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oikos Alumnus Jordi Gabriel: “More Than Just A Stipend”

Alumni Portrait of the Month November: Jordi Vives i Gabriel, oikos PhD Fellow 2012-2014

“On September 20th 2016 I defended my PhD dissertation at the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland), a milestone I could not have achieved without the support of the oikos PhD Fellowship.

Five years and three days before this date, I had landed in St Gallen with just enough savings to survive for a few months in expensive Switzerland. My luggage was filled with tons of determination to get myself through a demanding PhD. I had been a teaching assistant for business and sustainability courses at Esade Business School for two years. I enjoyed researching on the moral responsibilities of corporations, specifically those connected to human rights issues. I knew a PhD was the right path forward for me. Though, honestly, I didn’t know where to start, or whether I would ever finish.

The first months passed quickly and my savings evaporated equally fast. I had heard, through a friend of mine, about the oikos PhD fellowship. oikos, a student based organization with the mission to introduce a sustainability perspective into the curriculum of management and economics education? I didn’t think twice, that was for me. I applied.

I was lucky enough to be awarded with the fellowship. The moment I was notified I knew I would get my PhD. What I was not aware of at that point was that the oikos Fellowship was way more than just an economic stipend. At oikos, I was in charge of the oikos Case Writing Competition, a pioneering and prestigious competition on cases connecting management and sustainability issues to be used in the classroom. My involvement in oikos projects provided me with an impressive network of scholarly contacts, as well as exposure to innovative topics and teaching methodologies. And more importantly, I was part of an organization with a meaningful mission; one I believed was just and more urgent than ever.

A few weeks ago then, I defended my dissertation. I had a feeling of accomplishment after a long and not always easy road. Above all, though, a feeling of gratefulness took me over instantly: the support, the opportunities granted, and specially the accompaniment of many oikos members from whom I learned so much. Now it is time to think about next steps. I am not certain of what the future holds for me, but I am convinced that what I took with me from my time at oikos will, for a long time, nurture my enthusiasm to keep building a better and more sustainable world.”