At IESE, we are committed to increasing the number of women leaders in the global business field. We have many Women in Leadership initiatives in our MBA program ranging from our student-led Women in Business Club to scholarships dedicated to outstanding female candidates. IESE is proud to be part of the Forté Foundation, a non-profit consortium of leading companies and top business schools dedicated to empowering future women leaders. In this post, we feature Sana Hazari, MBA Class of 2023 who is a recipient of IESE’s Excellence Scholarship, granted to the top candidates in our application process and our Forté Foundation Fellowship.
Hi Sana! Please tell us about yourself.
Before pursuing my MBA at IESE, I founded an impact consulting firm offering digital strategy, product innovation, and growth consulting to the public sector, social organizations, and impact funds, supporting them in achieving sustainable business models. Prior to my entrepreneurship journey, I spent nearly four years working with KPMG India (formerly BMR Advisors) in their mergers & acquisitions team. Now, post-MBA, I am excited to embark on a new chapter as a senior consultant at Roland Berger, a strategy consulting firm based in Munich, Germany.
Outside of work, I enjoy traveling and yoga. I’ve explored 30+ countries now, out of which 10 were during my MBA! Additionally, I’m a certified yoga instructor, passionate about promoting well-being. Fun fact about me – I had my first taste of entrepreneurship at the age of 10, running a decorated pencil business with a 60% profit margin in school, until my teacher stepped in and put an end to it!
What important factors did you consider when applying for your MBA? How did you choose IESE?
Driven by curiosity and a passion to make a meaningful impact, I chose to pursue an MBA to gain a global perspective and nurture my leadership skills. I sought to sharpen my business acumen, enabling me to address real-world challenges with confidence and innovation.
From the onset of my research about IESE, I cherished my wholesome interactions with the current students, alumni, and admissions team; and witnessed the strong community support system that the school instils in its members. The supportive, like-minded and self-driven community culture at IESE resonated with me and gave me a sense of belonging. When I received my offer, I was thrilled about being a part of this close-knit community and new challenges.
Throughout the MBA, I experienced the full commitment of everyone at the school towards our future – from the career teams, professors, all cohorts, to alumni. Moreover, I was excited about the unique case study format of classes which opened my mind to the diverse perspectives of my batch-mates from 50+ nationalities. IESE’s flexible course structure and specializations offered in topics such as – ESG, Tech, Finance – were a strong factor as well for me.
Did your MBA experience meet your expectations? What surprised you?
Absolutely, the MBA experience far exceeded my expectations! It was an incredible journey filled with invaluable learning opportunities, supportive mentors, and a dynamic community of like-minded people, all while living in a vibrant city like Barcelona. I couldn’t have asked for a more fulfilling and enriching experience! While I assumed the beginning will be slow, to my surprise, the MBA program kicked off with an unexpected intensity (especially since I had chosen the consulting path), compelling us to prioritize our focus immediately.
I really admired the faculty who made our classes super interactive and open for discussions. They wholeheartedly embraced different viewpoints, promoting collaboration, which made our learning experience enriching.
Moreover, I really appreciated the dedication and support received from the career development team and clubs run by the senior cohort. Their guidance, industry insights, and network connections played a key role in helping the discovery of and ultimately achieving my career north star. Whether it was CV/cover letter workshops, case prep, or networking events, they left no stone unturned in giving us access to countless opportunities.
Tell us about some of your MBA highlights and most memorable experiences so far.
My time at IESE was full of cultural, social and academic highlights! The social and cultural activities included the Multi-Culti, SKI-IESE, Winter Ball, cultural meals/ trips and bar-of-the-week parties! One of my favorite memories was the annual pre-graduation Japan Trek, superbly organized by my classmates from the IESE Japanese Business Club.
The IESE experience was also academically enriching where we studied and discussed hundreds of real-life business cases, simulations, projects together with our batch-mates for two years. Some of my favorite electives included Negotiations, Power & Influence and Executive Simulation (EXSIM) where we assumed CXO roles in a company competing in a simulated environment against other teams. These classes allowed us to put into action everything we had learnt during the foundation year, while honing our soft skills.
