Little more than a decade ago, in 2002, the school was ranked 35th on The Financial Times’ global MBA list and ninth in Europe behind Italy’s SDA Bocconi, Britain’s Oxford and Cambridge, and Spain’s IESE. Six years later, IE cracked the top ten of the FT ranking, placing eighth worldwide and third in Europe behind only London Business School and INSEAD. Ever since, IE Business School has ranked as high as sixth and never lower than eighth place worldwide.
The rise can largely be attributed to a highly market-oriented strategy that caught some rivals by surprise. IE doesn’t play by the normal rules of academia. The school’s leadership is entrepreneurial and innovative, pioneering degrees and programs that meet the demands of the marketplace–not of tenured professors who despise change. The school was among the first in the world, for example, to offer an online MBA program.
As an institution founded by entrepreneurs, IE believes that business school should be a place for talented professionals to cultivate the entrepreneurial thinking needed to bring meaningful change to existing companies or new ventures. Therefore, IE offers students the chance to apply for admission to its own internal startup incubator, the Venture Lab, where students have a dedicated space to work and can get academic credit for creating their own businesses.
IE Winning Sample Essay - 1
As an MBA student at IE Business School, I would like to specialize in the Financial Technology industry (FinTech). I was first attracted to the world of financial technologies in 2008, in the days of the global financial crisis. I was a first-year student of mathematics, fascinated by the quantitative aspects of the crisis. I learned that the financial sector had used sophisticated tools without being able to measure the risk exposures derived from such activity, and that understanding how to use advanced models and technologies is critical to FinTech’s success. FinTech has made great strides in the last decade, but it still has a range of impending challenges to overcome.
The rapid development of the industry has introduced the need for regulation that preserves public, social and economic interests without discouraging investments. Fintech also faces the crucial challenge of securing its highly sensitive data. Providing more accessibility to information through digitization may maximize efficiency, but ultimately, it also increases vulnerability to security breaches. Such threats have already withheld automation of highly influential processes in other areas (for example, general elections are still handled manually), so mitigating threats is salient to FinTech’s future success.
While meeting the challenges of data security and regulation is vital, the challenge that I personally aim to address is risk management. Computerizing trading and services will require superior, tight-fitting risk management tools. Automated processes increase operations volume, thereby creating higher risks when there are errors. As such, FinTech enterprises must determine strict boundaries of risk exposures in order to define loss barriers, which are essential to successful long-term performance.
As a finance mathematician, I am steeped in the finance sector and equipped with the quantitative abilities to analyze and build tools for interpreting its complex data sets. For example, I built an algorithm that priced a complex derivative asset and provided information about risk exposures as a result of trading it. This model helped to choose correctly which assets should be bought in order to hedge the trading activity. Moreover, the skills I acquired as an operations researcher in the Israeli Navy, like data mining and extracting valuable information from data sets, lend themselves readily to risk management.
At IE, I hope to gain the management skills to achieve my short-term goal of building a career in mitigating risk exposures, first as a quantitative manager in a technology-driven enterprise such as IMC, where I will use my risk management experience to contribute to the firm’s efforts to create a controlled trading culture. Later, my goal is to found and manage a FinTech startup company. As entrepreneurship is a part of IE’s DNA, it is the best place to develop an innovative mindset and join a great network of professionals with audacity and vision. IE’s program will enable me to learn from entrepreneurs I admire, like Paris de L’Etraz, an entrepreneurship mentor with broad experience in raising funds and setting up new companies.
I believe that my future holds as much potential as Fintech itself. I am sure that earning an IE MBA can help me grow together with this exciting industry. I see FinTech eventually becoming the core of the financial industry as a whole. By implementing both the theoretical tools I’ve gained as a mathematician and my professional experience in the navy and FinTech, I believe my background, combined with world-class management tools gained at IE, will help me to make significant contributions to deal with the challenges that lay ahead in the financial technology sector.
I started singing at a young age, and my friends and family would ask me to sing for them a lot. At school, I used to sing at all the ceremonies and people would approach me afterward and thank me for the performance. I realized that singing not only made me feel great, but that it created positive feelings for those listening too. Being able to make others feel good through my talent built my confidence, brought me joy, and fueled my creativity. Singing even brought me my first opportunity to become a community leader.
Along with singing in folk groups since junior high, I had always been a member of the Scouts – a youth organization for social responsibility and volunteerism. At age 17, I participated in the Scouts – a national youth organization – and was selected to open a new troop in an economically disadvantaged area, typically associated with poverty and crime. My first challenge was to attract enough neighborhood kids to open the troop.
Having sung in choirs for years, I was aware of this activity’s ability to help develop discipline, teamwork, and consideration for others. I knew singing was fun and low cost – so kids with economic hardships could join easily without worrying about costs associated with other activities like football or basketball. I also knew that nothing draws a crowd like voices united in song. With that, I founded the neighborhood’s first-ever singing group.
Holding auditions stoked the kids’ competitive spirit and drove membership higher than I expected – to 30 members. I encouraged the kids to take the activity seriously by recruiting professional soundmen and musicians to accompany them for free. Through Israeli folk music, our troop learned Israel’s history and started forming a real bond with our country and the greater community. I could see their pride increasing as they brought their family members to watch our practices, and at their suggestion, we started giving performances at local retirement homes and daycares.
After winning the Scouts’ citywide competition against 11 other groups, our popularity exploded, and our group doubled in size. I even arranged for kids who were not Scout members to participate. We won our local singing competition and took third place in the city-wide competition. Our group even received recognition from the mayor.
The singing group is still active today and is one of the popular activities for Scouts in the area. For me, the singing group’s continuation is a testament to the power of sharing one’s passion.
IE Spain Application Essay Tips
This section is important in understanding who you are, not just as a student but also as a person in order to grasp the value that you could add to our program. Take this as an opportunity to showcase your unique attributes and personality. There are three formats you can choose to express yourself: a video (max. 3 minutes), a PowerPoint presentation (max. 10 slides), or a written essay (between 250-650 words). Please pay special attention to punctuation, structure and content.
What is the most important thing that you would like us to know that is not in your résumé or application?
Important advice on this Express Yourself section:
- Remember! It is more about the quality of the work than the quantity.
- For videos, we recommend to keep it around 2-3 minutes long and for presentations 10 slides or less. For written essays between 250-650 words maximum.
All of this “white space” might be daunting to some, but an easy way to approach this process is to ask oneself a few simple questions. What new and important information about yourself can you introduce to the adcom through this prompt? In terms of organization, are there separate topics to which you would like to devote a few slides each? Or would you prefer to create a sense of progression through a current activity, past experience, “day in the life,” etc.? We’re hesitant to provide too much guidance given the free-form nature of the task; the best advice we can offer is to think about who you are (and how this might be of interest to the IE adcom), consider how you could translate this into words and/or images, and then give it a try. Showing the initial result to someone who knows you well could be a great way to determine the effectiveness of a working draft.
As for medium, the video option and PowerPoint provide opportunities to make a vivid impression through visual communication. It also shows the admissions committee that one is willing to invest the time and effort to create something just for the IE application, underscoring one’s investment in gaining admission to the business school. Applicants whose leisure activities or workplace roles lend themselves well to film or design might do well to consider these options.
All of that said, while taking risks in the admissions process is often worthwhile, you don’t want to step so far out of your comfort zone that you ultimately don’t make a good impression (this seems especially possible for camera-shy applicants attempting the video option). Candidates choosing to submit an essay will want to use their words wisely to give the reader a sense of who they are and how they would enhance the IE community.