ESADE is one of the leading business schools in Spain, and its MBA program is ranked among the top European MBA programs. ARINGO conducted a short interview with Judith Puigbò, Associate Director of Admissions and Recruitment At ESADE Business School, to learn more about the school and its programs:


Q: What is special about your MBA program? In addition to its’ excellent reputation, what differentiates it from other Top MBA programs?

  • Flexibility: 12-15-18 months (12 months core + electives or exchange or internship).
  • Tailor made your experience with CAPS (Career accelerator programs), Study Tours, Tracks, Electives Language courses, Student Clubs….
  • Number 1 in Diversity (according QS) and Number 1 for Women in Business (according Financial Times).
  • Boutique size (180 students per year with 50 nationalities represented.
  • Located in Barcelona, European city with great quality of life, amazing architecture, food and weather, with a very dynamic start-up hub and living cost cheaper than other MBA hubs. Connected geographically with Europe and culturally with Latam (Spanish courses are offered in the program).
  • DNA of the schools: collaborative mindset, entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Motto: Do Good Do Better (we don’t want to educate the best managers of the world we want the best managers for the world).


Q: Are there any recent changes in the programs or in the admission process?

A: Regarding admission process: as an alternative to GMAT or GRE we are offering an online test.

Regarding next intake: we delayed from September to October and there will be even a second possible entrance in January.


Q: Has the COVID-19 situation have an impact on getting accepted to the programs at your school? Is there any other impact candidates should be aware of?

ANo admission process and admission criteria is exactly the same (only change as I mentioned before is that we are offering and online test alternative to GMAT or GRE


Q: Can you share some details about the atmosphere in the school? Amongst the students? Between students and faculty? How do students spend their free time?

ACampus life is very relaxed in the sense that you can feel the collaborative spirit, size of the class is quite boutique with 180 students divided in 3 sections (60 students per section) so its bog enough to have huge diversity but at the same time small enough to have the feeling that we are a big family.

Our campus is in Sant Cugat a small city 12 km away from Barcelona (but you can easily commute by metro) so students typically live in Barcelona (not in Sant Cugat).

Barcelona is a city with plenty of cultural options (you can choose among plenty of art museums, architectural gems, all style music concerts, sports activities, amazing gastronomy and much more) and near Barcelona there are plenty of places to visit if you like the sea, the mountain or the countryside. 2 hours from Barcelona you can sky in Andorra or swim in beautiful Costa Brava or take a low cost flight and visit many European cities in a 2 hour flight.

In any case I think it would be better to ask this directly to an alumni or current student so I would suggest candidates to check in our MBA web the Unibuddy section where you can contact any of the students appearing in the list or contact with Admissions at ESADE and your Advisor can connect you with a current student.


Q: Can you share some details about the area the school is located in?

AAs mentioned just above our campus is in Sant Cugat city it’s a small green city very family oriented (with nice parcs and good private schools) I would consider living in Sant Cugat if you come with spouse and kids if not I would suggest living in Barcelona its only 12km away and very easily commuted by metro.


Q: Can you share some details regarding job opportunities and summer internships for students in your school?

A: We have a Career Services department aiming to help all our MBA student to relocate after their MBA. That is why the offer optional Career Acceleration Programs for some of the typical industries more demanded (Consultancy, Banking, Technology and Healthcare). Career services are always very available they have a weekly hotspot, you can pop up in their office without previous appointment they will be always happy to support improving your CV, Linkedin profile, targeting the right companies, etc. They also organize 2 important career fairs per year with recruiters coming on campus. Internships are available if you want to extend the program 3 months.


Q: What is it that you are looking for in a candidate? Who will especially enjoy this school? who will be a good fit to the school?

A: I would say one third is your background (GPA, professional experience, international exposure, etc. you can highlight it but you can’t change it. Another third is your test score (GMAT, GRE or now ESADE test) that is something you can improve now (so if someone has a low GPA you can improve that through a high test score that is the positive side of this test and because its really the only objective data of the whole process. And the last third probably the most important: personal fit (values aligned with ESADE values its important for us).


Q: One most important piece of advice for an applicant based on your experience?

A: During your benchmark process its fine if you don’t know much about the school but once you are applying to your short-listed school make sure you did your homework and you really know where are you applying. I had to read some applications where you could guess it was a copy and paste from another application because they even forget to change the name of the school! Showing true motivation its important to make sure that the fit its on both sides.


Q:  What NOT to do in the admissions process?

A: Don’t pretend to be someone you are not be authentic and transparent this will be a long journey its better to be very transparent from the very beginning, be yourself! Don’t ask a consultant to write your essays, they can be very useful to help communicating your ideas on a proper way but its important to be very honest.


Q: GMAT and importance as a % of the candidacy? What is the minimum GMAT you are looking for?

A: As mentioned before it would be more or less one third of the decision criteria (but not the only one!) Professional background, international exposure, diversity you bring, motivation, expectations, personal fit etc. it can be even more relevant!

There is not exactly a minimum because its not the only criteria but average is 650 so of course the closest to the average the best (higher than average if scholarships are expected).


Q: Is there anything you’d like our candidates to know regarding the admissions process?

A: I would suggest to contact with admissions department of ESADE (or any other school you are applying)  before submitting the application for a pre-evaluation and for solving all questions you may have, we can also connect you with a current student, the more information you have before the fastest and easiest the application will be later.


Q: Can you tell us more about funding – scholarship/fellowship options in your school?

A: Regarding Financial Aid we offer:

Scholarships (20% in average) (GPA and GMAT are decision factors in this case)

Loans (for non European I recommend Prodigy Finance) (also check your local bank!)

More info here:


Q: Can you share some information about partners who are joining the student- Employment options for him/her? What are the visa requirements?

A: I would suggest to visit

Regarding Student Visa ESADE will help arranging it after enrollment.

After your MBA you will have a 12 month Search Job Visa.