- Programme: Accelerated Development Programme
- Nationality: Spanish
- Job Pre-programme: Corporate Affairs Director
- Job Post-programme: N/A
“I now have a more rounded view of how private companies operate, what the customers and shareholders want, and how to work with different kinds of people.”
Javier Olaechea knows first-hand that it’s never too late to fulfil a long-held ambition. The Spanish national toyed with the idea of moving abroad to study for a master’s degree in 2003. But he eventually chose to stay in his homeland, as he wasn’t ready to leave Spain.
Since then, Javier has broadened his cultural and business horizons on the Accelerated Development Programme (ADP) at London Business School (LBS). Javier took the programme in 2016 after leaving his job at Comunidad de Madrid (the regional government of Madrid), where he spent 12 years working as a corporate affairs director for departments including transport, infrastructure, social affairs, education, and environment and urban planning.
“I wanted to develop my skills after working for the government for many years,” he says. “My plan is to return to the private sector, where I worked before joining the government. Things are done very differently in the private sector. In business, you have to think about making profits for the shareholders rather than serving the public when working for the government.”
The opportunity to study in London, an international business environment, alongside people with different backgrounds and careers brought Javier to LBS. He knew it was the right move after speaking to past participants from ADP. “The School put me in touch with former participants who told me about their experiences, what they learnt and how great it was to be in London.”
While on the programme, Javier and his fellow participants learned about working with different cultures and how to get the best out of people from Randall S. Peterson, Professor of Organisational Behaviour at LBS. Marcus Alexander, Adjunct Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, shared his insights into working for multinational companies in the energy, financial services, media and retail sectors, while Nader Tavassoli, Professor of Marketing, focused on value creation.
“Nader spoke about how you have to listen to customers to understand what they want,” Javier says. “By doing that, you can give them a product or service that benefits them. If you don’t listen to them, you’re in danger of providing products that perform badly.”
For Javier, one particular case study from the programme – which sees participants spend two weeks at LBS and a month back in their roles, before returning to the School for another fortnight – springs to mind. The class studied Aqualisa Showers, which relies on its supply chain for most of its business.
“It’s not just about the end-user: homeowners or people who rent,” Javier says. “The company sells products to plumbers, for example, who are part of the supply chain and account for most of Aqualisa’s business.”
Having finished the programme, Javier is now focused on his next career move. “I have a more rounded view of how private companies operate, what the customers and shareholders want and how to work with different kinds of people,” he says. “I want to take that knowledge and join a fast-moving tech or digital company that can adapt to ever-changing market demands.”