As the Class of 2024 students prepare to start their IESE MBA journey later in the summer, Joe Lobo, 2022 Class President, and Carolina Faria, 2022 Class Vice President, share their experiences and advice ahead of what will be a life-changing two years.
Sit down, buckle up and get ready for the ride of a lifetime! For most of you the next two years will be a life-changing experience. You are about to embark on a journey full of late nights with friends debating your favourite classes (with some alcoholic beverages from around the world to go with), trips to exotic, and yes sometimes very expensive, locations hosted by your classmates and SKIESE, Multi-Culti and BoW – if these words seem alien to you now they will soon become the centre of your world.
Oh, and of course there will be some work to do! You can look forward to racing to arrive on time for your 8am classes, fighting to meet group project deadlines with your team and deciding what career you want – then changing your mind 100 times as you hear of cool new opportunities.
Some of you will embark on the consulting trek and the prep that goes with it. So, just like the Consulting Club would tell us to, we have decided to structure our advice to you with 5 key learnings for the MBA rollercoaster ride ahead.
1. Think now about what you want to get out of your MBA experience
Many of you will be reading this post having just quit your job and are looking forward to relaxing for a few weeks before starting the MBA. Use your time well: rest, but also think about what your priorities in the MBA will be!
Now is the time to think about how you want to approach the three areas of MBA life – academics, career and social/networking – and what you want to accomplish. What careers interest you, identify the skills you want to pick up and what experiences/trips you want to pursue.
Once you hit September you will barely have time to read all your cases so now with your calendars a little emptier now is your moment to plan the two years ahead. Make sure your goals are clear and ask yourself: what do I want to say I achieved when I’m heading up to the stage to pick up my diploma in May 2024?
2. Get ready to enter the MBA bubble
You are about to enter a bubble which will take over your life for the next two years.
While the MBA bubble has its positives – making friends for life, learning from each other, never being short of things to do with people – it does have its negatives.
Get ready to have the same conversations about how your applications are going, what your team is like and who is doing well – and maybe not so well, which trips you’re going on and so much more.
MBA students can be competitive, and sometimes compare themselves to each other. The bubble can get stressful so just remember to keep your focus, enjoy the ride and take time away from the bubble whenever you need. It won’t be going anywhere!
3. Say yes a lot, but not to everything
The MBA has so many opportunities we could spend the rest of this post listing them. You will have numerous clubs to be a part of and run, competitions to enter, trips to join, nights out to go on and so much more.
You should try and say yes to as much as you can, but you can become burnt out. You’ll think your phone is having a heart attack with the number of notifications from the hundreds of WhatsApp groups you’ll be a part of. Every night it will feel like there is a dinner to sign up to. There will be talks every lunchtime from classmates or business leaders around the world. You cannot do everything. Remember the priorities you settled before, stick to them and you won`t regret it. What is important to you is different to what is important for others and you really need to give yourself time to rest.
4. Own your rejections
All of us are successful. It is why we were accepted to one of the most prestigious MBA programmes in the world. But success is not a positive linear line. And if it has been then it won’t be over the next two years!
When it comes to your career you will be competing with some of the brightest people both from within IESE but also from MBA schools around the world. It is inevitable that you will face rejections.
Rejections are hard! I [Joe] can remember quickly leaving school to field a call from one top consulting firm expecting an offer before receiving a crushing no. I also got rejected in the final round from five other top companies in the first year.
This might happen to you as well. Our advice is to own it. Think about what you can learn from each rejection to ensure the next one is an acceptance letter. Try not to be bitter about people who did get the offer and keep working hard. If we could get an offer then you certainly can.
5. Listen to the second years and alumni
Your best source for MBA advice is luckily right on your doorstep. The second years will have just finished going through what you are about to start and will know exactly how it feels.
Make sure to utilise them to answer questions about the career, academia and social life. But remember that their time is valuable and that they are doing this solely to help you. You will hear the famous “pay it forward” phrase multiple times and you will soon be a second year imparting your new-found wisdom on the class of 2025.
Don’t forget to speak to alumni (count on us!) but remember that we might be extremely busy with work and might not be instantly responsive. That being said, the IESE is a tight knit community and you can be sure we are all there to look out for each other and ensure future classes maintain that success IESE is so well known for.
A bonus 6th – enjoy it!
You will be told this a lot but it really is true. These two years will be unique. If you’re smart they can be transformative on so many levels.
Make the most of it! The MBA journey ends quicker than you think. It certainly did for us and the class of 22.
Joe Lobo & Carolina Faria, Class President & Vice President
IESE Class of 2022
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