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Spain: A Thriving Business Destination with Promising Growth Opportunities

What comes to mind when we think of Spain? For many, it’s images from the vibrant streets of Madrid, sultry flamenco dancing, and savoring a glass or two of Rioja wine. But there is so much more beneath the surface that you may not expect. There’s much to discover, from globally successful soccer teams to renowned cuisine. Moreover, Spain’s excellent infrastructure, well-educated workforce, large domestic market, access to the European Common Market, and leadership on renewable energy make it an appealing destination for our university partners for their business immersion programs.

Let’s explore the unique facets of the Spanish industries! 

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MAIN INDUSTRIES

Automotive

Spain's Automotive Industry is a driving force for economic growth.

Spain’s automotive industry is considered one of Europe’s largest and most innovative. It is the eighth-largest producer of vehicles and the second-largest car exporter in the continent after Germany, with production exceeding 2.8 million vehicles, accounting for more than 10% of the country’s GDP in recent years. Its growth is attributed to the effective collaboration between the government, industry, and academic sectors to increase competitiveness and productivity, boost R&D and innovation, and train future professionals within the field. 

Renewable Energy

The Rise of Spain's Renewable Energy Industry: A Tale of Innovation and Success

It is no secret that Spain has been at the forefront of renewable energy innovation for several years. From wind turbines to solar panels, the country has successfully transformed its energy landscape and become a global leader in sustainable energy production. But what makes Spain’s renewable energy industry so successful, and what lessons can other countries and business students learn from its success? From government policy and investment to technological advances and industry collaboration, you will uncover the secrets behind Spain’s renewable energy revolution and what it means for the future of energy production during your academic travel program.

Tourism

Spain's Tourism Industry: A Lesson for Business Programs

Spain’s tourism industry is one of the most successful in the world, with a number of visitors annually that doubles its population. The country’s natural beauty, vibrant culture, and rich history attract millions of tourists annually. However, the success of Spain’s tourism industry is more than simply due to its natural assets. Instead, it resulted from careful planning, strategic investments, and a strong focus on customer satisfaction.

Spain’s tourism industry offers many valuable lessons for higher business students. It focuses on key pillars of quality, leveraging technology, fostering collaboration, and promoting sustainability. Studying Spain’s tourism industry will provide students with real-world business cases and learning outcomes that prepare them for successful careers.

Life Sciences

Spain's Life Sciences - A Thriving Industry

With a focus on research, innovation, and development, the industry is one of the most vibrant and crucial in the country. 

Spain’s life sciences industry is a diverse, dynamic, and broad field that encompasses a range of specializations, including biotechnology, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and genetics. 

From research and development to manufacturing and distribution, the life sciences industry offers a wide range of disciplines to learn about from engaging speakers across the value chain. This includes roles in finance, marketing, sales, project management, and many others that can provide business graduates with insights and networking opportunities into one of today’s fastest-growing industries that they can tie to their interests and skills as they think of their future careers.

Agri-food

Exploring Spain's Dynamic and Extensive Agri-food Industry

Spain is a major player in the global agri-food industry, which offers valuable insights into its economy and society. 

Spain’s agri-food industry can offer a global perspective on entrepreneurship, marketing, and innovation. Examining this sector during your global immersion allows students to gain valuable insights into today’s global economy’s changing trends and challenges.

Spain is the world’s fourth largest exporter of food and beverages, with a total export value of over €50 billion annually. Spanish agri-food products are known for their high quality, variety, and affordable prices, making them popular worldwide. Spain’s strategic location, favorable climate, and rich soils have enabled its agri-food industry to thrive, supporting sustainable farming practices and rural development. One of the key strengths of Spain’s agri-food industry is its diverse range of products, from fresh fruits and vegetables to cured ham and olive oil. Spain is the world’s largest producer of olive oil, with over 250 million olive trees in the countryside. There is no shortage of business opportunities, visits, and insights in this sector nationwide.

Sustainability

Spain leads the way in tackling climate change with its national plans, making it the first country in the EU to do so. This groundbreaking achievement is highlighted in the report “Planning for Net Zero Emissions 2019,” published by the European Climate Foundation.

quick facts

OUR FAVORITE CITIES TO VISIT IN SPAIN

Madrid

Our speakers and local industry partners in Madrid come from a diverse range of captivating industries and topics. From biotech and pharma to sports, retail, entrepreneurship, and small wine regions, we have experts who can share valuable insights. If you’d like to engage your students in fascinating discussions around the world of food, wine, and tourism, as well as the importance of talent in business success, then Madrid is the place for you!

In addition to our exploration of Madrid, we can embark on a day tour to beautiful destinations such as Toledo or Segovia. These charming cities offer historical and cultural delights and can also be combined with visits to notable plants and businesses.

