IESE Spain MBA Interview

Besides the good old recipe for success of great GMAT + fantastic GPA at a great school + strong work experience, IESE is building a name for itself in the area of Entrepreneurship. So it is a particularly good destination for candidates who either come from or intend to go into entrepreneurship (family business counts too!).

Also, given that the school is an initiative of the Catholic Church’s Opus Dei, it should come as no surprise that IESE considers ethics to be a fundamental part of the business school studies and experience. So if you can work that into your overall profile in some way, that’s gonna help you show your fit with IESE in a very strong (and organic!) way.

IESE also likes students who are well-rounded, who have lives and interests that extend beyond their work experience. What instruments can you play? Were you ever a pro sports player? Show a bit of general culture and diversity and it can go a long way.

Leadership, and especially international leadership is also highly regarded, although not a necessary prerequisite like it might be at schools like INSEAD, LBS, etc.

IESE in general has 1 interview which lasts for an hour but sometimes it invites candidates to the Assessment Day in Spain or Singapore. Assessment Day is a day long event where the candidate is given 3-4 minutes to introduce him/herself and then is required to work with a team of 6-8 other candidates on a case, the solution of which is required to be presented in the end by the team.

Frequently Asked Interview Questions

Tell me about yourself?
Tell me about your greatest professional/Personal achievement?
Tell me about a time when you failed?

Why MBA?
Why IESE? 

Which other schools have you applied to? Which one will you choose and why?
What is your short-term goal after MBA or 5-year goal? What is your long-term goal?
How can you add value to our class? Why should we select you and not anyone else?
Do you have any questions for us/me?

Other areas touched upon are – Situational questions, Behavioral questions, Cross questions based on your answers

Interview Transcript - 1

  1. Tell us something about yourself.
  2. Describe your school life.
  3. How would your friends describe you?
  4. Explain to me the nature of your job and how many people do you manage?
  5. Mention your experience of working in teams. Have you ever dealt with a person who was difficult to work with?
  6. List some of your weaknesses? Tell me about a time when you failed at something.
  7. Tell me one instance when you used a contact from your network to get a task/project done.
  8. Tell us once instance when you disagreed with your supervisor? How did you resolve it?
  9. What are your short term and long term goals ? Which companies would you like to work with post-MBA?
  10. Do you find yourself taking initiatives and leading groups?
  11. How will you finance your MBA, if you don’t get a scholarship?
  12. What are the other schools you have applied to? Will you join IESE if offered a seat?
  13. What excites you most about IESE?
  14. Name three firms you would like to work for after the MBA.

Interview Transcript - 2

After submitting my application for the March deadline (round 7), I received an invitation to interview within a week. I interviewed with an adcom member at a hotel in London. My interviewer offered me coffee, explained that the interview would be fairly conversational, and began. Questions included:

  1. Describe your childhood until the beginning of university. What was your greatest achievement during this time?
  2. Why did you choose your university?
  3. Describe your undergraduate experience
  4. Describe your employment history
  5. Why an MBA? Why now?
  6. Why IESE?
  7. What other schools have you applied to?
  8. What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
  9. Name three firms you’d like to work for after the MBA.
  10. Have you visited the campus? Have you spoken with any alumni?
  11. Describe a situation where you used your network to achieve something.
  12. Is there anything else you’d like the Adcom to know about you?
  13. Summarise yourself in a single sentence (my answer was written down verbatim).

After this she asked me if I had any questions. Overall the interview was very relaxed, the interviewer was super friendly, and I enjoyed the whole process. The only challenge I received was when I admitted I hadn’t visited the campus and wasn’t planning to due to my work schedule – my interviewer suggested this would be a stumbling block and strongly encouraged me to attend an assessment day or at least organise an informal visit to Barcelona. The whole thing lasted a little over an hour.


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Interview Transcript - 3

The interview lasted for an hour. Questions were asked from all my spheres of life and general awareness about world economy, globalization and work experience. The interviewer really made me feel comfortable, which made the environment of the interview relaxed. It’s important to be relaxed during an interview. They just want to know more about you as a person and your thoughts behind doing MBA and its fit with your long-term goals of career.

Interview Transcript - 4

It is quite formal. I got the interview with Patrik Wallen in his office. The interview was supposed to last 60 minutes but I stayed for 90 minutes. He had my complete application file (resume, essays, etc…) with him.

