These are heady times to be part of the IE community. As Vicente noted, the school has recently undergone a curriculum revision. As part of the one-year MBA program, for example, students will receive greater training in “professional fitness.” Likened to athletic training, the weekly program is designed to boost students’ soft skills and help them plot out their professional development and career plans. IE has also added a three month post-MBA exchange program as well as offering students greater flexibility to customize their experience. However, other key benefits remain, including a course catalog that includes 150 electives, a strong case flavor in courses, and courses taught in both English and Spanish. And these gains were made under the backdrop of IE ranking second in student satisfaction among international schools in the newly-released Best Business School rankings from Bloomberg Businessweek.
And that wasn’t the only area where IE excelled. The school also ranked third in Bloomberg Businessweek’s alumni satisfaction survey, along with fourth in job placement and fifth in salaries. In fact, IE was one of only three schools (with IESE and the London Business School being the others) to rank in the Top 10 in four categories in the international rankings. More impressive, Forbes reported in September that IE grads enjoyed a $127,200 five-year gain in earnings after graduation.
However, it wasn’t the money that attracted students to Madrid. As you might expect, the entrepreneurship was high on the 2016 Class’ list. However, there were other factors at play for choosing IE, such as the benefits inherent to a strongly international class. “Its focus on diversity and the resulting make-up of the class, which hails from all corners of the globe, was a particularly exciting prospect,” says Paul Stables, an expat from the United Kingdom who plans to work with “different people in different locations around the world.”
Carol Lam, a Toronto native who worked in publishing and media, touted IE’s one-year format, which reduces her opportunity costs and enables her to return to work sooner. However, she adds that the school’s position in two key intersecting fields sealed the deal for her. “The largest deciding factor for choosing this program is the emphasis on social enterprise fostered not only in the program but also in the entire school. As this is the industry I’m keen to explore, I’m greatly looking forward to making the most of the school’s resources and the venture lab period working within this area.”
Of course, the alumni experience also swayed members of the incoming class, including Luis Baena, mostly recently a senior consultant at Strategy&. “The thing that most helped me decide for the IE IMBA was the alumni experiences,” he shares. “Luckily, in my office, there were as many as six alumni from this same program – and all of them who spoke were truly delighted about the school.” Kolawole Adeniyi, a medical representative from Nigeria, was equally smitten with the faculty. “During my research, I was particularly impressed with the flexibility of the curriculum, and the strong link the faculty members (permanent and adjunct) maintain with the corporate world; IE faculty members are not only ‘talkers,’ but ‘doers’ as well!”
One year can fly by, particularly in a culturally vibrant and bustling metropolis like Madrid. Chances are, Niccolò Bacchi, who holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology, will be focused far more on his startup. “The life-science sector today is a fluid, difficult to predict, ruthless but highly promising environment. In my opinion, success in life-science relies on people merging both scientific and managerial competencies. Great science is no more enough to succeed, but it has to be deeply merged with excellent management. This combination will give you both the vision required for bringing an innovation from the lab to society, and the skills needed to avoid all evitable obstacles. I expect from IE a tough insight into all the competences I currently lack.”
Adeniyi has a more personal goal in mind. “Sub-Saharan Africa remains one of the few regions in the world where cervical cancer (caused by…HPV) is the leading cause of cancer-related death in women. I intend to nurture my pet initiative of raising HPV awareness and its relationship with cervical cancer beyond delivering educational lectures about HPV to actually vaccinating Nigerian and Sub-Saharan African high school girls against HPV in a bid to be instrumental in reducing the incidence of cervical cancer.”
For Michael Arnot, an Australian attorney, the next year is all about pursuing “awesomeness.” “I want to nail the course, nail the extra-curricular activities within the school and nail the experience. I want to graduate knowing I’ve done everything.” At the other end of the spectrum, White just hopes to keep her life intact. “I know business school can become overwhelming, so another goal I have for myself is to not to lose track of other things that are important to me including my family, my health, and my sanity!”
To read profiles of incoming IE Business School students – along with their advice on tackling GMAT, applications, and interviews – click on the student links below.
Kolawole Adeniyi / Ila-Orangun, Osun State (Nigeria)