In any discussion of IESE, words like “integrity” and “impact” loom large. This is a business school that takes very seriously the idea that business leaders can have a huge effect on the world. Very few other MBA courses feature a core business ethics course, or so explicitly look to instill values in their students.
Based in Barcelona but with outposts in Madrid, Munich, New York, and São Paulo, IESE also has a global outlook. In its last MBA class, 76% of the 293 students were non-Spanish, hailing from 55 countries. Of those, 31% came from elsewhere in Europe, 29% from Asia-Pacific, 17% from North America, and 16% from South America.
At 19 months, IESE’s MBA gives students ample time to explore their subject. The first three terms teach Foundations for Effective Leadership, followed by summer corporate internship and entrepreneurial experiences. It’s all topped off in terms four and five with the Consolidate Transformation section, which helps students to broaden their horizons.
This can involve Overseas Modules of up to four weeks in Sâo Paulo, New York, Shanghai or Nairobi, and up to a whole term in one of IESE’s 30 exchange partner schools. Students can take part in the Africa Initiative, part of IESE’s attempt to improve business education in Africa, where it has helped to establish business schools in Nigeria, Kenya, Ivory Coast, and Angola, or help to run the large and well-established Doing Good Doing Well conference.
Students choose from 100 electives, around 20 of which have been added in the past five years, often after consultation with students. Alongside conventional options, there is a chance to take even more business ethics courses, along with unusual subjects like Stress Management and Well Being. IESE also offers students the chance to learn or improve their Spanish, up to the level where some take a bilingual MBA.
Of the last MBA class, 29% took jobs in Spain, and 34% in other European countries. Like many schools, IESE has seen more students moving to technology jobs, and that sector employed 19% of the last MBA cohort to graduate, but consulting (29%) and finance (22%) are still the largest employers. As befits an MBA that aims to transform a student’s career, 85% of the last class changed either function, geography, or sector, while 20% changed all three.
Prof Carlos Garcia Pont, MBA Director, IESE Business School
It might sound a bit grandiose, but IESE was founded with the intention to change the world, through better management. That thinking permeates the MBA, and means that we aim to produce managers who can inspire others through their actions. In your job, there are of things you have to do. For us the question is, How do you do them?
We teach all the MBA subjects, of course, but this is not a factory experience. It is about helping people reflect on their own behavior. A large part of that comes from having a very diverse group, and coming to understand that part of being a global leader is embracing difference.
Katherine Berezowskyj, IESE MBA 2018
When I began my MBA I never thought I’d become co-captain of the women’s rugby team, but through my time at IESE I’ve found myself taking on more leadership roles.
I have been working in France for five years, so I was looking to continue my international exposure, and while I considered U.S. schools I was looking for a different sort of community, and IESE ticked the boxes. I am looking for a career change, so I was looking for a two-year course.
Also, I wanted a school with a good reputation that will be recognized if I do decide to go back to the U.S. I also got a great impression from the recruitment team. We had in-depth conversations and they were very candid and honest.
IESE has not published in its employment report its top employers, preferring to list all of the firms that hired the school’s graduates.