IESE Business School at the University of Navarra is one of a handful of the very best business schools in Europe. The school’s MBA program consistently ranks among the best in the world, and graduates have high praise for the school’s small and intimate MBA experience.
Classes at IESE employ the Harvard-originated case study method, which bases learning on actual management situations. Students and professors analyze and discuss hundreds of cases to devise and implement solutions to real business scenarios.
Entrepreneurship is a key element within the MBA program. A hallmark of the program is the second-year entrepreneurship course, in which students develop business plans and are eligible to present them to actual investors in order to receive seed money.
Round 1: 17 October 2017
Round 2: 09 January 2018
Round 3: 06 March 2018
Round 4: 24 April 2018
Decision 1: 15 December 2017
Decision 2: 23 March 2018
Decision 3: 04 May 2018
Decision 4: 01 June 2018
For those aspiring to join IESE, here is the Essay Topic Analysis for the IESE MBA essays of 2016-2017. Unlike last year, this year’s application only requires one 400-word essay, in addition to the usual optional essay (200 words). Let’s take a closer look at each prompt.
Please answer ONE (and only one) of the following two questions. (400 words)
- Please describe a time when you had an idea that had a positive impact.
- How do you develop yourself? What do you see as your development areas now?
In regards to option 1, adcoms are interested to know about your leadership potential and ability to make a substantial positive impact. Whether you choose to cull an example from your professional or personal life, it’s important to put the story in context before clearly outlining the actions you took and the results you achieved. The more detail you’re able to provide about your idea and subsequent role in achieving a positive outcome, the easier it will be for you to accurately demonstrate your leadership skills.
Another thing to keep in mind is that this essay lends itself nicely to showcasing your innovative spirit. For example, perhaps you designed a new process to streamline workflow that has since been fully adopted and implemented by your employer. In addition to mentioning the financial impact of this innovation for your firm’s balance sheet, you could also reference the lasting impact that it will have going forward.
Moving onto option 2, this can be considered a nuance of the typical “why MBA” question. Specifically, discussing the areas you need to develop lends itself to how the MBA would benefit your progress. In approaching this prompt, start by describing how you proactively took steps to improve your skills. It’s possible you reacted to feedback from a superior, or you recognized an opportunity to develop knowledge when you hit a roadblock in a recent assignment. The key is to not dwell on the weakness, but rather establish your actions and positive results. Then, you may account for where you still see room for growth and how you plan to address them in the future—particularly through an MBA at IESE. That said, in general, you should not introduce weaknesses in your application unless specifically asked to do so; hence, candidates should vet their experiences for option 1 before approaching option 2.
(Optional): I wish that the application had asked me…(200 word limit)
This question provides candidates a chance to briefly explore an important aspect of their candidacy not mentioned in their data forms, résumé, or other essay response. Unlike most optional essays, this is one that makes sense to complete in order to round out your application. For applicants from oversubscribed groups in the applicant pool, this essay could offer a great opportunity to truly stand out from the crowd by sharing an unusual hobby or an interesting anecdote. Potential topics could be a time you demonstrated leadership, ethical behavior, entrepreneurial spirit, or persuasion skills, as these are all topics that are often of interest to admissions committees. Whatever topic you select, it would be ideal to link this quality or fact to some element of your intended experience in the MBA program and/or future career.