Dear Incoming Class of 2023…

This fall, we are excited to welcome on campus the 383 students of MBA Class of 2023 - the biggest MBA class in IESE's history. Catherine Vera, Class President and Hakan Karabey, Vice President of IESE MBA Class of 2021 reminisce about their time at IESE and share some advice with our incoming students. 

From day 1, the MBA is full of energy, activities, and people to meet. There are just too many cases to read, countless groups to sign up for, and a never-ending number of events to go to. It makes even the most social person feel overwhelmed.

Now, looking back on the MBA, we realize how special it all was and how quickly it went by. Until you graduate and leave IESE, you never really have the time to stop and appreciate it all; either too busy preparing a balance sheet or running to and from all the different section dinners. You forget that the program is temporary, that your time in Barcelona will come to an end, and that before you know it, you will be writing a blog post to the incoming class, during your breaks between client meetings.

This fall, you are setting off on a personal adventure. One that will feel like a whirlwind, full of laughter, confusion and excitement. At times, you will wish the program would go on forever, and on others you will wonder why you ever even came to Barcelona. The reality is, you will all experience the same ups and downs, and it is part of what makes these next two years so pivotal in your lives.

The certain fact is that everything in your lives will change. Everyone from the class is uprooting themselves from their homes, jobs, friends, and family. You are then all thrown into an incredibly diverse class, placed into groups with strangers, given more work than you can expect, and invited to more parties than you can ever imagine.

One of the best parts of the MBA is making friends from all over the world.

The advice we give you all is to take advantage of this. Take this incredible opportunity to change and try as much as you can. Ride this wave of new experiences and add even more to it. You will look back on this period and realize how it was a truly rare opportunity to try and fail – a genuine playground to experiment.

We urge you all to do nothing you can do back home and only seek things you have always wished for.  Get involved in different sports, meet people from different cultures, and sign up for unusual groups. Open your mind, say yes, and leave behind everything you know. Everyone graduates with a long list of things they wish they had done during their time in Barcelona. We hope you manage to make that list as short as possible.

And we don’t only mean to visit the beautiful cities of Spain or get a vermouth in all the bars of Barcelona. We also encourage you to question your bias, listen to others, change your habits, and be authentic with those around you. Try everything that makes you uncomfortable. Say yes to everything you wish you could.

At this point, we know we might sound like a parent talking to their kids: the advice usually ends up forgotten. And when we were in your place, we were also too concerned getting our NIE to be listening to what an old alum had to say.

Nonetheless, if you embrace a fraction of this, we promise you will not be disappointed. You will be glad you embraced the change, because in two years, when you are sitting quietly, reminiscing about IESE, it will put a smile on your face.

Enjoying some sun in one of our favourite spots on campus – the terrace!

We wish you all the best during these next two years and remember to say yes!


Catherine & Hakan, Class President & Vice President

IESE Class of 2021






Pursue your dream MBA! Take these next steps today:

Camille Chow View more

Associate Director, Admissions (MBA '16)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.