Marta Valcarcel Fernandez
IESE Business School
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Thoughtful, trustworthy, optimistic and hardworking, with an insatiable intellectual curiosity
Hometown: Lugo, Spain
Fun Fact About Yourself: I always step into new places with my right foot, just in case!
Undergraduate School and Major: Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, ICAI – Industrial Engineering
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
Enagas – Strategy and Market Analysis
KPMG – Manager, Energy Economics and Regulation
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My most significant career accomplishment thus far came when I earned a fast-track promotion at KMPG, rising from Junior Consultant to Manager in three years rather than the standard six. This was the icing on the cake for a period of continuous professional and personal self-improvement.
Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? The most valuable piece of advice I can give you is to take some time to figure out what you want to get out of your MBA and to do some in-depth research into the different programs. All top MBAs are fabulous, though some might be a better fit for your profile and career goals than others, so identify them!
I cannot stress enough how helpful it is at this stage in the process to speak with the representatives from each school. Besides going through the program catalogue, employment reports, etc. do try to attend the events and contact alumni and students. This initial process of self-reflection and assessment of the MBA programs that are out there will also help you to develop a compelling narrative to use when writing your application essays and will make you a more convincing candidate in the admissions interview. Going through the steps of learning about each school will help bring out your uniqueness, your aspirations and the reasons why the school you are applying to is a good fit for you.
As for the GMAT, I would recommend starting to practice with real exam questions as early as possible. Carefully go over the answers to questions – even those you got right – looking for the most efficient way to solve them. Don’t get discouraged if your results aren’t what you want them to be at first; you’ll get better in time, so practice, practice, practice…
What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? One key factor that led me to choose IESE was its collaborative and supportive culture. I strongly believe that personal and professional experiences are influenced tremendously by the people who surround you. So the first thing I did when I decided to pursue an MBA was to contact students and alumni from different top schools to get a grasp of the culture of each program. At some point in the conversation, I asked all these people the same question: what do you value or what did you enjoy the most in your MBA experience? One way or another, everyone from IESE mentioned the people they had met and the collaborative environment at the school. Indeed, the generosity these people shown by offering me help and advice made it clear that support and community were real values of the institution. I am someone who thrives in cooperative settings, and I realized that IESE could provide me with the environment I was searching for.
What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? I hope to reach three important milestones by the end of my first year. First, I would like to acquire a solid foundation in business that can complement my engineering background. Second, I would like to take part in a dynamic work environment that allows me to keep pushing my limits during the summer-long internship. And, last but not least, I aim to enjoy this ride alongside all the new people I am about to meet this year!