Meet IE Business School’s Class of 2016

Luis Baena

Luis Baena

IE Business School

Hometown: Córdoba, Andalucia (Spain)

Undergraduate School and Major: Universidad de Granada – Civil Engineering

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Strategy& (Formerly Booz&Co), as a Consultant and Senior Consultant

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? I think that one of the most important things when preparing for those exams is the timing. In my case, I took the GMAT, and prepared myself for the exam during two months, finally getting a mark of 770. It is essential to use the official materials (in my case, they were the only sources for the preparation). If you are planning a short-time preparation (as it was on my case), I also strongly recommend lessons with a tutor. He or she will give good tips for every part of the exams, and will help you to ramp up with the preparation at the beginning, when I consider it to be more complicated. In addition to that, and this is something you have to prepare with more time, I think it is also important to have a good reading habit (specially for non-native English speakers) and practice mathematics regularly, which I was lucky enough to have done during my whole period as a consultant.

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? Getting to know alumni for different b-schools will definitely help you clear your mind. In my firm, I got to know consultants who have completed MBAs in very different schools (Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg, IESE, INSEAD, etc.), and this helped me to create a general view of the different profiles. Besides this, it is also important to consult forums, where you can learn the differential values or characteristics of every school. Finally, making a list of all the pros and cons is a must in any decision process

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? First of all, prepare the things with time. It is important to review all the essays carefully, as it is one of the things that will help you stand out among other candidates. Secondly, learn everything you can about the school you are applying for: Culture, important alumni, faculty, values, etc. All of these need to be reflected in your candidacy and in the interview. Finally, be yourself. You can pretend to be anyone else during the admission process, but you don’t want to find later on that you are not a fit in the school culture!

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? The thing that most helped me decide for the IE IMBA was the alumni experiences. Luckily, in my office, there were as many as 6 alumni from this same program – and all of them who spoke were truly delighted about the school. The fact that IE, being one of the top schools world-wide, had a one year program and was a great value for money. Finally, there were personal factors too, as one of my priorities was to stay here in Madrid after three intense years of traveling for work to places as exotic as Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Turkey or Saudi Arabia!

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? For me, one of the most important benefits from an MBA is getting to know a strong network of people from very different backgrounds that will enrich my education during the program. And I think that IE program is one of the best for this purpose, mainly due to the strong diversity of the classes (+90% internationl students) and the careful admission process where they look to ensure the different backgrounds I mentioned before. So, before I graduate, I hope to have a wide circle of truly friends that have contributed to my formation and with whom I have spent one of the best year of my life.

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