How concentrations can complement your IESE MBA

At IESE, we regularly review and update our program to ensure our graduates are best prepared for their future careers. This past year, concentrations were launched as a complementary certificate to the IESE MBA degree to allow students to further personalise their MBA experience.

Concentrations are offered in four subjects – Finance, International Business, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Data Analytics & Digital Business. Marta Escardo, Executive Director of the MBA program explains the benefits of this new initiative, “Concentrations help to unify courses in terms of content and offer our students the possibility to certify a particular specialization in their MBA that complements the general management approach of our program. It also helps students to enhance their recruitment opportunities.”

To graduate with a concentration, students have to complete a minimum number of credits in that particular subject in their second year. However, they will still be able to take other electives outside of their concentration if they choose to. Here are some examples of second year electives (out of over 130 electives) that students can take to fulfill each of these concentrations:

Finance: ESG & Impact Investment, The Rise of Fintech, Venture Capital: Terms & Deals

International Business: Strategy & Geopolitics, Cross-cultural Issues in Negotiations, Emerging Economies

Entrepreneurship & Innovation: Social Entrepreneurship, Design Thinking for Management Development, Innovation Strategy

Data Analytics & Digital Business: Artificial Intelligence and Analytics, Digital Commerce, Data-driven Decisions

*You can find the full list of electives on this page.

Graduating with a concentration can signal to employers your area of interest or expertise. For students who are looking to make a career switch, this can be one way to highlight relevant knowledge or skillsets on your CV. For the MBA Class of 2021, Finance was the most popular concentration out of the four. What do students have to say about their experience?

Jorge Arboli, MBA Class of 2021 who graduated with a concentration in Finance, felt that “I was able to get a deeper and broader knowledge of the industry, while developing a new skillset.” What was Jorge’s main motivation to pursue the finance concentration? “As I was prospective triple jumper, my main goal for the MBA was to transition (from engineering) into a career in finance, specifically investment banking in London. To get there, I thought that engaging in as much “finance related” options as possible during the MBA would be key for my success. When I heard about the concentration in Finance, I thought it would be a great complement to my MBA to focus on the offered finance electives.” For those interested in Finance, Jorge recommends taking the Search Fund elective taught by Professor Jan Simon as he found it very insightful.

He also offers some additional advice: be prepared to spend time and effort completing the credits required to obtain the concentration. He jokes, “Let’s say that I had to spent more time in the library than others who didn’t pursue a concentration.” Finally, while completing a concentration can be beneficial, the certificate in itself should not be the end goal. More importantly, be clear about your post-MBA goals and understand how your MBA can help you to make this transition. If you don’t have any previous knowledge or experience in what you want to do after your MBA, take as many electives related to that area as possible and participate in club activities to build your profile. Jorge was also the President of the IESE Finance Club and managed to complete his triple jump – he has now joined Citi in London as an investment banking associate.

Overall, this initiative has been a success. Marta shares,

“This new value proposition has been welcomed by students to the extent that we are ready to explore new concentrations in other business areas where IESE has knowledge and expertise such as sustainability and responsible business.”

We look forward to expanding our concentrations for our students in the near future.

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Camille Chow View more

Associate Director, Admissions (MBA '16)

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