Every class is special, and the IESE MBA Class of 2023 stands out for having a record number of 383 students – the largest cohort in IESE’s history. In the midst of all the uncertainties, we have remained steadfast in our mission to prepare these talented professionals to be impactful and future ready leaders.
Get to know some of our MBA 23 students in this post. They will shed light on what attracted them to our program, their application journey during the pandemic and what they are excited about in the coming year.
What factors figured most prominently into your business school decision?
Hamza Zahid (UAE): School reputation, rankings, career network and alumni.
Jisoo Kim (Republic of Korea): There are 4 factors: #1 Length of the program and reputation: I preferred a 2-year program to allow myself to have enough time to consider all the options and make a meaningful career change. Also, the reputation of the school was critical when it came to the decision as career development was my main purpose of pursuing an MBA. #2 Geography: I only considered the European schools as I want to land a job in Europe. #3 Pre-MBA interaction with Alumni: IESE alumni felt very vibrant and everyone I interacted with was willing to help and share their experiences. #4 Lifestyle: For me, the location and the quality of lifestyle are also critical determinants of a successful MBA experience as every day packed with to-dos can be quite stressful. Barcelona is a perfect city for someone who prefers to have a less hectic lifestyle with good exposure to nature during the busy MBA life. At the end of the day, it is two years of your life!
Yi He Chou (Taiwan): Diversity of peers!
Stephanie Gladys Place (Argentina): Firstly, IESE’s case-study methodology facilitates rich and startling discussions with an extremely diverse and unique class which is reshaping my way of thinking, providing me with a unique global mindset and out-of-the-box thinking. Secondly, I was looking to improve and consolidate leadership skills and IESE offers infinite opportunities to do so. For example, I am now a First Year Director of both the Tech and Fintech Club and I am very excited to coordinate different activities for our class such as the IESE Connect ’22 Conference. Finally, one cannot ignore the wonders Barcelona has to offer. As an example, back in October I was still able to enjoy a warm sunny day out at a rented beach side villa with my partner’s amazing team!
Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your personal application process in any way? If so, how?
Hamza Zahid (UAE): Most business schools were imposing strict Covid protocols and delivering classes online; this was a sticking point for me. When taking a decision about where to apply and attend a full-time MBA program, it was extremely important that classes would be delivered on campus and I would get the opportunity to engage extensively with my peers.
Jisoo Kim (Republic of Korea): Except for the assessment day, which was done virtually, there was no impact on the application process for me.
Yi He Chou (Taiwan): The pandemic did not affect much on my application and admissions process to IESE.
Stephanie Gladys Place (Argentina): In my case it made the process smoother as I could take the GMAT online from the comfort of my home and could easily Zoom with alumni and students from all over the world to hear about their MBA experiences. How the pandemic was handled by each business school was also a contributing factor in my decision. IESE made a marvelous effort to keep students and faculty safe to always keep classes presential.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?
Hamza Zahid (UAE): As one of the few members of class of 2023 who have an in-depth knowledge and experience of the Middle East market, I’ve volunteered to discuss the professional aspects and cultural nuances of working in the Middle East with anyone who is interested in pursuing post-MBA career opportunities in the region.
Jisoo Kim (Republic of Korea): The majority of the class are men and are either from Europe or the Americas. Considering IESE puts a great emphasis on case study teaching methods where peer learning becomes one of the key success factors, I believe I can contribute a lot to the MBA experience of our batch by sharing the knowledge and perspectives of women in Asia.
Yi He Chou (Taiwan): Some in depth knowledge about the thing that appears in every party, beer!
Stephanie Gladys Place (Argentina): Each individual at IESE has unique and amazing things to contribute from their own backgrounds and I hope I can contribute as well from mine. Growing up in Argentina, with recurring economic crises, and through my parents’ example, who are business owners, I have learnt to be persistent, adaptable, and strong. Consulting has also provided me with a solid set of tools, learning about data analytics, modelling, teamwork, and communication, and granting me exposure to various industries and areas. Finally, in e-commerce, I have learnt to feel comfortable in a fast-paced and dynamic environment solving problems with a multidisciplinary team. I also hope they agree my baking skills are good!
Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application.
Hamza Zahid (UAE): I have a twin brother who also holds an MBA. This was an additional motivating factor for me to apply 😊!
Jisoo Kim (Republic of Korea): I have a collection of hiker badges from Japan – it is something you can buy at the souvenir stores located near the top of the mountain. While I was working in Japan, I went hiking whenever I had time, and it became a memorable collection by the time I left the country.
Yi He Chou (Taiwan): I’ve tried more than 300 brands of beer!
Stephanie Gladys Place (Argentina): Desserts are a serious business! I always watch the dessert menu before the rest to calculate how much I should hold back during the rest of the meal to ask for the desserts (yes, sometimes multiple) I want to try.
What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Hamza Zahid (UAE): Really excited about connecting with fellow MBA students from all over the world and growing my personal/professional network!
Jisoo Kim (Republic of Korea): The first term in MBA was undoubtedly the most fun time I have had in a long while. In addition to the intense learning experiences in the classroom, there are an endless number of networking opportunities and events where I can easily get access to the fields that I am interested in.
Yi He Chou (Taiwan): Exploring Barcelona and Spain for the first time in my life!
Stephanie Gladys Place (Argentina): So many things! If I must pinpoint one, I will say that I am excited to continue developing long lasting relationships with the incredible community at IESE. I am amazed at how completely comfortable I feel around my class and my team. I feel we are all rooting and supporting each other to grow, have fun and achieve our goals.
Meet other MBA 2023 students in our earlier post, Part I.
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