Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Shir Zilberstein, IESE Business School

Shir Zilberstein

IESE Business School

“I am a spiritual, pragmatic person who searches to live life to the fullest.”

Hometown: Tel Aviv, Israel

Fun Fact About Yourself: I spent eight months backpacking throughout South and Central America, starting in the snow mountains of the “End of the World” (the southernmost tip of South America in Argentina), and then climbing all the way up to Mexico’s beaches, through wild nature reserves in Brazil, a volcano’s crater in Chile, and a salt desert in Bolivia.

Undergraduate School and Major: Reichman University (IDC Herzliya), Government

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Director at The Center for Israeli Innovation. I led a 15-member team while managing The Center for Israeli Innovation, a visitor and business center that promotes the Israeli innovation ecosystem and mindset internationally.

What makes the case method so attractive as a means to learn and become a better manager? The case method connects theory with reality. As the classes are relatable to our past and future managerial experiences, they are also more engaging and interesting. Additionally, the variety of cases we study – covering all different types and sizes of companies, sectors and roles – expands my understanding of the business world as a whole and the opportunities it offers. This in turn helps me to focus and find my place within it.

What has been your favorite part of Barcelona so far? What has made it such a great place to earn an MBA? Living in a Spanish-speaking country is definitely a dream come true for me. It gives me the opportunity to learn and improve one of the most beautiful and useful languages in the world! Moreover, the warm culture of Spain, makes it easy to feel at home – the openness and kindness of the people I meet in the street, the supermarket, or at my Yoga studio open my heart and help me experience the city also outside IESE.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of the IESE Business School MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The variety of the program and experiences offered as part of it was a crucial factor in my decision. The program provides a structured first-year and more flexible second-year, together with a hands-on project built-in to the program (the Capstone project), a summer internship, and opportunities to participate in global immersions during the second year. The diverse building blocks of the program form a dynamic experience that attracted my sense of adventure and promised an exciting journey.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at IESE? During both the MBA day and the Startup & Entrepreneurial Club career track, we visited various companies around Barcelona, learning about their stories, work environment, and culture. The visits provided me with a unique opportunity to explore what attracts me, and reminded me what I am looking for post-MBA, so I know where to focus my efforts. It also injected me with lots of motivation!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I am most proud of the management team I built and led as Director for The Center of Israeli Innovation.

By defining together the vision and the KPIs, and then sharing accountability for their achievement, we created an open and welcoming atmosphere in the Center, making people want to join us. We defined an ethical code of conduct that we all followed with empathy, care, and positive energy. My team was the primary vehicle to achieving the Center’s goals – their motivation and energy were contagious and infected our volunteers, guides, customers, and interns. Creating a team that aspired to one another’s success as equally as their own was my biggest accomplishment.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: At the end of the first challenging semester and the relocation process to Spain, I can proudly say that I have achieved a balance that enables me to navigate through the MBA experience with confidence and gain the most out of it.

Understanding where to prioritize and how to keep calm was an essential teaching experience for me, and one which will be invaluable in the future. Moreover, learning to communicate and work with people from various cultures while improving my languages skills is a process that is already starting to bear fruit.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the IESE MBA program? Be authentic, and smile. Attract curiosity by using your enthusiasm and passion while sharing your story. Show that you are an empathetic person who pursues his/her goals while empowering and pushing everyone forward.

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