Why I chose the IESE MBA

“Dreams do come true!!!”

This cliché captures the feeling of being accepted into your dream MBA program. This was exactly what I felt when I received my acceptance letter from IESE.

I was extremely overjoyed, humbled, and seriously speechless. I had to read the letter at least ten times just to make sure that I had read it correctly. I was thrilled to find out that I had just earned the chance to learn at a prestigious institution, work on a different continent, and live in such a vibrant place—Barcelona.

Choosing an MBA program is a long and tough decision-making process. But, I encountered exciting discoveries along the way.

Why did I apply to IESE?

The points that I wish to share go beyond the non-negotiable criteria such as rankings and global prestige. These high standards were already a given with IESE.

  • IESE’s mission resonates with my personal mission

Choosing a business school is not just about applying to several schools and hoping to get into a good one, as many people do when applying for an undergraduate degree. Deciding on where to take your MBA is like choosing a lifetime partner . With this in mind, I looked for a school that resonated with my personal values and life goals.

I was highly attracted to IESE’s mission, which reflected my own: (1) Leadership: emphasizing today’s need of forming influential leaders with character (2) Social impact and spirit of service: instilling in students the principle of making an impact on society, and (3) Global experience: creating a truly global experience for each student through a highly diverse culture.

  • IESE invests in looking for talent in emerging markets

IESE made its presence significant in my country through various well-orchestrated events. It impressed me to see that the school strongly invests in finding talent not just in developed countries, but also in emerging markets like the Philippines. This became a valuable consideration since it demonstrates that IESE strives to diversify the profile of the class and recognizes the potential of all their applicants to contribute to the class and be honed as great future leaders.

  • IESE’s geographic location and the program length of the MBA mattered

As an esteemed school in Europe, IESE attracted me by virtue of its location since I would be motivated to learn a new language, which in a sense is part of learning about other cultures.

I also preferred IESE because it was a two-year program . The first year is when you learn about yourself, you curate your dreams and you explore. The second year is when you make things happen. Being an expert in anything takes time. A year felt too short, while two years seemed just right.


How did I get to know the school more? What did I learn about the IESE community?

I signed up for all of the events that I possibly could. It was very easy to reach out to IESE. They provide applicants with numerous avenues to get to know the school better.

  • Interview Session

This is a one-on-one session where interested applicants ask a member of the Admissions Committee (AdComm) more information about IESE to determine whether it is the right school for them. The IESE Interview Session was helpful because it allowed me to get to know the school better and to sharpen my post-MBA goals, which is an important plan to establish even before you apply.

  • Information Session

In this event, IESE introduces the school to applicants mainly through a Q&A session with alumni. This was a very effective way to convince us to apply. Through this, I discovered that IESE has a tightly knit, brilliant and humble community . It’s simple. Their alumni loved IESE—I couldn’t help but become inspired and want to form part of an institution that they genuinely speak so highly about. It’s evident that after earning an MBA at IESE, you will gain not only a vast global network, but also lifetime friends.

  • IESE One-Day Visit

When my interest in IESE grew, I asked the AdComm if I could make a visit outside their set schedules of Open Days. It was beyond what I expected. AdComm organized a full day for me to get to know the school better through current students, professors, a case-study method class—which I luckily got to sit in on—and a tour of IESE’s beautiful campus. (Beautiful is an understatement when describing IESE . They say that if you bring an undecided applicant to the campus, he or she would not find it hard to decide).

This experience made it tough for me to find a second choice of business school and capped off my decision to apply only to IESE. It also proved that IESE truly does place great importance on each applicant. IESE provides you with all the help you need to get to know the school, but you need to do your part in reaching out to them to really appreciate it.


What made me more certain of IESE’s MBA and why did I apply only to IESE?

Just like in anything in life, you always have to evaluate your purpose. What is your objective for doing the MBA? Take time to reflect and make sure it is clear to you .

My goal was to learn and get quality experience from the school that was most attuned to my values and post-MBA goals. My undergraduate degree is in engineering and my professional background is in luxury marketing. My post-MBA plan is to shift into an industry that I’ve always been very passionate about: fashion marketing and retail. Farther down the road, I might explore an entrepreneurial track in the field of customer experience. By then, there may even be new industries and ventures that I have yet to discover. After IESE, the possibilities are surely endless.

Applying to only one school is risky, but the decision taught me to have courage to take calculated risks , which is the very essence of business. If you know you can, work hard on it. Sometimes, you don’t need a Plan B, just enough grit to go all out on Plan A.

To summarize the experience in three points:

1. Know yourself

What do you want to do in life and in your career? What do you think you’re capable of? What are you most passionate about? What changes do you want to make? It is important to know the answers to these questions because the decision entails a large investment. You are the author of your story; make sure you have a good idea how it will turn out .

2. Do your research

Know the schools you are applying to. It’s not enough to read about them online. Connect with people from the school and get to know the community—it will be a vital part of the decision-making process since the school will also get to know you.

3. Learn from the process

In my experience, I learned a lot during the application process before I was even accepted into the MBA program. When I relayed my post-MBA goals in an IESE Interview Session, I was told, “This is ambitious. The important question is ‘How do you get there?’” This may seem like a simple remark, but it changed the direction of my story and gave me a clearer grasp of what I wanted to do after the MBA.

My main take-away is that I am confident that IESE will be able to guide me throughout all aspects of my life during my MBA program and beyond.

I hope this is helpful to future applicants.

Now, I challenge you—Dream and Do it.

Karen Crisostomo View more

IESE Associate Director for MBA Admissions


    • @Hussein Good luck in your application process! Just go for it! With enough perseverance and determination, I’m sure you’ll get what you’ve always aspired for! 🙂

  1. I think we share the same reasonings for choosing IESE, and also a similar career ambition. I am with on my own jewelry brand now. Looking forward to meeting you soon in Barcelona as student of the class 2018. 🙂

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