Barcelona

Our knowledgeable speakers in Barcelona can guide you through dynamic discussions on various industries and topics such as Fintech, startups, entrepreneurship, marketing, technology, fashion, and even the world of wine, specifically Cava. Join us to explore these exciting subjects with our industry experts. 

Bilbao

Bilbao, located in the Basque Country of Spain, has five main featured industries that make it stand out:

  1. Co-Ops: Bilbao is known for its strong cooperative movement. The city has a long history of cooperative businesses, where workers own and operate enterprises collectively. This cooperative model promotes democratic decision-making and equitable distribution of profits, fostering a unique business culture in Bilbao.
  2. Wine: Bilbao and the surrounding Basque region have a burgeoning wine industry. The area produces unique wines, such as Txakoli, a crisp and slightly sparkling white wine. The wine scene in Bilbao offers opportunities for business students to explore the local wine culture, learn about winemaking techniques, and understand the marketing and distribution strategies.
  3. Entrepreneurship: Bilbao has witnessed significant growth in entrepreneurship and innovation in recent years. The city’s vibrant startup ecosystem and support networks provide valuable learning opportunities for business students. They can learn how entrepreneurs navigate challenges, access funding, and leverage resources to establish and grow their ventures.
  4. Port city: Bilbao has a thriving port that serves as a major economic driver for the region. The Port of Bilbao handles various types of cargo, including containers, bulk goods, and automobiles. Business students can gain insights into international trade, logistics, supply chain management, and the economic impact of a busy port on the local and regional economy.
  5. Energy: Bilbao is making strides in renewable energy and sustainability. The city promotes clean energy initiatives and hosts renewable energy generation and storage companies. Business students can learn about the business models, policies, and innovations driving the energy transition and explore the economic opportunities associated with sustainable practices.

SEVILLA

Seville, the capital of Andalusia in Spain, is known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and thriving economy. Here’s an overview of its unique characteristics and what business students can learn from its key industries:

  1. Fintech: Seville is emerging as a hub for fintech startups, with companies such as Aplázame and iAhorro based in the city. Business students can gain insights into how these companies leverage technology to disrupt traditional financial services, understand the regulatory environment, and learn about the challenges and opportunities in the fintech sector.
  2. Startup: The startup ecosystem in Seville is dynamic and diverse, spanning various sectors from technology to tourism. The city offers a supportive environment for start-ups, with initiatives like Sevilla Startup, providing resources and networking opportunities. Business students can learn about entrepreneurship, business model innovation, and the role of collaboration and networks in startup success.
    Seville’s entrepreneurial spirit is evident in its thriving small business sector and innovative startups. The city fosters entrepreneurship through various initiatives, including business incubators and accelerators. Students studying entrepreneurship can learn about the process of launching and growing a business, accessing capital, and navigating the business landscape in Spain.
  3. Renewable Energy: Seville is at the forefront of renewable energy in Spain, with innovative projects like the PS20 solar power plant. Students can explore the renewable energy industry, learn about different technologies, understand the policies driving the energy transition, and study renewable energy companies’ business models and strategies.
  4. Agriculture: Agriculture plays a significant role in Seville’s economy, with the region known for its olive oil, oranges, and other produce. Business students can gain insights into agricultural practices, supply chain management, and the economic impact of agriculture on the region.

By studying these industries in Seville, business students can gain practical knowledge and understand the unique challenges and opportunities in this vibrant Spanish city.

Experiential Learning

Our programs in Spain offer exciting opportunities for business consulting and hands-on learning experiences. Here’s why Spain stands out as a prime location for impactful applied learning engagements:

  • Professional structure and supportive environment for consulting work. Students can gain valuable experience working in a professional setting.
  • Extensive engagement and dependable partnerships: there are high levels of commitment and dependability throughout the projects and when partnering with universities. This guarantees a fruitful collaborative experience.
  • Access to executives: the in-person working culture allows students to connect with various company executives. This provides exceptional access to valuable industry insights and networking opportunities. 

However, it is important to note that Spain also has rigorous non-disclosure agreement (NDA) processes and high expectations for student deliverables. These expectations mirror real-world business conditions with real consequences, allowing students to develop crucial skills in a challenging environment.

BUSINESS CULTURE

Spain has a vibrant business culture, and adapting to it goes beyond taking long lunches. Pursuing a harmonious work-life balance in Spain is highly important, emphasizing incorporating humor even within professional interactions.
In this video, our local corporate partners cleverly incorporated those two essential elements as part of the briefing materials for their student consulting team on their business challenge.

Understanding and embracing local business customs can help establish successful relationships.

Every year, Spain attracts a multitude of holidaygoers seeking an unforgettable experience. However, it also offers a fascinating opportunity for business schools eager to expand their students’ horizons through cross-cultural learning. With its vibrant and evolving market, Spain stands out as a unique destination for educational exploration.