IESE Business School is the graduate business school of the University of Navarra. The school offers MBA, Executive MBA, Master in Management and Global Executive programs, as well as Master of Research in Management and a Ph.D. program. IESE has often ranked among the top 10 in the world. The school has campuses in Barcelona, Madrid, and New York City and teaching facilities in Munich and Sao Paulo. ARINGO conducted a short interview with Natalia Antip, Associate Director of Admissions, to learn more about the school and its MBA program:

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

A: What makes IESE unique is a combination of three characteristics, which only intersect in our program:

  1. The Case methodology: more than 85% of the classes in the IESE MBA are taught through the Case Methodology.
  2. The Internationality of the program – IESE has a very geographically diverse MBA intake: (23% Asia-Pacific, 23% rest of Europe (not Spain), 17% Spain, 16% US&Canada, 15% Latin America, 5% Middle-East Africa, 1% Sub-Saharan Africa.
  3. The humanistic approach to business: IESE’s mission is to develop leaders who strive to have a deep, positive and lasting impact on people, companies and society through professional excellence, integrity and a spirit of service. An example of how this translates practically is that in every case discussed in the classroom the students are being encouraged to consider the impact the decisions they are taking have on employees and communities.

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

A: We have introduced the 15 months option for students who are not interested in pursuing a summer internship and want a shorter program.

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?

A: We have received an increased number of applications this year. We foresee another increase in applications next year since usually MBA applications rise during economic crisis. This might cause more competitiveness to be accepted into the program.

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?

A: IESE MBAs have a whole campus to themselves, called South Campus in Barcelona. This makes our campus a space very conducive to strengthening the networking with peers from the two generations of MBA students (350 students each). Professors and staff use the same cafeteria, which makes it very easy to interact with Faculty, Career teams, etc. Between students, there is a very collaborative spirit and friendships have time to form and develop through the two years. While the first year is very academically heavy, students still carve out time to go out, play different sports like sailing and enjoy the beautiful beaches in Barcelona and Costa Brava.

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

A: The school in Barcelona, on a beautiful hill, with great views of the city and the sea.

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

A: We have a team of alumni in the Career Development Centre team, who did their MBA in IESE, then went on to work in a certain industry and came back to hold a role in this team. They each specialize in the industry they had their professional experience in. On one hand, they act as mentors and career coaches to the students and on the other, they do business development with companies from their sector. Students have access to jobs and internship all around the world (75% of full time employment are outside Spain). Here is the split per function for the post-MBA employment: 33% consulting, 17% Finance, 14% Sales&Marketing, 9% General Management, 8% Rotational program, 4% Operations and Logistics, 4% Product Management, 2% Corporate Strategy, 8% other.

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: We look for candidates who are not only great professionals, but also great people. IESE admissions team are IESE MBA alumni so whenever we engage with a candidate we always ask ourselves: Would this person bring a valuable contribution in class while discussing a case? Would I have liked to have this person in my MBA team?

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

A: Take the application process seriously and take this opportunity to self-reflect on your achievements so far as well as the direction where you want to take your career. The application process is part of the MBA experience itself and if you do it right, it will not only secure you a place in our program but it will also ensure that you are starting the MBA with the right focus.

Q:  What NOT to do in the admissions process?

A Don´t be a stranger. We want to guide you through your application process and answer doubts you might have. Remember, the Admissions Team are IESE MBA alumni so they were once in your shoes while applying for an MBA. They will be happy to disprove admissions myths and give you advice to make your application successful.

Q: Are later rounds worth considering?

A: Yes, it is worth applying in a later round because you have nothing to lose. If you are not admitted for this year, it is not considered as a negative element in your application for next year, but as a demonstration of continued interest in the school.

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

A: GMAT becomes very important if you have a non-analytical background or if you are applying for a scholarship. We do not have a minimum GMAT; we work with a holistic approach to each application.

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

A: Our school works with a local bank and with Prodigy for financing. Scholarships usually go from 15k to 45k euros.

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

A: IESE has a very well established and active Partners Club which help partners get settled in Barcelona and help them be an active member in IESE, through dedicated academic programs, conferences participation, etc. We facilitate a letter for partners to help them secure a VISA.