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Family Business Program

– Entrepreneurial Mindset for Future Leaders

Family business is a unique form of business and entrepreneurship. The definition of a family business may vary but the common denominator is the same, the passion for entrepreneurship and a strong legacy. Out of the oldest companies still operational in our time, several started out as family businesses and many still continue to be run by generation after generation. One could claim that family business is the original start-up.

The Family Business Program, co-created by Aalto University Executive Education and IE Business School, brings together family business professionals globally to gain insights into what the future will demand from a family venture. The program will equip participants with the tools and strategies to enable them to continue building on their legacy and successfully pass the baton to future generations. 

In six intensive contact days at two of Europe’s leading business centers, complemented with online learning, participants who complete this certificate program will gain the skills and tools they need to lead and grow a family venture. 

As a participant, you will be working in diverse groups throughout the program on a family business roadmap supported by our Academic Directors. 

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Discover and Challenge
Have the opportunity to join a unique collaboration program by two of Europe’s leading executive education universities, bringing together an international group of peers and world-class faculty.

All Eyes on the Future
Hone your skills to lead your family venture focusing on an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset.

Broaden your Horizons
Immerse yourself in the family business ecosystem by visiting diverse and successful family businesses in both Madrid and Helsinki.

Program Benefits

The Family Business Program will empower you with the tools and strategies to explore new business opportunities and adopt a mindset of innovation agility. The focus is on empowering new ideas and new ventures while always keeping in mind the core of family business strategy.

Understand the complex dynamics of families in business
Learn to rejuvenate the legacy by continuously renewing business opportunities
Adopt innovation agility as a mindset to enable growth and expansion
Bond with your peers from diverse industries from across the globe

IE Business School

Recognized as one of the leading educational institutions in the world, IE grants undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education degrees through their various schools: IE Business School, IE Law School, IE School of Architecture and Design, IE School of Human Sciences and Technology and IE School of International Relations.

IE trains leaders that promote innovation and change in organizations with a global focus and an entrepreneurial and humanistic spirit, providing a training environment where technologies and diversity play a key role. The institution has been recognized internationally for its use of online and blended training methodologies that transform the learning experience. Its faculty consist of more than 500 professors who lecture to students from 128 countries, generate knowledge, and develop research projects of social impact.
Founded in 1973, IE is home to students coming from Madrid, Segovia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Providence, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Cape Town, and Shanghai, among other cities. It has delegations in 28 countries and a network of more than 50,000 graduates in 165 countries, where managers with an international profile serve as ambassadors of the institution to the world.


Finnish Family Firms Association - Perheyritysten liitto

Finnish Family Firms Association - Perheyritysten liitto is a network for Finnish family businesses and for their current and future owners.


This program is for family business owners, board members, non-executive directors, next generation leaders, and top management of family businesses across all sectors. We recommend that participating organizations are represented in this program by both management and ownership. Family business is a unique form of entrepreneurship, but it is not immune to the rapidly changing business environment. Family enterprises need to start adopting new ways of working and creating the future for themselves by continuously building and renewing their business, governance, and brand. 

Future leaders in family businesses should develop an entrepreneurial orientation and find means and methods to enable growth through family commitment. Family businesses need a generation of leaders who are the ambassadors for creativity and innovation and embed this mindset in their organizations.  

Contents and Schedule

Participants will learn to use practical tools to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and create their enterprise’s future. The program will address questions like: How do you build on your current heritage? How can you be as innovative as a start-up? How do you look at business strategy with a new lens? What does creativity mean in a Family Business context? – all while embracing the complex dynamics of family businesses and navigating your way through the main challenges of families in business. 

We believe that entrepreneurship is a mindset and cannot be taught in the classroom alone. So we bring to you an experience, putting together a program with a focus on experiential learning and inspiration. 

The program will deliver a blended learning experience though face-to-face modules in Helsinki and Madrid, online sessions, and a Family Business Roadmap project. The powerful six face-to-face days in Madrid and Helsinki include diverse learning methodologies such as facilitated sessions and workshops with IE and Aalto professors, keynotes, guest speakers, cases, and discovery visits. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and network with family businesses from multiple countries and business cultures. Learning before and in-between modules is facilitated online.  

