Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Meg Hirai, IESE Business School

Meg Hirai

IESE Business School at the University of Navarra

“I am an American Human Resource Professional with a passion for leading people through change.”

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have always had a side gig within retail to satiate my passion for clothing, my favorite being a bridal consultant job where I helped woman find their wedding dresses. (And yes, it was exactly like “Say Yes to the Dress”)

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Washington, Foster School of Business. Bachelor of Arts in Business with a concentration in Human Resource Management

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Concentrix, People Solutions Transformation Project Consultant

What makes the case method so attractive as a means to learn and become a better manager? The case method is the most interactive style of learning I have ever experienced. Instead of going into a lecture where I am taught a concept, I first start by reading an engaging real-life example, talk it through with my diverse team, and then receive guidance through it by my professors and group of brilliant classmates. Each level brings new perspective and discovery that stays with me far longer than memorizing a concept ever would.

What has been your favorite part of Barcelona so far? What has made it such a great place to earn an MBA? On top of the incredible weather, gorgeous beaches, iconic architecture, and delicious food, Barcelona truly embodies a lifestyle that appreciates work-life balance that I have never encountered in the US.

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 case study method made me excited to go back to school and learn, which after years of not having homework, was not an easy task to do. Also, what really stood out from other schools was just how amazing the alumni were. Each one I reached out to was eager and quick to get back to me, told me how IESE was the best two years of their lives, and were so friendly that they were people I truly wanted to grab a beer with.

The IESE MBA is known for heavy reading and rigorous academics. Has the program lived up to its reputation? What advice would you give to first-years to help them thrive in the early months of the program? IESE has lived up to the rigorous academic and reading reputation but in a different way than you would think. Reading cases is generally much more engaging than textbooks and you should be prepared to be challenged to engage with and speak in every class – not just during exams. IESE is also an incredibly social atmosphere, especially given Barcelona’s lively reputation, so don’t be surprised if your whole weekend is booked with social events. My advice to first years is one I got from another student: Doing well at an MBA takes two things, focus and competence. Don’t wait to get to IESE to figure out what you want, start researching as soon as you can.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at IESE? IESE’s various clubs offer multiple treks throughout the year, and I attended the Consumer Goods Club’s trek to Amsterdam where we got to visit companies such as Nike, Pepsico, Kraft Heinz, and Amazon. Not only was it awesome to meet alumni doing great things at these companies, but it was so fun exploring Amsterdam.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: During my time as an HR project consultant, I was brought into an organization to be the lead consultant on building out a human resource shared service team. During my two years there, I worked with an amazing team and we were able to build out 5 global Human Resource Centers consisting of 150 HR specialists, who supported 300,000 employees across 40 different countries.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: I am very excited to say I have committed to an internship with Johnson & Johnson in the US with their procurement leadership development program.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the IESE MBA program? Take advantage of talking to admissions, students, and alumni to learn and understand what IESE has to offer. Being genuinely interested and wanting to socially engage with the community is important.


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