School Sevilla).

Where are you currently working? I am working for Airbus Defence and Space in Indonesia as Head of Production.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: Football, running, diving and reading. Member of Valencia Opera and Arts’s Friends Association. Coach of children’s football team. Mentor.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I was very honored to receive the Scholarship for Excellence from INSEAD. The other big achievement is my LDP (Leadership Development Programme) group. We have become a small family.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am proud of having produced big changes in all my positions and to have built strong teams that continued the task once I left.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? At the moment, it is Pascal Maenhout (Corporate Finance), because he is extremely energetic and his classes are fascinating. If you blink for a moment, you may get lost. I would also mention Sameer Hasija (Process & Operations Management) because he provides a very different and inspiring perspective of Operations. Having said that, the expectations about Antonio Fatas (Macroeconomics), who will teach us the next module, are high.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? There are so many amazing courses. I especially enjoyed International Political Affairs. The course was extremely eye-opening and provided us some tools to analyze the political situation and world’s future: analysis based on facts, not opinions. Since I took this class, I see the world and read the news from a very different perspective.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? I chose INSEAD because of its academic excellence, reputation and diversity. In fact, I have discovered here, first-hand, the true power of diversity, working with my classmates from 59 nationalities and different professional, academic and personal background.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? Although all the courses are extraordinary, my classmates are the best part of the EMBA without a doubt.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? We take the courses step-by-step, independently. As time goes by and the program advances, everything starts to match: Organizational Behaviour with Operations, Operations with Managerial Accounting and Finance, Finance with Marketing, Marketing with UDJ and so on…I bring this global perspective to the job, applying the concepts of “anchoring”, analyzing the “value creation” of the operations, or understanding the reasons for company’s behavior as a whole. This holistic view is the biggest lesson.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? I had to adjust my routines and schedules to use my time out of work more efficiently. For example, I use the transport time between home and office every day for the pre-readings, instead of just checking my email or the status of the traffic. Believe me, considering traffic in Indonesia, it makes a difference. Furthermore, I hardly remember my Netflix password; I have a pile of non-academic books accumulating at home; and I have increased the frequency of Facetime with my niece, so she doesn’t forget my face until I can go back to Spain again. But it is a matter of passion, discipline, and a bit of sacrifice. Ultimately, the program takes only 18 months and it is worth dedicating to it as much time as possible.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? To have a clear objective to enter and look for the best program to achieve it, based on the specific features of each school. Once admitted, enjoy it from the very first minute because time flies during the program.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? Probably the biggest myth is that to juggle a demanding job and such a program is very difficult. I won’t say it’s easy — because it’s not – but I think it is part of the learning experience. Not only do we all survive, but we also enjoy the experience.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I wish I could do all the electives and KMCs. Fortunately, we will be able to take more electives as alumni next year. Furthermore, I´d like to have spent even more time with my classmates sharing experiences and knowledge.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I feel very privileged to be in a class with so many interesting classmates. I admire them all! For example, we have three medical doctors in class. It is a job I especially admire, because my father and sisters are medical doctors too. Besides the social purpose of the job, I know how hard and demanding it can be. I would like to mention Peter Guenthardt too. Not only does he have a successful career, but he is also a good and generous person, always willing to teach and share his experience with us.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when I felt I needed a richer set of skills and broader horizon to progress in my life and career.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…missing great friends, an extremely enriching experience, a top academic background and promising opportunities.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? Beyond the positions, I want to look back when I am old and feel that I am the best I can be and that I have helped many others to be better. My EMBA is one big step in this journey.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As a trustworthy person whom they can count on.

Favorite book: I’d like to answer with a long list, but I’ll just mention 3: Decisive Moments in History by Stefan Zweig; A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, and Good Men by A. Pérez-Reverte.

Favorite movie or television show: Netflix makes this choice harder, but I’ll still stick to The West Wing.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Writing a book and parachute jumping.

What made Juan such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

Juan Diago Sempere is a recipient of the Excellence Scholarship awarded to candidates who demonstrate outstanding professional and personal achievements, including particularly strong interpersonal skills, leadership experience and growth potential.

As Head of Production at Airbus, Juan is in charge of manufacturing and delivering Airbus DS airplanes in Indonesia in cooperation with an Indonesian aerospace company. He also leads the transformation programme of the Indonesian company to improve its capabilities as Airbus partner and supports the sales team in the campaigns in the region.

Juan brings to the programme a rich experience in the aerospace industry in Asia and Europe, as well as outstanding interpersonal skills which contribute to his excellent track record in various culture and company transformation projects. His unique mix of passion and humility is another asset he brings to the class.”

Christine Manipur

Senior Product Marketing Manager


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