Lecture with Professor Gustavo Garcia-Mansilla

By Ashley Kolumban

Professor Gustavo Garcia-Mansilla, the director of the Executive Media MBA program at the University of Navarra, met us on our first official media visit of the trip and took us on a tour of the building they’re seemingly growing out of. The school plans to move into a bigger building that will better suit their size very soon.

We visited one of the six locations the where university has campuses; others being Munich, New York City, Barcelona and more. El Mundo, a popular Spanish newspaper, ranked the University of Navarra’s journalism program the best in Spain in 2013.

Garcia-Mansilla began his presentation by introducing us to pictures of his “team”: his wife, children and his passion for music. This set him apart from everyone right from the start. In the United States, most people, speakers or professionals, often don’t let the audience into their personal lives, and they just stick to what the audience came there to hear.

This was our first glimpse at how proud the people of Spain are of their country, their families and their professions. The Spanish lifestyle has a positive effect on the moods and work ethics of the people who live there. It all translates into their work, which they can show off and be proud of. This creates better products and better services, and Garcia-Mansilla stressed that, and that is important in the country’s recovery from the 2008-09 worldwide economic crisis.

Much of the businesses, even in Spain, don’t necessarily focus all of their attention on the clients or customers. Many of the higher-up figures do and make decisions they think will better the company or the end result to the customer without actually consulting or listening to the feedback from the customer.

A relatively big problem that companies are facing is the lack of communication in the current Spanish media landscape. Garcia-Mansilla explained that CEOs have a few things on their mind: political issues, strategic issues, organizational issues and marketing issues.

The political issues he referred to in regards to the companies was to continue being influential in political social behavior. In order to keep afloat financially, they enforce getting help through tax policies, such as the value added tax or VAT. And finally, another major issue that is infiltrating Spain is piracy. Netflix isn’t available because of the high rates of piracy. His final political issue thought was to get urgent help against piracy.

When he referred to strategic issues, he was referring to ways of increasing the barrier entries into their markets. CEOs are also looking to come back to the past, but only if they are lucky. The last point Garcia-Mansilla made with strategic issues was to establish fair competition against more dynamic organizations.

The third topic referring to structural issues touched upon being more efficient in structural costs, as well as allocating the best talent in the most promising business lines. The easy way out — even mediocre — is saving dollars the easy way by cutting staff and expenses. Garcia-Mansilla said the more creative companies and CEOs are looking for way to increase income and reduce costs without affecting the product so severely. And finally he talked about improving flexibility for faster reaction to new opportunities.

When Garcia-Mansilla discussed the marketing issues that CEOs are thinking about, one of them is understanding new consumers’ behavior. Knowing who to market to and how to market to them is key. And within this, a development of branding will come forth. As he mentioned earlier in the presentation, the top of the ladder doesn’t always, or hardly ever, looks down to the bottom of the ladder for advice or opinions, and that’s the point he made: delivering content with the costumers in mind and not the editors of the companies is of major importance to their recovery and future growth.

With the Spanish media landscape an ever-changing and ever-growing industry, in order for companies to succeed and live out economic crises or roadblocks, listening to the end consumer would be in their best interest, he emphasized.

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