In memory of Javier Rigau (Lic&MBA 01)

October 9, 2020 7:08 am

This has been a very sad summer for the Lic&MBA 01 graduating class. In late July, we received the fateful call: “Javi has died in a car crash.” We couldn’t believe it – the world’s most prudent person, killed in an accident. It couldn’t be true! But unfortunately, it was – one of those crushing, incomprehensible and deeply unfair tragedies of life. For many of us, Javi was more than a great friend; he was a role model – a special soul, the likes of which not everyone has the privilege of meeting. We consider ourselves fortunate to have known him for five years at Esade.

As children, some of us went to school with Javi at Sant Ignasi. Even then, he stood out as a brilliant student with clear objectives and respect for everyone. Somehow he always had time for everything, including sports and fun. During his school years, Javi taught us that excellence is fully compatible with human quality and that balance can be achieved by enjoying sports and sharing quality time with friends.

In 1996, we started our five-year business degree at the old Esade campus on Avinguda Pedralbes. Discreet, modest and hardworking, Javi graduated first in our class. He did so without showing off, without calling attention to himself and without sucking up. In short, he was beyond reproach. He excelled in the only way he knew how – through hard work, commitment, persistence and intelligence. Esade was a very important stage in Javi’s life, and not solely for educational reasons. It was there that he met María, the love of his life. They became inseparable and later married.

In his last year at Esade, Javi’s excellent academic record allowed him to spend three months on an exchange programme at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). What an amazing time: 22 years old, with the freedom to explore the West Coast of the United States. Besides studying, we travelled to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, surfed at Venice Beach and ate hamburgers at In-N-Out.

After finishing our studies, some of us found work in Madrid, where we shared a flat on Claudio Coello. We saw little of Javi in those days. On weekdays, he left for work early and came home late. On weekends, he would spend time with María. His work at Apax Partners, a venture capital firm, was very demanding. But despite the pressure, Javi was always in a good mood when we came home. Tired, but happy. Through hard work and self-motivation, he built a great career at Apax before being convinced to do an MBA at Harvard, where he spent two years. He made lifelong friends in Boston. From there, he moved to London, on assignment with Apax, before returning to his hometown of Barcelona. There, with other Esade and Apax alumni, he founded Abac Capital, where he was a senior partner. He went far, but those of us who knew him understood that nothing was handed to him on a silver platter. He earned his success on his own merit.

The values of Esade

Javi has always been a role model to everyone. He has had a great impact on many of us, helping us become better professionals and better people. He perfectly combined high standards with being a good person – qualities that don’t often go together. He was hardwired to live according to Esade’s values: integrity, respect and commitment to others. His way of improving society was to do a good job and discreetly help others. In this, he succeeded. This summer, Javi’s friends have shared their personal experiences and realised how profoundly he changed all of our lives, how he helped some of us professionally, how he helped others excel at sports, how he convinced some of us to follow in his footsteps at Harvard, how he acted as a role model to each and every one of us.

Javi devoted himself fully to his passions: family, work, friends and sports. He was crazy about María and their nine-year-old daughter, Martina. He was very proud – and rightly so. He threw himself into his work, as it was his way of changing the world. He was a good friend. He was one of those rare people who nobody ever had anything bad to say about, since nothing bad could be said about Javi. Although he was admired by many, he was humble. He never got a big head, despite having every reason to do so. As an athlete, he was competitive, outdoing himself every day and tackling ever more difficult challenges, even travelling the world to run marathons and Ironman races.

The Esade community has lost a great member. Although the world is a lesser place without this exceptional person, his influence will stay with us always. Thank you, Javi, for sharing your years with us, for allowing us to know you and for changing our lives.

Your friends from the Lic&MBA 01 graduating class