Program Structure

Six face-to-face days

Three face-to-face days are held in Madrid, IE campus, and three in Helsinki, Aalto EE premises.

Online session and webinars

The program opens with an online kick-off webinar facilitated by Aalto EE and IE. Between the two modules, participants will be supported by our teams with an online mentoring session for the Family Business Roadmap.

Family Business Roadmap

Work in diverse teams to explore a business opportunity and reflect on the challenges of pursuing this opportunity in the context of a family business.



Cristina Cruz Serrano

Cristina Cruz Serrano is Professor of Family Business at IE Business School and Director of IE Family Business Center. She holds a PhD in Economics and Quantitative Methods from Carlos III University, an Executive Development program in Family Business from IE Business School, a BA in International Economics from Manchester University and a degree in Economics from Murcia University.

Born into a family business, Professor Cruz dedicates most of her teaching and research to studying organizations in which a family group is present and has an influence in strategic decision making.

The results of her research have been published in leading international academic journals including the “Academy of Management Journal”, “Administrative Science Quarterly”, “Journal of Business Venturing” or “Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice”. In recognition of this research work, in 2010, IE Business School awarded Professor Cruz with the “Research Excellence Award”, granted to the school´s best researchers.

Professor Cruz brings the results of her research to the classroom, where she tries to establish the idea that there is a need to preserve and transmit the entrepreneurial spirit to future generations. In line with this underlying philosophy, inside her classroom the topic is not “Family Business” but “Entrepreneurial Families” and “Family Venturing”.  The difference is substantial since the main focus is not helping family business to survive, but creating responsible family owners and more entrepreneurial family managers.

In 2013, the prestigious business school social web site “Poets & Quants” included her in the “40 Best Business Shools professors under 40” list.

Rachida Justo

Rachida Justo is Professor of entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship at IE Business School. She holds a Ph.D in economics and development (cum laude) from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain.

Professor Rachida Justo’s interest lies in fields like women entrepreneurs or social enterprises. For Professor Justo, “human beings are very complex and I find it fascinating to analyze how one person can have different expectations.”

Rachida explores how entrepreneurs struggle to deal with important dilemmas, such as how to reconcile professional and family ambitions, how to create a business that successfully achieves the double bottom-line of economic performance and social value, or the implications of these aspirations in terms of firm performance and growth. These are some of the issues that Rachida addresses in her research, published in journals like Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research, the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business and the Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship.

She has received several awards, including the Best Women’s Entrepreneurship Paper Award from the Academy of Management Conference, and IE’s Best Teaching Case Award. Since 2002, Rachida has been a member of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, the largest single study of entrepreneurial activity in the world.

Pekka Mattila

Dr. Pekka Mattila serves as a Professor of Practice at the Aalto University School of Business. He works frequently with European, Asian, African and North-American executive audiences on themes of strategic management and agility, strategy co-creation, business model innovation, executive leadership, top team dynamics, change management, organizational culture and strategic marketing.

Since spring 2011 he has served as the Group Managing Director and Associate Dean of Aalto University Executive Education.

In addition to his academic activities Dr. Mattila has conducted an active business career. Currently he serves as the Chairman of the Board or as a Member of the Board at a number of innovative companies. Previously he served in executive, management and senior staff positions in the Nordic financial services industry. Currently he serves as a Member of the Board of The Finnish National Gallery. From 2009 till 2017 he served as the Chairman of the Board of the Helsinki Festival. He is a Founding Member of Nordic Institute of Business and Society.

Dr. Mattila holds a doctorate and masters in sociology at the University of Helsinki and an Executive MBA at London Business School. Over the years, he has frequently visited a number of prestigious European and Asian universities teaching management, organizational behaviour, marketing and sociology. Dr. Mattila has authored a number of managerial books on leadership, change management and strategic marketing and sales.

Dr. Mattila’s consulting and coaching career started in 2003, and his corporate clients comprise over 280 Nordic and international companies, entrepreneurial ventures as well as prominent public sector institutions and NGOs.

