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Consultant Turns Entrepreneur After ESADE Business School MBA

Martin Mariussen says ‘Creactivism’—the business ideology at the heart of the ESADE MBA—helped him reinvent himself and start a consulting company of his own



Wed Oct 10 2018

“What the ESADE MBA does incredibly well is to create the right conditions for creativity and activism to flourish,” explains Martin Mariussen, a 2018 MBA graduate from ESADE Business School in Barcelona.

ESADE has coined the phrase ‘creactivism’ to refer to the two key elements of its approach to business education—creativity and activism.

The ‘four Cs’ are the pillars of the creactivist’s mindset: critical thinking, collaborative leadership, creativity, and communication. With this dynamic and adaptive skillset, ESADE hopes its MBA grads can prosper both professionally and personally.

Take Martin. He says he’s reinvented himself after completing his MBA at ESADE earlier this year.

Before the MBA, he worked for a big consulting company; a specialist in sales and commercial strategy. Since graduating, he’s become a business owner, starting up his own marketing-focused consulting firm, Kvadrant, in Copenhagen.

“Without ESADE as the catalyst, I probably wouldn't have dared to go after my goals, such as building my own company, or had the tools and mindset to reinvent myself as I’ve done,” he says.

BusinessBecause caught up with Martin to find out more.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at ESADE?

I was looking for a school that would prioritize collaboration over individual competition, in addition to offering a top global MBA program. 

As a consultant, I’m in the business of helping leaders solve complex problems, and such problems are always best solved through collaboration rather than individual excellence. So, I pursued an MBA that would help me strengthen my ability to drive collaboration in a team rather than strengthen my ability to deliver as an individual. 

After interviewing with a few schools, ESADE clearly emerged as the best choice for that, thanks to its great focus on teamwork in its teaching methodology. 

Why do you think creactivism is important in business today?

For me, creactivism relates to the old saying ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’

In the 1950s, the average lifespan of an S&P 500 company was 60 years; now it’s less than 20. The ultimate ‘fishing’ skill in a fast-changing environment is the ability to constantly reinvent yourself and rewrite the rules, forcing other people to reinvent as well. Creative activism therefore becomes the answer to shortening cycles of creative destruction.  

How did ESADE integrate creactivism throughout your MBA experience?

In terms of creativity, they create a ‘safe space’ where you dare to experiment, fail, learn and improve from your experiences. 

Concerning activism, they give support to student initiatives with resources and time. For example, when a fellow student and I started a podcast on decision-making, the faculty helped us get interesting people on the show. When we organized a big case competition, the dean and several others invested time and contacts in making it a success. 

In essence, the collaborative culture of the program helps you dare to be creative and its support promotes strong student activism, making great ideas come to life.

How have you profited from the ESADE MBA?

My story is the story of breaking out of your mold and reinventing yourself. The ESADE MBA deserves a lot of credit for making that transformation successful.  Now I own a consultancy for B2B marketing that is set to become the best in the world!

In my experience, this is best achieved by approaching our work with critical thinking, collaborative leadership, creativity, and strong communication—creactivism!

To win, our clients also need to ‘get out of their comfort zone’ and reinvent themselves, just like I have had to do. We are there to lead and facilitate that journey for them, just as the ESADE MBA was there for me.