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IESE, Spain MBA – Introduction

Based in Barcelona but with outposts in Madrid, Munich, New York, and São Paulo, IESE also has a global outlook. In its last MBA class, 76% of the 293 students were non-Spanish, hailing from 55 countries. Of those, 31% came from elsewhere in Europe, 29% from Asia-Pacific, 17% from North America, and 16% from South America.

At 19 months, IESE’s MBA gives students ample time to explore their subject. The first three terms teach Foundations for Effective Leadership, followed by summer corporate internship and entrepreneurial experiences. It’s all topped off in terms four and five with the Consolidate Transformation section, which helps students to broaden their horizons.

This can involve Overseas Modules of up to four weeks in Sâo Paulo, New York, Shanghai or Nairobi, and up to a whole term in one of IESE’s 30 exchange partner schools. Students can take part in the Africa Initiative, part of IESE’s attempt to improve business education in Africa, where it has helped to establish business schools in Nigeria, Kenya, Ivory Coast, and Angola, or help to run the large and well-established Doing Good Doing Well conference.

Students choose from 100 electives, around 20 of which have been added in the past five years, often after consultation with students. Alongside conventional options, there is a chance to take even more business ethics courses, along with unusual subjects like Stress Management and Well Being. IESE also offers students the chance to learn or improve their Spanish, up to the level where some take a bilingual MBA. For more details Click Here …

IESE Spain MBA Class Profile

Class Profile Summary
Class Size 356
Average GMAT Score 681
Average Work Experience (yrs.) 6 years
Average Age (yrs.) 30 years
Employment Summary
Average Salary $86,282
Average Bonus $24,655
% placed within 3 months 94%
Tuition Fees Summary
Total Tuition $89,950
Living Cost $ 28,500
Total Cost $ 118,450

IESE MBA Class Profile 2022 (Click Here)

Deadlines Applications
Round 1 13 Oct 2021
Round 2 07 Jan 2022
Round 3 21 Mar 2022
Round 4 09 May 2022

IESE Spain MBA Application Essay tips


Essay 1: If you had to come up with a motto for your life, what would it be and why? Please give an example of how you have demonstrated it. (word limit 300 max)

Identify two or three values that you hold in high regard. Please keep away from things such as hardworking, determined, good-old-school-kid themes. Instead talk of your passion for certain hobbies or you can pick values of social and communal importance such as environmental consciousness, veganism, gender equality, education for underprivileged etc. Then illustrate these values using supporting examples. Start jotting down all the successful experiences you had in life – big or small – whatever you think are significant achievements of your life. Most people fall back to professional experiences but it is strongly advised to go beyond professional stories. It may be easier to bucket and think across three areas – professional, extra-curriculars, personal. Pick one example that resonates with the values you have identified. Craft the value into a one line motto of less than 8 words if possible

Once you have these examples, an easy method to illustrate them is the STAR methodology. Situation → Task → Action → Result.

Start with describing the situation at hand to give a background to the reader. Explain what was expected out of you to do and the consequence of the task. Explain how these intrinsic values drove you to take up this activity or do certain actions. It is important to show what the outcome of the action was and what are the results that you obtained. Conclude by showing how this value will continue to drive you and guide you in the future.

Essay 2: Describe your short and medium term post-MBA goals? How will the IESE MBA help you achieve them? (word limit 300 max)

Quick essay Tips – To write career essays for IESE MBA program, a very simple structure to follow is

Explain your current position and work experience → 2. State your short and long term goals → 3. Skillsets you have acquired throughout your career so far → 4. Explain what you currently lack to attain your short and long term goal → 5. Show how an MBA from school like IESE can help you bridge the gap in your skills to achieve your short term goal. 

Detailed Essay writing Tips – The best and an easy approach to write this IESE application essay is to break it into two parts:

  • First Half – explain “what are your goals and why you need an MBA”
  • Second Half – establish ”Why or how the IESE MBA program is the perfect fit for you?”

First Half – Goals and why MBA?

Start with a strong introductory paragraph on who you are and what are your desired goals from an MBA.

Eg: “I am an engineer with four years of experience in the IT sector leading projects for clients across multiple countries. In the short term i want to transition from a software developer role to a product manager role” 

For the main body, start on a strong note, show what skills you already have. B-schools in general prefer to see strong academic track record, progress in professional career, client management exposure, leadership and international experiences. Highlight some of your key achievements with numbers or awards that you may have received. Show your outstanding performance via the promotions or opportunities to lead or international deputation.

After establishing the strengths of your profile, move on to show how the limitation of your current role and skills are hindering your future career progress or desired transitions. Establish the need for upskilling yourself which can only be done via an MBA at this stage of your career. Talk about how an MBA can enhance your business acumen, leadership skills, soft skills for communication and presentation or provide you the network to grow your career or business.

This sets the context for your “Why MBA” argument. The first half of the essay explains what you already have and what you lack to grow in your career. Lastly how an MBA can unlock opportunities for you to grow. 

Second Half – Why IESE MBA?

To answer the – “why IESE MBA” part of the essay, build your argument on 3-4 points which helps you fulfill the gaps in your skill set and achieve your goals. Reasons to choose the IESE MBA program should align with your reason to do an MBA as mentioned in the first half of the essay.

Ensure your reasons portray a holistic approach to how you intend to gain/upskill from the MBA program. An easy way to structure can be to break it down across three buckets –

  • Inside the class – what excites you the most about the IESE MBA program in regards to the academic curriculum? Is it a particular specialization? Range of Electives? Quality of Professor?  Feel free to name drop a few.
  • Outside the class – outside of the academics, how do you plan to make the most of the opportunities available at IESE? Clubs? Networking event? International exchanges? Leadership seminar? Speak with Alum, current students and find specifics which perfectly aligns with your needs to achieve your goals in a particular industry or function.
  • Outside of campus – show how the overall school brand, alumni network which you would carry and be a part of long after your campus stint can help you build a successful career in the long term.

Closing argument

Summarize your entire essay in 3-4 lines and confidently portray how you believe the IESE MBA program is the perfect next step or logical step for you to achieve your career goals and how you would be a great fit and valuable addition to the class if selected.

For IESE MBA essay samples, you can also read some of the great essays written by our clients here on the sample essays page.

Optional Essay: What would you like to highlight about yourself or your journey which may have not been captured in your application? (word limit 300 max)Use the optional essays only for specific reasons. If you have a career gap or are currently unemployed or have a low GPA, only then consider explaining yourself in this essay. 

Additionally, you can also use this essay to explain your choice of the recommender. It may so happen that you do not want to tell your current employer of your MBA plans and hence sought recommendations from others. You can explain this to the admission committee if this is the case.

One common pitfall candidates do is to elaborate on certain extracurriculars that they have already mentioned in other parts of the application. Please do not use optional essays to repeat whatever is already described in your application or resume.

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