Meet The IESE MBA Class of 2017

Natasha Dare

Natasha Dara

IESE Business School

Hometown: Houston, Texas, USA

Undergraduate School and Major (Include Graduate School if Relevant): University of Texas at Austin – Bachelor’s and Master’s in Public Accounting

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: International Accounting Standards Board – Technical Associate; Assistant Technical Manager

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? Practice! Lots! For me, it was also good to get into the habit of solving for the closest answer in order to use the right methodology to get there, as opposed to solving for the exactly correct, 100% accurate answer, which is what I usually like to do. But there’s not time for that with the GMAT, so you have to use strategy to bring yourself to the closest, most sensible answer. Don’t lose sight of that strategy and the end goal. You don’t get extra credit for having the exact answer!

Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? Don’t box yourself in. But know what you want. Is that confusing enough? It’s a very exploratory process. You think you know the schools you want to go to, but as you do more research (online, with alumni, or at MBA fairs), you’ll learn which other schools have similar or maybe even better features. You won’t know it until you start researching because you’ll think ‘all of these top-notch schools must have very similar characteristics.’ But some have more diverse student bodies, while others have more international programs. And still others have both plus more. Once you know what your top few schools have to offer (and that list may change a few times in your research phase), you’ll be better able to weigh which aspects are more (or less) important to you and can narrow down your list. Also, being able to send your GMAT scores to only 5 schools for no extra charge makes you really think about who your most serious contenders are!

What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf? For recommendations, it’s obvious, but just make sure you’re on good terms with your employer (if that’s who you end up asking). Fill out all the mundane things on the application early. It will help you feel like you’re getting somewhere and the process won’t feel quite as overwhelming. For the essays, make notes. Start to construct bullet point lists to help you start thinking about how best to answer the essays by engineering them to include all the important points your school needs to know about you and your history (while still keeping those points relevant to the question at hand). Interviews are nerve-wracking, yes. Just try not to put your foot in your mouth! Say what you feel are the reasons you want to be at that school — tell them what you can provide to them and what you’ve discovered they have that will be best for you too.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? IESE had, for me, everything I wanted. A small, but diverse class, with 80% international students; short, international modules in various subjects; the opportunity to study abroad; the ability to be involved with non-academic groups, from learning about new industries to playing sports; the ability to learn more both about myself and my classmates; the chance to live in Barcelona, where I can improve my Spanish, both socially and professionally and possibly even earn a bilingual MBA; and activities that include partners of students, in order to make them feel part of the experience as well.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? An improvement in my Spanish, so that I can earn a bilingual degree; in-depth of knowledge that will be useful for all of my future endeavors; and a network not just of colleagues around the world, but friends with whom I shared this experience.