Ricardo Perez

Ricardo Pérez is a Professor of Information Systems at IE. He has combined an extensive professional career with one of deep research into the field of new technologies. This dual profile, coupled with fifteen years of experience, has made him a recognized authority in the rapid evolution of the sector. 

During the early years of interne, he studied leading Spanish start-ups such as Olé, Barrabes, Teknoland, Netjuice, and served as consultant for companies like Telefónica, Telefónica Data, Microsoft, HP, CECA or the Norwegian Bank Association.

Professor Pérez maintains close relations with counterparts at the University of New York, Carnegie Mellon and MIT. He wants to see how companies use technology to relate among themselves and thus foresee the changes that these relations will undergo as new technological architectures emerge. 

This local approach to an international scenario from a business perspective rather than a technological one, is the DNA of Professor Pérez’s research activity. He is also using his experience at MIT to the full to develop a doctoral program in information systems for companies, at the Escuela Superior de Ingenieros Industriales de la Universidad de Madrid.

Fabian Sepulveda

Fabian Sepulveda is a Senior Advisor at Aalto University Executive Education. He is actively involved in Finland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem as a startup coach and Lean Launchpad® trainer, and helps organizations understand and execute Lean Startup methodologies and customer development.

Sepulveda has more than 20 years of experience in engineering, management consulting and investment banking at companies such as Lucent Technologies, A.T. Kearney, and J.P. Morgan.

He teaches Venture Formation and other courses at the Aalto Ventures Program and Aalto University Executive Education. He cofounded eyescubed, a startup in automotive technology, and also cofounded Courage Ventures Advisory, which provides entrepreneurship training and development to leading private and public organizations. He is also a cofounding Partner of Courage Ventures Management, a fund investing in health & wellness, education, and environment verticals.

Sepulveda has a PhD in International Business (Entrepreneurship) from Aalto University, an MBA in Finance and Financial Management Services from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (Netherlands) and a BSc in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from North Carolina State University (USA).

Daniel Soriano

Daniel Soriano is Director of the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center and Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at IE Business School. He is the Professor and Mentor of Corporate Innovation Projects in Multinationals at Financial Times, IE Business School Corporate Learning Alliance. Additionally, he is member of an Investment Committee for a micro venture capital instrument at Caixa Capital Risc. He is trainer in Design Thinking and Lean Startup methodologies as well as Pitch Coach for start-ups for international investor forums.

Almost 20 years of professional experience at IE Business School has allowed him to stay in touch with the basics of the entrepreneurial process both academically and practically.

As Director of several leader competitions for innovative technology start-ups, he has been in touch with the experience-based entrepreneurial opportunity identification, feasibility analysis and fundraising. He has also been responsible for managing professional advisory services to new technology-based companies where he was able to identify the needs of newly established firms with a high technological component. On the academic level, he is a professor of Entrepreneurial Management at IE Business School MBA Programs, and also specific programs for technology-based entrepreneurs, aimed at both start-ups and to SMEs with growth projects.

He mentors intrapreneurship projects in large firms from different countries and sectors, such as banking, energy, insurance, media, distribution, construction, IT, pharma and retail.

Professor Soriano obtained the IE Business School MBA degree, he has a MSc in Economics and Innovation Management from UPM, UCM y UAM and studied Computer Science at UPM. He participated in the European Entrepreneurship Colloquium organized by European Forum for Entrepreneurship Research (EFER).

His interests are focused on start-ups, corporate innovation, venture capital and design thinking.

Eero Vaara

Eero Vaara is a Professor of Organization and Management at Aalto University School of Business, and he is also a permanent Visiting Professor at EMLYON Business School, France, and a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Lancaster University, UK.

Professor Vaara has a PhD in Economics from the Helsinki School of Economics and MSc degrees from Helsinki University of Technology and Helsinki School of Economics. Eero Vaara’s research interests focus on organizational, strategic and institutional change, strategic practices and processes, multinational corporations and globalization, and methodological and philosophical issues. He is generally regarded as one of the world’s leading scholars in postmerger integration. His research has been published in the very leading journals of the field, and he has authored several books. He is now serving as an Associate Editor of Academy of Management Journal. 

Program Fee and Registration

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