The Barcelona GSE Clusters Summer School and Banking Summer School were held from June 25 - July 6, marking the school's first official academic activity. The acclaim received from both participants and professors foreshadows the success of the four masters programs that will begin in September.
The intensive 2-week schools are designed for practitioners, researchers and postgraduate students, and are taught by a faculty composed of leading academics and practitioners. The inaugural class was composed of 102 participants of 38 different nationalities who traveled to Barcelona to become versed in the latest theory as well as learn about cutting-edge practices in the banking or cluster industry.
To welcome students, the summer school held an official reception in Barcelona's historic city hall, where attendees were able to socialize with Barcelona GSE summer school professors and other students while enjoying a cocktail reception. Sergio Guerrero-Gomez, an economist at the Bank of Mexico who attended the Banking Summer School, highlighted the gathering as "one of the great opportunities to interact with professors and classmates outside the classroom." Many students also took advantage of their time in Barcelona to go on bike tours, sample restaurants, attend cultural events, or go to the beach located 5 minutes away on foot.
Harvard Business School Professor Christian Ketels teaches a course on cluster strategy
Students and professors of the Cluster Summer School gather for a group photo at the reception
Reflecting on their experience, many students reported that one of the best aspects of the program was the remarkable international representation. According to Daniel Saikaley, who works for the National Research Council of Canada and attended the Clusters Summer School, "the internationality of the attendees was a real bonus. In addition to what I was learning from the professors in class, the other students opened my eyes to the unique approaches utilized in other countries."
Apart from an international emphasis, the summer schools designed course content that incorporated both an academic and industry perspective. The Clusters Summer School offered five courses combining case studies, theory review, and personal accounts. Professors included many of the prevailing authorities on cluster strategy, including Summer School Director Emiliano Duch (President, Cluster Competitiveness Group), Christian Ketels (Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School.), Eduard Ballarin (IESE Business School; Strategic Management Society), Antoni Subirà (IESE Business School; Former Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism of Catalan Government), and Tea Petrin (Ljubljana University; Former Minister for Economic Affairs of Slovenian Government).
The Barcelona GSE Banking Summer School also joined theory and innovative practice, offering 4 courses to deepen understanding of theoretical banking and broaden knowledge of empirical methodologies. The summer school was directed by Xavier Freixas (Barcelona GSE and UPF) and Moshe Kim (University of Haifa and UPF), and featured professors Steve Ongena (CentER-Tilburg University), Jukka Vesala (Finnish Financial Supervision Authority) and Jean-Charles Rochet (Toulouse University).
From left to right: Barcelona GSE General Director Eduard Vallory, 22@ President Miquel Barceló, City Hall Director of Promotions Miquel Mateu, and Competitiveness Institute President Emilià Duch
Barcelona GSE Board of Trustees Member member Joaquim Silvestre converses with Finance Summer School co-Director Moshe Kim
Overall, the Barcelona GSE Summer School was distinguished by an exceptional international emphasis coupled with an enriching combination of theory and practice. Banking Summer School student Alicia Garcia Herrero, who works for the Bank for International Settlements in Hong Kong, sums up her experience by affirming "I would definitely recommend the summer school to any interested colleague or friend. The mixture of practitioners and academics broadened my horizons and deepened existing knowledge. The insights I gained during the two weeks are invaluable."
Banking Summer School Director Moshe Kim reflected, "The first annual Barcelona GSE summer school has been, by all accounts, a great success. The wonderful organization of the school and the superb professors made the experience memorable and enjoyable for everyone involved." The Barcelona GSE will continue its academic activity in September, when its four masters programs will launch.