Rotman School of Management

Main Content

To stay competitive in a global market, innovate and pay attention to trends

Juan LopezJuan Lopez (GEMBA ’18) loves telling a good story.

Since cofounding Pipeline Studios with his brother and sister 10 years ago, he’s helped bring hundreds of stories to life by producing award-winning children shows, such as Backyardigans, Hotel Transylvania and Nina’s World.

“The art of storytelling is powerful,” Lopez explains. “What has kept us going is knowing that our content has an impact on kids. We’re helping shape healthy values.”

In recent years, he has also observed the numerous disruptions that are shaping the future of the media and entertainment industry. Online streaming services such as Netflix have changed the way audiences are consuming content. And social media platforms have also transformed how artists and studios can connect with viewers.

With these emerging trends in mind, Lopez realized that he needed to head back to school to equip himself with the tools to adapt to and face the changes ahead.

Making the program work for him

When it came time to select a business program that could offer him a solid foundation in management fundamentals and a global perspective of emerging business trends, the Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) program at the Rotman School of Management was a natural choice.

“My industry is global,” Lopez explained. “I needed a program with a strong international focus so that I could better understand the people and places I’d like to engage with in the future.”


“The program showed me how to connect with a complex business environment such as India and access a major player in the global market. Now I understand how to approach industries there about future business opportunities.”

-Juan Lopez (GEMBA ’18), President and Cofounder, Pipeline Studios Inc


With each residential module — so far he’s travelled to India, China, Europe and Latin America with his GEMBA classmates — he’s stayed behind so that he can advance partnerships and projects for Pipeline. And the efforts have paid off. Recently he came back from a module in India where he met with a local studio which resulted in a partnership to produce content together.

“The program showed me how to connect with a complex business environment such as India and access a major player in the global market. Now I understand how to approach industries there about future business opportunities,” he explains.

Being a better leader

In various other ways, Lopez is taking advantage of resources at Rotman and incorporating learnings from the classroom so that his company can begin a new chapter.

With insights from professors, he’s looking to develop a customized communications system at Pipeline, which would allow the team to refine their creative process and identify new opportunities to innovate. He was particularly inspired by the innovation program led by Professor Hitendra Patel, which involves applying a specific model that drives information sharing, ideation and implementation.


“I’ve learned that you need to be flexible. A great leader empowers people to come up with the solutions and take charge.”

-Juan Lopez (GEMBA ’18), President and Cofounder, Pipeline Studios Inc


In Lopez’s case, he’s hoping to incorporate more ‘bench time’ for his team.

“It’s a no-brainer, everyone is talking about innovation. Building in time to think up new ideas is how we are going to keep our business sustainable. It’s good to know a solid approach to driving innovation.” Lopez is also taking notes on how to become a better manager. A recent governance course with Professor David Beatty, really stuck with him.

“To be an effective leader, you need to build your mandate with your team. This means that you have to connect with people at all levels of your business,” says Lopez, who admits that he had a blind spot about managing teams when he first entered the program.

“I’ve learned that you need to be flexible. A great leader empowers people to come up with the solutions and take charge.”


Written by Rebecca Cheung | More Student Stories »

About Juan LopezGEMBA 2018

Hometown

Hometown

Medellin, Colombia

Class

Class year

GEMBA ’18

Industry

Industry

Media and Entertainment

Job Title

Current Position

President and Cofounder, Pipeline Studios Inc, Hamilton, ON

Previous Work Experience

Previous Employment

CFO, World Trade Alliance

Managing Director, CB Corp

Previous Education

Previous Education

Bachelor of Arts, (Economics and Finance), University of Western Sydney




Global Executive MBA - Learn More
© Rotman School of ManagementAASCB