What would you consider to be the biggest impact from IESE in both your personal and professional life? How has your MBA helped you to achieve your goals?
IESE has been a game-changer for my personal and professional growth. It has given me the tools and confidence to thrive in my career while staying true to my values.
Personally, this experience provided me with not just a platform to expand my horizons and challenge my perception, but it also helped me dig deeper into who I really am, allowing me to gain a better understanding of myself. Here, I had the amazing opportunity to develop a global mindset through personal development activities and interacting with classmates from diverse backgrounds. It opened my eyes to different cultures, perspectives, and leadership styles.
Professionally, IESE gave me a solid set of skills and a strategic mindset that have been absolutely crucial in tackling the challenges of today’s business world. The rigorous curriculum, including real-life case studies and interactive learning, sharpened my analytical thinking, problem-solving skills, and decision-making abilities. Plus, learning from top-notch professors, industry experts, and tapping into a vast alumni network opened up incredible avenues for mentorship, networking, and propelling my career forward. In addition to career fairs on campus, I had the opportunity to go on the London consulting career trek where we were warmly welcomed by companies such as BCG, Roland Berger, McKinsey, Bain, OC&C and others.
In your opinion, how do you think your MBA can help you better navigate today’s business world?
I believe my MBA experience at IESE is invaluable to help me navigate the complexities of today’s business world. The practical experiences, case studies, and exposure to industry experts have prepared me to tackle real-world challenges head-on, while equipping me with the knowledge & skills to thrive in this ever-evolving business landscape.
Overall, this journey has given me the confidence and strong academic foundation to make informed & socially conscious decisions, adapt to changes, and seize opportunities.
How has the scholarship impacted your life and what plans do you have to “pay it forward”?
The IESE Excellence and Forte scholarships I received have had an immense impact on my MBA experience. Coming from a social impact and entrepreneurship background in India, the scholarships provided me with the opportunity to fully immerse myself in the program, focusing on learning, networking, and making the most out of every opportunity.
Beyond the academic benefits, the scholarship inspired me to give back and use my business skills for positive impact in society. I’ll forever be thankful to IESE for their support and confidence in me.
Since the beginning of the program, I have actively supported the admissions team by participating in panels & webinars and supported potential MBA students to learn more about the program. I also was a first year director of the Tech Club supporting in marketing & event initiatives, and an active member of the Consulting Club helping our community (MBA & MiM) in interview preparation.
Owing to the tremendous support I had received from the school and our MBA seniors, I was eager to give back to the ever growing IESE community. During my second year at IESE, I had the opportunity to lead Careers & Networking for Women in Business (WIB) club and India Business Club (IBC) supporting the first year batch and my batch-mates by connecting companies and students, networking, interview and case preparation. After my internship at Roland Berger, I was able to guide my batchmates and incoming students regarding consulting and career opportunities in Germany / DACH region. I also actively served as a mentor in clubs such as WIB, IBC, Consulting, and Asia Clubs, as well as during the Roland Berger case competition.
As an alumnus of IESE, I plan to continue my active involvement and give back to the IESE community that has played a pivotal role in shaping my personal and professional journey, through admissions and career support. I will continue to assist the admissions team by participating in panels, webinars, and other outreach efforts to help prospective students. Moreover, I plan to stay involved in clubs, offering guidance to students on career advice, networking, and interviews, just like I received support from our community.
Finally, any message to your fellow scholars or aspiring MBA scholars?
To my fellow scholars, let’s make a mark on companies & society by excelling professionally, being true to our values, and serving with a giving spirit. Together, we can make a lasting impact that truly matters. Together, we have the power to create positive change and shape a better future for the world!
Thank you Sana, we look forward to seeing you make your mark!
To find out more about how to support the IESE Scholarship program and our Annual Fund, you can go to https://giving.iese.edu/annualfund
Pursue your dream MBA! Take these next steps today: