To be global leaders, students must immerse themselves into the business cultures of cities around the world. This is the premise of the Georgetown-ESADE Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) program, which recently graduated 35 students who spent the last 14 months studying the intricacies of global business and geopolitics on four continents.

While graduation seems like an ending point, class leader Daniel Villanueva says it is actually just the beginning.

“The GEMBA experience is far from being over,” he said in his remarks during the ceremony. Due to the knowledge the class has gained, “our voices and ideas can have much more impact today than one year ago.”

That impact was a theme throughout the graduation remarks. Paul Almeida, Georgetown McDonough senior associate dean for executive education and GEMBA co-academic director, said that the Jesuit education provided by all three partner schools – Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business and Walsh School of Foreign Service with Spain’s ESADE Business School – is “not just about educating the best people in the world, but the best people for the world.”

He asked the graduates, who represent 17 different nationalities, to take what they have learned in the program and apply it to the world through their actions, adding that they now have “the confidence to know that you can and will – and must – make a difference in the world.”

ESADE’s Director General, Eugenia Bieto, also addressed the graduates, asking them to be global citizens who will address significant issues like growing economic and social inequality, geopolitical conflicts, and environmental issues.

“As managers and leaders, none of us can turn our backs on these problems,” Bieto said. “In our globally connected society, the butterfly effect of any action or decision taken anywhere has a far-reaching impact. And, 21st-century leadership can no longer be understood without a significant social commitment and a strong determination to construct a more prosperous and fair society.”

On the eve of their graduation, the students took the first step in making the impact that the program’s leaders expect of them. During a pre-graduation dinner, the students talked about a philanthropic initiative they founded – the GEMBA Legacy project – which supports underprivileged students in Colombia. As their website states, “Education has been life-changing for all of us. Now, we promote education for the most vulnerable population as a key tool for social transformation.”