In April this year, we invited a group of outstanding university students to IESE’s Madrid Campus as part of our High Potential Leadership Experience (HPLE). These students were selected out of a large pool of applicants for a day-long event where they could experience IESE’s distinctive case method style of teaching firsthand, acting as CEOs for the day and discussing various leadership and strategy cases. They also had the chance to sharpen their networking skills and connect with like-minded peers from all over the world. Medeline Agita Tenardi, a participant from Indonesia shares here experience here.
Hello! I’m Medeline, a rising senior at Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia studying Biomedical Engineering. Surrounded by people who have studied abroad, for example my sister who went to the US for her undergraduate studies and peers who have joined exchange programs, I have always wondered what learning outside of Indonesia would be like. I did not consider studying abroad for a semester as this could delay my graduation.
However, I was very fortunate to learn about IESE’s High Potential Leadership Experience at a presentation for Young Leaders for Indonesia (YLI). The thought of studying in Spain is very intriguing, given the fact that my family and I love to travel ourselves and Spain is definitely on our bucket list. To be able to learn from amazing peers from the best universities while exploring the city sounded like a dream come true indeed. At that point of time, I also became interested in consulting. Hence, knowing that IESE and its MiM program focused on case studies made me think that I could learn more about this industry through my experience at HPLE. I decided to apply and together with a few other participants from YLI, I made it to Spain for the first time.
My friends and I first arrived at Barcelona where we were greeted with a cold breeze. Taking a cab to our first Airbnb, I was in awe of the beautiful and detailed architecture. We spent 4 days in Barcelona and took the train to Madrid, getting ready for the long-awaited event, High Potential Leadership Experience!
Entering the campus, my first impression was how spacious it was, totally different from my university campus that are packed with buildings. Seeing students studying outside in the sunlight, utilizing every corner of the campus, made me feel like this was a warm & comfortable environment. Initially, I felt a little bit shy meeting everyone as most of them were from Europe. In total, there were about 70 participants from more than 20 different countries. However, I quickly got connected with my buddy who sat right beside me who came from Turkey. We were both engaged in the class discussion but felt quite clueless at the start, so we shared our notes and helped each other if we missed anything. During the breaks, I chatted with more people and everyone was very friendly and welcoming, even though we came from such different places and from so far away. We exchanged experiences and stories, and quickly got connected to each other in no time.
One of the things that I had looked forward to the most were the learnings in class. I had imagined active discussions and sharing from brilliant minds. And I experienced just what I expected, even more. On that day, we analyzed 3 cases covering Strategy and Implementation with Prof Miquel Lladó Casadevall, Customer Orientation with Prof Elena Reutskaja, and defining our own Ikigai with Prof Álvaro San Martín. The professors always encouraged our curiosity and to ask questions, no matter what kinds of questions we had. Growing up, I’ve always had this fear of asking in class – afraid of asking a stupid question or to sound like I’m challenging the professors. But during HPLE, I was always encouraged to ask even if I had the slightest confusion or doubt. I remember vividly how one of the professors even said that when students ask questions, the professors feel more appreciated as it means we have an interest in what they teach. That perspective sounded very new to me, but boosted my confidence level in class indeed which I am very thankful of. From there, I am utterly grateful for the opportunity to learn from the best minds, from professors that are truly genuine in transferring their knowledge to us, students.
How did I prepare for the classes? Prior to the event, we were given three case studies for us to read in advance and to discuss with our assigned teams. Coming from an Engineering background, I was not familiar with case studies so this experience was totally new to me. But this is what made me enjoy the program even more. Since the cases were given beforehand, each of us had time to prepare and understand the case and problem clearly. Although I was not familiar with the case method, I didn’t have a hard time understanding the case since IESE used cases of businesses that we encounter in our daily lives, such as Starbucks and Amazons. The familiarity of the brands helped me a lot in having a thorough understanding. Apart from that, I tried to understand the cases better before the event by discussing with my school mates. I found that lots of students in my university were also interested in consulting and are already pretty familiar with case studies, so that helped me in my preparation too.
On campus, each of us was assigned to a team consisting of different backgrounds. My team alone consisted of people coming from Spain, Italy, or the UK while 2 of us were from Indonesia. Being able to hear and share different perspectives was a really interesting experience. I felt that it sharpened my knowledge and encouraged me to think deeper. Being in the same room as others who understood the case much better than me inspired me to strive even more and challenge myself. Moreover, I did not feel under appreciated at any point. My opinions were always taken into consideration and we would weigh everyone’s thoughts equally.
IESE HPLE also gave us the opportunity to network with current IESE MiM students. During breaks, the students joined us to chat and exchange experiences. It was heartwarming to know there we were genuinely welcomed by the entire community. After a series of invigorating case discussions throughout the day, we were able to enjoy a networking dinner at a hotel rooftop. There, I got to know even more people. We had lots of fun trying out Spanish food and getting familiar with Spanish songs. The whole event was topped with the beautiful view of Madrid from above. Since it was our last day, my fellow Indonesians & I took a stroll around the city at night. It was the perfect way to end our whole trip.
On our last day, the Indonesian delegates couldn’t even believe that the trip ended already. The beautiful architecture of Madrid, the extremely insightful sessions, and all of the warm welcome from the entire IESE family made us want to stay longer. To quote another Indonesian participant, “It was a really nice experience learning from the best teachers, but definitely would love to extend.” All of us agreed how it was really short – you can imagine what a great time we had! We would definitely recommend this to all of our peers and concluded that it’s an experience that one could not miss on their university days. I hope that more students, especially Indonesians can join such a golden learning opportunity like IESE’s HPLE. For me, it was a once in a lifetime experience, one which I will never forget.
Written by Medeline Agita Tenardi, HPLE 2022 participant
Registration for next year’s edition of HPLE is now open! Sign up here, the first deadline is on December 1 2022.
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