Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, El Xalet de Montjuïc 4

IFP 2011 Graduation Dinner, Montjuïc El Xalet.
The IFP 2011, IESE Business School, University of Navarra saw 41 participants from 26 different countries gather in Barcelona for three weeks of intense studies for executive management faculty.

Photo: JE Nilsson and C M Cordeiro-Nilsson © 2011

The last day of the the International Faculty Program (IFP) at the IESE Business School in Barcelona saw the Class of IFP 2011 gathered for a farewell dinner at Montjuïc El Xalet, a restaurant with a picturesque view of the city of Barcelona!

For three weeks I enjoyed the company of some of the world’s most interesting academics and professionals, from more than 26 countries across the globe.

The Class of IFP 2011 had a broad variety of backgrounds even if the syllabus of the program was specifically designed for faculty members of business schools. The course had a distinct focus of IESE’s brand of case studies as a method of teaching and learning in higher education, in particular with MBAs and EMBAs. The lectures and sessions with various cases proved highly motivating and made for numerous memorable learning experiences.

While I understand that a course like this might not be everyone’s ‘cherry on the cake’, I found myself feeling quite at home in the city for a first time visit, reveling in the entire experience of dining on Catalonian food, to meeting with international faculty in an Opus Dei institution. A small but perhaps personally significant detail of my three weeks in Barcelona was that every morning on my way to IESE, I found myself walking past the Monestir de Pedralbes, a monastery run by Franciscan Sisters of the Order of Saint Clare. I even remember my father once introducing me to some Franciscan Sisters in Singapore, in part suggestion that I might find my vocation with them. At IESE, a small chapel sits right next to the lecture hall where the IFP 2011 took place, just as how I when I grew up in CHIJ in Singapore, being a student of the school, I had access to the small school’s chapel at any time of the day for quiet and reflection. Both chapels incidentally, had wood panelled interiors that ran the length of the ceiling from entrance to altar. So in many ways, being at IESE felt like home to me.

This program, including my overall heartwarming stay in Barcelona, concluded on the terrace of Montjuëc El Xalet, overlooking the city of Barcelona at the Mediterranean coast, where the few high buildings like La Sagrada Familia, the Medieval Cathedral in Barri Gotic and the Arts Hotel, stood out as occasional exclamation marks after a few statements on the past and present story of this city.

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The evening’s event at the restaurant, from the casual mingle of guests to the warm rush of the kitchen, unfold in the pictures below, where the stunning panoramic view of the city from early evening, transforms and gives itself new contours in new light as the dark of night takes over.

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Indoor seating that doesn’t lack a splendid view of the city.

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El Xalet de Montjuïc, terrace
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The group was seated at the restaurant’s terrace, that offers all guests a fantastic view over the city of Barcelona!

Most inviting and beckoning were the red cushioned sofas on the terrace, where we quickly made ourselves at home with the time we had to ourselves just slightly before dinner.

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Segura Viudas Vina Heredad Blanco 2010, a young and fruity white wine for the evening, just needed to be served cold.

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Food and behind the scene
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The excitement of our group was met with a different excitement and flurry of activities behind the scene, in the kitchen of the restaurant. Barcelona, in all its warmth, treated me the same here as everywhere else when I asked to visit the kitchen. Without hesitation, I was pulled in to join the flamenco of the kitchen and shown around by the Chef de Cuisine José Antonio Gallardo.

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Prawn and tomatoes.

Last evening drawing into the night

It seemed like the pinks and purples of dusk opened a new segment of the evening’s events, when the crowd mellowed and the city beyond, came to life with new contours in a smattering glitter of lights!

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Farewell Barcelona and to the Class of IFP 2011 at the IESE Business School, University of Navarra!

To enjoy the lectures of so many world class specialists in executive management education, all associated to the IESE Business School at the University of Navarra while being submersed in the city’s culture, enveloped by the congenial setting of the arts and history of Barcelona, turned every day there into an adventure. I felt looked after and loved by the very city itself, so much so that even when I occasionally found myself on the wrong bus intending to go back to my hotel, it felt like Barcelona first just had something new it wanted to share with me, or for me to somehow rediscover.

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Chocolate Mousse Cake – irresistible!

It’s been delightful, and a great pleasure to have met with the individuals that were my course fellows and faculty at the IFP 2011. A heartfelt Thank You to All of You who made this event possible and spectacular!

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