Meet IE’s MBA Class of 2017

IE Business School

IE Business School


The IE Business School has become increasingly popular with prospective students looking to start a company or compete in a global business environment. The program enjoyed a 17% uptick in applications during the 2015-2016 cycle, going from 1,428 to 1,671 applications. The class size also swelled from 354 to 411 students, with the school accepting 31% of applicants, a rate comparable to American programs like Emory and Carnegie Mellon.

The class also brings a 680 average GMAT to the table, up 10 points from the previous year, as scores ranged from 600-750. The percentage of women in the class was 31%, steady from the previous year but also a point higher than regional competitors like INSEAD and HEC Paris. The percentage of international (i.e. non-Spaniards) students did slip from 95% to 93% with this class. However, this percentage is still equal to Cambridge and only lower than INSEAD and Oxford among top tier MBA programs. 62 countries are represented in the 2017 Class.

Not surprisingly, undergraduate business majors account for 33% of the class, down 2% from the year before. Engineering, at 20% of the class, comprises the second largest bloc followed by economics (15%), social sciences and humanities (13%), and sciences (11%). Notably, the percentage of economics majors jumped 9% over the previous year. The big change, however, came from the industries where students previously worked. Now, financial services professionals make up the largest percentage of the class at 23% (up three points), while energy and construction dropped five points to 18%. Consumer goods (14%), consulting (11%), and technology and telecom (8%) are also heavily represented in the class. So where will they likely end up? Looking at the 2015 graduating class, financial services and consulting consumed 20% and 18% of IE graduates respectively, with 92% of the class landing work within three months of earning their MBA. Europe (32%) and Latin America (31%) were the most popular destinations after graduation.


Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain

Ask incoming MBA candidates for the biggest boon to enrolling at IE and entrepreneurship is certain to roll off their lips. It is, in essence, the foundation of the program. Just take a peak at the core curriculum, which starts with courses in the Entrepreneurial Mindset and Entrepreneurial Venturing (not to mention another course in digital innovation). From there, students enter a lab period, where they choose one of three labs that include a Startup Lab and a Social Impact Lab. Afterwards, students enter their elective period, which constitutes 40% of the courseload, where they can choose from 150 courses tailored to their passions. Here, IE offers an array of courses devoted to areas like tech entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, family business, and franchising.

This elective period also features the acclaimed Venture Lab, an accelerator where students incubate their ideas with guidance from faculty, entrepreneurs, and alumni. The Lab is capped off by Venture Day, where students pitch their fledgling businesses to top investors at locales ranging from Sao Paolo to Tokyo to help them open doors and gain seed funding. The school also hosts Area 31, an ecosystem that provides space, tools, and expertise in areas like law and financing to over 100 startups. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Students can also hone their pitches and network with startup-minded peers through weekly IE Venture Network sessions. They can also sit on the other side of the table and learn how investors think through the Spain Startup co-Investment Fund. They can even partner with R&D arms on a Passion>IE project to foster innovative design in industries like healthcare or city planning.

Muo was one 2017 class member who was sold on IE after reviewing the breadth and depth of entrepreneurial offerings at IE. “My passion for entrepreneurship and innovation inspired me to choose the MBA program at IE Business School given the school’s reputation in both areas,” he notes. “I was really impressed by the School’s focus on entrepreneurship, especially the start-up incubator and Venture Lab. which should provide a safe learning environment to implement my business ideas and test my entrepreneurial skills. With more than 15% of IE Business School students starting their own companies and the school’s recent ranking as the No.1 MBA in Europe for Entrepreneurship, I am confident that I made the right decision in choosing this program.”

Entrepreneurial innovation and disruption aren’t the only unique facets of the IE experience. The program also includes what it calls “Professional Fitness” and “Behavioral Fitness” regimens, weekly coaching and training sessions that cover shorter-term interests like networking and personal branding and longer-term concerns like decision-making, communication, and personnel management. Of course, it is nearly impossible to find a more internationally immersive program than IE to raise students’ intracultural IQ. As a result, says Japan’s Yuri Nakatani, every interaction is literally a learning opportunity. “I’d like to learn how to lead global teams effectively and I think my fellow students (and their diversity) will help me do that,” she points out. “Furthermore, I want to understand different ways of thinking and studying abroad will help me do that, particularly as people and societies are becoming increasingly different from each other nowadays.” Sisso has enjoyed a similar experience. “I have never had the opportunity to work with people from different countries with different perspectives all together, which makes this experience very exciting for me.”


A class at IE Business School

A class at IE Business School

Aside from being unconventional, Elgner notes that the other defining trait of the 2017 Class is their desire to make a difference, which he sees as more concrete than in previous intakes. “This desire is an aspect which helps us as an institution to help our students become leaders within a culture not of “taking” but “giving” – something many companies need, but only a few have.” You only need to look at what the class plans to do after graduation to grasp Elgner’s point.

de Gregorio Verdejo, for example, aspires to move into a senior clinical management role after earning her MBA so she can put patient outcomes “at the centre of every decision and form the backbone of all medical care.” Nakatani also plans to move into healthcare after graduation Her goal: Work within the system to push better infertility treatments. While Avila doesn’t quite yet know where he wants to go, he does know what he hopes to achieve. “My dream job is one that allows me to be me, to pursue my desire for a fulfilling life, and that allows me to have some type of impact in someone’s life.”

With water being the basis for life and the Earth’s most precious resource, Brennan intends to work for a strategy consulting firm focused on sustainability and risk management. “Water resources are one of the greatest risks to profitable business and also one of the biggest opportunities to promote peace and development. As such, my dream is to enhance water security around the world by building corporate engagement and leadership capacity in water stewardship.”

In the meantime, Brennan hopes to be a catalyst in the 2017 Class. She considers her year to success if her peers view her as someone whose “energy, spark, and determination helped to drive a constructive discourse that raised the profile of responsible corporate citizenship amongst her peers.” She isn’t alone in hoping to leave such a legacy. Rodgers wants to be known as someone who “was always there to help.” For Nakatani, the goal is to epitomize the best of IE Business School. “I desire to be seen as a dreamer and curious person, and as someone who challenges the status quo in team activities.”


To read profiles of incoming IE students — along with their advice on tackling the GMAT, applications, and interviews — click on the links below.

Arturo Avila / Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Louise Brennan / Antigonish, Nova Scotia

Renata de Carvalho / São Paulo, Brazil

María de Gregorio Verdejo / Madrid, Spain

Karin Erbacher / Arlesheim, Switzerland

Zayne Imam / Cape Town, South Africa

Victor Muo / Lagos, Nigeria

Yuri Nakatani / Kobe, Japan

Natalie Rodgers / The Hague, Holland

Shai Sisso / Tel Aviv, Israel

Victor Augusto Wallendzus Reis / São Paulo, Brazil

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