Application tips for IESE Class of 2023, from our new Admissions Director

Dear applicants to the MBA Class of 2023,

It is my great pleasure to address you as the new Director of MBA Admissions and am thrilled to continue serving the IESE community in this role. Let me introduce myself briefly and following that, I will share some tips and guidelines towards approaching the IESE MBA application process this year.

I was a motivated business school applicant just like you back in 2013. Coming from Brazil with work experience as Senior Consultant for TOTVS Consulting and Project Manager at Grupo Marista, I had aspirations to develop my management and leadership skillset, build an international network and explore career change. After doing extensive research on various business schools, I ultimately applied and enrolled into IESE’s full time MBA program.

IESE was truly a transformative experience for me, both professionally and personally. Upon graduation in 2016, the opportunity arose to join the MBA Admissions team taking care of the Latin America region and I gladly took this role. Four years later, here I am today!

Having been in your shoes, I remember what it is like to have worked for a few years and to consider going back to school. Committing to the business school admissions process was a big step. Together with my team, we strive to be supportive and transparent to make this journey a smooth one for you. I look forward to interacting with passionate and aspiring candidates embarking on your MBA journey with IESE!

General Tips

You can view and begin working on the application here. Here are the important dates to keep track of during the application process:

Early Round Deadline: September 1, 2020
Round 1 Deadline: October 6, 2020
Round 2 Deadline: January 5, 2021
Round 3 Deadline: March 10, 2021
Round 4 Deadline: May 4, 2021

We generally encourage international applicants to target earlier rounds (ER, R1, R2) to give yourself more time to secure visas and prepare for a move to a new country. Do note the decision dates and payment deadlines on our website as well, you may want to take that into consideration when deciding which round to apply.


Before looking at the essay question, it is important to reflect on your own motivations in applying to a specific business school. A good application would usually demonstrate clarity, honesty, self-awareness and maybe even a sense of humour. I’m sure you have many stories that you can share, it’s up to you to select key ones and make sure you are presenting a consistent image of who you are, what you have accomplished, what you want to achieve and where does IESE fit in. IESE is a mission-oriented school with a strong value system, which translates into our admission process and the cultural adaptability we are looking for among candidates.

This year, we have two mandatory essay questions and one optional essay.

Be part of the international and collaborative class at IESE!

Mandatory Question (300 words)

Essay 1: If you had to come up with a motto for your life, what would it be and why? Please give an example of how you have demonstrated it.

Take this essay as a valuable opportunity to introduce yourself to the admissions team in a more personal way, beyond the professional and academic achievements described in the application. We encourage applicants to give some thought on the milestones that have shaped or impacted your identity and character, providing specific and concrete examples, what matters most to you at this present moment and how the IESE MBA can add value to your plans in exploring the path forward.

When brainstorming, applicants can consider the motto as your personal philosophy. It can be a reminder of the values that keep you grounded especially in challenging times, the motivation towards the goals you have set, the learnings accumulated from important life lessons, the inspiration for your attitude and mindset or your individuality that will grow the IESE community. Please exemplify your motto clearly with an illustrative example or a recent anecdote from your personal experiences, demonstrating these qualities through success or even setbacks that will aid in conveying your unique candidacy to the admissions team. Keep in mind this story is yours to share and the motto should be succinctly summarized. It doesn’t have to be complicated but more importantly, it should resonate with and best represent you.

Essay 2: What are your short term and long term career goals? How will the IESE MBA help you achieve them?

This essay prompts applicants to focus on their professional aspirations and is a critical aspect of the application every year. For those exploring career changes, we suggest providing some context of your career and professional performance so far, the transferable skills gained and how your past experience amplified your interest in targeting your post-MBA field. If you are seeing your MBA as a chance to explore different career options, you can keep the perspective broad, but still define your priorities and areas of interest.

Applicants should give thoughtful consideration of the broader impact you hope to make and how these short-term goals can act as stepping stones towards your longer-term plans. It is always useful to explain your fall-back options and to structure a robust career planning framework that includes alternatives in case things don’t work out as planned (and we know that in many cases, they don’t!). Finally, don’t forget to highlight the elements of the IESE MBA that will help you to bridge the gaps and move you closer to your goals.

We recommend establishing some action plans, for instance, identifying program offerings of relevance that would be beneficial for gaining new skills or knowledge. Are there clubs, classes, career treks that reaffirm why you are choosing to apply to IESE? Have you met or spoken to alumni who have similar backgrounds or are working in fields you are interested in? Underline how the IESE MBA can help put you in a better position in your future career.

Enjoy the journey of self-discovery during the MBA application process!

Optional Question (300 words)

Essay 3: What would you like to highlight about yourself or your journey which may have not been captured in your application? 

This is an open-ended question for applicants to share any additional information that could potentially strengthen your candidacy. You can show us another side of your personalities such as a special hobby or passion, learnings or experiences during the pandemic period that might further prepare you for the MBA or any potential contribution to the IESE community. This is also an opportunity to address weaknesses or gaps in your application that you feel would benefit from context. Applicants should keep in mind this question is truly optional, this is not a trick question! It would probably be better for you to skip this question if you do not have anything of value to add beyond what has already been included in the application.

Good luck and all the very best!

Paula Amorim

Pursue your dream MBA! Take these next steps today:

Paula Amorim View more

MBA & MiM Admissions Director

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