2022 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: Patricia Díaz-Tendero, Esade Business School

Patricia Díaz-Tendero

Esade Business School

Age: 37

“Persevering, a fighter, insightful, empathetic, a dreamer, courageous.”

Hometown: Madrid – Spain

Family members: 2

Fun fact about yourself: I was an unsuccessful tennis player, but I always dreamed of the Olympics, and I made it! I have participated as a performance advisor to the Spanish sailing team in two Olympic campaigns, and we even won a medal in Tokyo!

Undergraduate school and degree: Cum Laude PhD in Psychology specializing in Human Performance and High-Performance Teams.

Psychology PhD, UNED (Spain)

Where are you currently working? I work with ActioGlobal as an Enterprise Transformation Lead. We partner with top leaders in their industries to disrupt organizational cultures and achieve high impact.

In addition, I collaborate as a Talent Management and High-Performance Consultant for Real Madrid C.F.

Extracurricular activities, community work, and leadership roles: For four years, I was a volunteer in the Red Cross (Spain), collaborating as a psychologist in emergencies such as natural disasters, traffic accidents, and terrorist acts. Also, starting when I was 18 years old, I ran a leisure project for people with functional diversity for three years.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The extracurricular achievement I am most proud of during business school was finishing my PhD. When I started the Executive MBA at Esade. I was finishing writing my doctoral thesis. The way I was able to manage both projects and still attend to my family and my work made me realize my organizational skills.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I set up my own business at the age of 24, leading a team of 10 people and building a clinic with professionals from different specialities in the field of wellness and healthcare in a very small town in northern Spain. I sold my part of the business almost five years later with a 20% return on investment. At the time, I had no business background, and it was a big challenge for me to manage both the financials and the team.

Who was your favourite MBA professor? Esade has great professors, and it is difficult to choose just one, but one of the best experiences is to have had Javier Solana as a professor of Geopolitics. It is mainly because of his experience as former Secretary-General of NATO and High Representative of the Council for the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA programme? I chose Esade because it applies its own innovative learning model, a pioneering one in Europe, based on the development of professional and managerial skills and competencies. I also like its diversity programme and its support for women in business.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA, and how did you apply it at work? The most important lesson I have learned during the MBA was in relation to the application of machine learning in business processes. I have applied it in my work in the detection of predictive performance models. In addition, everything I learned about business performance indicators through dashboards and scorecards following the OKR model was also very useful.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education. In this time of studying for the Executive MBA, I have become a “time squeezer”. I remember one time I was in the doctor’s waiting room, working on an EMBA project, and I was so focused on what I was doing that I missed the appointment and had to come back the next day. I would take advantage of any moment to move forward and study. In the EMBA I have realized that I am more effective than I thought I was and that we can do a lot more things than we think we can.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA programme? Take the opportunity to learn from everyone you meet. Talent is not only in the faculty, but also in the people sitting next to you. You will realize talents that you had hidden. Don’t be afraid to expose yourself and if there is something you don’t feel confident about, that’s where you should expose yourself more in order to grow.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? I think the biggest myth about going back to school is that you think you won’t be able to concentrate as much as you did in your college days. In reality, it’s like riding a bike; you never forget, and in two days you are back on track.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I would like to be more involved with my colleagues. I would like to spend more time sharing personal things with them. I am proud to have some close friends from my MBA, but I would like to have had more time to get to know them all more deeply.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Without a doubt, Almudena Peña. I think she is the most talented and humble person I have met in a long time. She has been able to manage her pregnancy and the birth of her daughter with work and the EMBA in an extraordinary (almost heroic) way. She has a great capacity for analysis and organization of knowledge, she is able to dig deep to fully understand each topic and translate it to the applied context. In addition, she is a true team player, knows how to challenge you to make you grow and never fails to be supportive.

What was the main reason why you chose an executive MBA programme over part-time or online alternatives? I made my choice for engagement. In my opinion, part-time or online alternatives make you feel less involved and committed.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I felt that I was on the top of the mountain in the sport industry (one of the biggest clubs worldwide, Two Olympic campaigns…). And if I wanted to keep growing professionally, I needed to change to another mountain. That is why a year ago I decided to study an MBA and pivot forward to other industries and other kinds of high-performance teams in the corporate world.

What made Patricia such an invaluable addition to the class of 2022?

“Patricia’s dedication to the Esade Executive MBA has been absolutely outstanding. Moreover, her profile is absolutely unique. Though a psychologist by training, she took part in an entrepreneurial project and decided to start a new career. She now works as a mental coach for a leading global soccer club, namely, Real Madrid. She is also an active member of the Spanish Olympic sailing team and has already had the opportunity to participate in two Olympic games. Patricia has been a constant reference for the entire group as a classmate. After being elected class president, the EMBA Management Team has also had the chance to interact with Patricia throughout the program. Her approach to solve any kind of problem has always been constructive and positive. There is no doubt whatsoever that Patricia will be a brilliant agent for change in the communities with which she becomes involved.”

Michele Quintano
Associate Dean Executive EMBA


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