I joined the IESE MBA program to change my career. The topnotch education, the international exposure, the chance to spend two years of my life living in Barcelona, these were all added benefits to this marvelous way to give birth to the second part of my professional life.
Only three months ago, I was one of nearly 300 people crowding in Aula Magna, the biggest auditorium in the beautiful North Campus, at the beginning of the Orientation Week of what was meant to be the greatest two years of our lives. The honorable speakers came and went, presentations rolled on the big screens, but one thing, and one thing only was in my mind: consulting, banking, industry, even entrepreneurship all seemed within reach, so close but still so far. I am here, now what?
Shortly after, the actual MBA started. And when I say started, I mean our schedule got filled up faster than any of us believed possible. The message was clear: Dear Dorothy, we are not in Kansas anymore.
While most MBA students struggle to withstand the pressure of academics alone, the feeling for those interested in applying to both consulting and banking is only intensified as both have very early deadlines. You quickly feel pulled in three different directions: your professors and team need you prepared for classes, every single day; Career Services and professional clubs expect you to show up to every opportunity to network with people from the companies you are applying to; and your fellow students, first and second year, expect you to attend every single bar, club, party, birthday and social event scheduled.
This experience is very difficult to explain to someone who was not there, so I will just sum it up by saying, you have no time to sleep properly, eat properly, or socialize properly. Your partner or spouse will barely see you, your parents abroad will barely hear from you, and your mind will quickly filter out every piece of information that doesn’t have something to do with career events or schoolwork. The sooner you accept that barely two months into the MBA you already have no life, the better.
Three months, two Career Forums, one banking trek, and 20 applications and cover letters later, I can tell you that this is all worth it.
So far, my MBA experience in IESE is much more than international exposure, career opportunities in Europe’s greatest firms, and priceless knowledge that is grown and cultivated using the case method; my MBA experience is about testing myself, my abilities and my conviction in every way possible, and the feeling of enduring these trials of fire is worth it all.
This is only the beginning of my journey and I am confident the best is yet to come.