First, we introduced each other and then we talked about my education, my profesionnal career, my current job and why I wanted to do an MBA at IESE (my motivation, my goals, why IESE,…). Try to prepare this part to the perfection because I think that this question will arise with every interviewer. You have to convince him that you are the right person for that.
Then he wanted to know how I react to different situation such as a conflict with my boss or a college/a problem in my current job/…This part is a little bit tricky as it is not very easy to be prepared. IESE has a strong human approach that you won’t find in other schools so I suggest to consider the “human” factor in your answers.
Finally, at the end of the interview, make sure to have some questions to ask. It will be very weird if you have nothing to ask.
In conclusion, my advices are :
1) Be prepared to talk about yourself (education, career, etc…);
2) Be sure to know why you want to come to IESE and not to the another business schools;
3) Stay relax and be yourself 🙂 it sounds a little cheesy but I think that is really important  😀

For the AD, it is quite formal as well.
First, you have to do a brief presentation of yourself in 2-3 minutes and explain an unique thing about you.
Then, you’ll be working on a case study in a group of 6-8 people. At the end, you have to do a presentation of your work with your group. There is no “right” answer to the case study, whatever the path that your group might choose, be convincing!!!
My best advice for the AD is to stay focus all day even though it is long and exhausting. The Adcom members will observe the students all day so try to give a good impression. Be open and don’t be shy.

Good luck everyone  🙂


Frequently asked Situational and Behavioural interview questions

Practise Now

Interview Transcript - 5

Hi ctre,

I just had my interview last wednesday, and the questions were pretty much the same as what you would google (IESE personal interview questions)

Really revolves around this:

Describe your childhood until the beginning of university. What was your greatest achievement during this time?

Why did you choose your university?

Describe your undergraduate experience

Describe your employment history

Why an MBA? Why now?


What other schools have you applied to?

What are your short-term and long-term career goals?

Name three firms you’d like to work for after the MBA.

Have you visited the campus? Have you spoken with any alumni?

Describe a situation where you used your network to achieve something.

Is there anything else you’d like the Adcom to know about you?

also, What value can you bring to the school?

and, since you’ll be with teams throughout your first year stay, what role do you see yourself playing in the team?

My interview was through a videocall and it was a very very light and casual conversation.

Just be yourself during the interview. Im sure they can tell whether or not you really want to be admitted into the school or not

PS, just got invited to the AD in singapore on the 29th of Nov. Who’ll be there?

Interview Transcript - 6

Interviewer: Itziar De Ros

Location: NYC

Time: 4pm

I was schedule for 4pm with Jessica Smith but perhaps due to changes in schedules/availability Itziar-admissions director- interviewed me. (be prepared for such things in case you research on your interviewer beforehand and someone else shows up)

She introduced herself, gave a brief background and opened up the interview:

– Tell me about yourself

– Walk me through your choice of school, career path and experience

– Why MBA

– Why IESE

– How are you planning to achieve your short-term long term goal?

– what other schools have you applied to?

– Leadership situation

– manage conflict situation

– deliver bad news situation

– how do you plan to finance your education

– What do you like to do outside work/hobbies etc.

Although these look less number of questions but there were continual follow-ups throughout.

I did not experience anything unexpected except the way the questions were structured sometimes could be tricky and not straightforward as “tell me about yourself” etc. So I strongly advice all of you to direct your interviewer to the questions you want to be asked and lead the conversation. (start off with whatever being asked but end with something that naturally prompts the interviewer for the next question)

Overall, I think it went OK for me. I did not get a good read of the interviewer. I didn’t connect with her completely nor was she disengaged. I would rate my performance as mediocre since I stumbled through a couple of follow up questions.

Regardless, looking forward to the assessment day!

Interview Transcript - 7

1.tell me about your childhood & who influences you a lot?

2.why did you choose your major in university?

3.what kind of activity or club you join after work?

4.biggest challenge

5.leadership experience

6.use 4 words to describe yourself

7.teamwork experience

8.use 1 min to introduce yourself to the adcom about your cross cultural experience

10.your biggest weakness that you can never win others

11.why MBA / why now / why IESE do you finance yourself

13.long term & short term goal

14.Name 3 companies you want to work after MBA

15.What if you are not admitted? do you define success?

17.What do you believe in your life?

18.Any questions?

I’m in Korea to do F2F and just finish it. Hope someone will fly to Singapore

as well and we can have a meet. My adcom is Dongmei Song. I haven’t received the assessment day email.

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