IE Business School (or Instituto de Empresa Business School if you prefer the original version) in Madrid, Spain offers a 13-month long International MBA (IMBA) in English / Spanish / Bilingual variations. In the recent FT MBA rankings, IE Business School’s MBA was ranked at 3rd in Europe and 8th worldwide.
Indian entrepreneur Hitesh Saini was running a successful information technology consulting business in Sweden with an annual turnover that exceeded a Million Euros (that’s roughly $1.4 million in USD). What prompted him to take up a sabbatical? Why did he choose the IE Business School MBA in Spain? How did he tackle the challenging process? He answers these questions and more.
My name is Hitesh Saini and I will be joining IE Business School’s prestigious IMBA program in April 2013. As some of you must have guessed, I am an Indian and an engineer and as most of you guessed it right, an IT guy by profession. With this post I would like to share my experience and learnings.
A brief about me – IT guy worked in 3 continents and running my own niche consulting group based in Stockholm (Sweden). I was a happy man married with two kids and a business with revenues of over a million Euros a year. Given all this I still wanted to do an MBA at the age of 35 – strange but true!
The reason from my MBA was I got an opportunity to work with the largest retailer in Nordics and launching a mobile commerce platform for the same. At this point of time I came across strategy consultant folks and after that I realized this is a niche career defining future policies and steering the course of business for any big organization. I started vouching for opportunities and soon realized its almost impossible to get a break without a proper business education.
Now comes the tough part crack the MBA code. Please remember this is a big decision and you have to take multiple baby steps to crack it. First things first be a devils advocate for yourself answering why do you need an MBA (given the current financial crunch and opportunities shrinking)? Answer it for yourself not for the school. How an MBA will help you i.e. Careers and financially. If you have a spouse be sure to talk and have a discussion about your plans, its very important.
After deciding to pursue an MBA I did a reality check with Sameer (MBA Crystal Ball) where do I stand and what are my chances. Then came the tough part picking the right school and every school had its own flavor, I wanted a school that offered the flavor of my choice.
I remember spending hours researching, reading and talking to alumni from various schools to find out which school fits my needs. In fact I was lucky enough as I was based in EU i could travel to the top 4 schools in EU.
When choosing a school my top priorities were –
a. Duration of the MBA program
I was always looking for a one year program mostly due to my age and then I also didn’t want to be away from the job market due to current financial situations. I was also very much grounded to live in EU as I have spent 8 years of my life in EU and last but not the least I was a EU citizen so it was easy for me to move within Europe for future prospects.
b. Focus on Entrepreneurship & Technology
Coming from an IT background and founded ANEO, I was quite impressed with IE(school with Entrepreneur flavor). And it also fits with my future job needs of Strategy Consulting.
c. Flexibility of customizing your MBA
IE provides a wonderful experience. In the final terms I could either do a long exchange at one of the most revered universities across the globe, or I could enter the Venture Lab and get a dedicated mentor for 4 months while taking some elective subjects, or I could choose Wharton Consulting Project, or I could go totally south and serve the community and focus on corporate social responsibility. No other school in Europe gives you such a broad choice.
d. Alumni & Career Services – IE Business School for sure has one of the most helpful Alumni club which is what you need to climb the Corporate ladder for the future. Secondly Job Placement record for IE Business School Career Services isn’t the best when compared to the schools in the same league but if you are proactive and well connected during your stay at IE Business School it does work.
Recently IE Business School has been ranked Europe’s #3 bschool and it was ranked #8 for its MBA program in the world by the Financial Times in 2012.
I would also like to share my learnings from the whole process of MBA applications!
1. Once you are all in and no turning back concentrate on your GMAT forget about B-schools, MBA essays, small ifs and buts at office etc… Give yourself 2 months of preparations Theres a 60-day time-plan on Beat the GMAT which I found very useful.
My experience don’t be bothered about the score anything between 670 and 720 is decent and GMAT is part of your application and a score of 750 doesn’t guarantee an admission. I would recommend the Manhattan GMAT 8 series along with couple of websites and you are good enough. You need max two months to crack the GMAT. Very few crack it for the first time so don’t be disappointed I too did it in the second attempt.
2. Get in touch with Sameer! Shortlist the schools!
Once you are done with GMAT, Sameer from MBA Crystal Ball will give you a reality check saying what all schools you can apply and how you can improve your chances. Be open during the process. It’s very important for you to know where you stand, because this will then give you a feeling of how much you need to improve and where. Once your Bschools are shortlisted please research the schools do they fit to be part of your journey to success. Go with the MBA rankings but do your homework so that you choose the right school for your career.
3. Become a story teller.
Any business school wants to know you and the MBA essays are the only opportunity you have got to show who you are and what do you do and how are you different from the lot? The higher the MBA ranking of the school the stiffer the competition. So please take at least a day and define your lifeline on a chart with years on X-Axis and then mark every year with atleast with one achievement and failure to be used within your essays. Use the achievements and profile yourself and project a reason very strong why you want to an MBA and how will an MBA change your current stature.
4. Execution! Start submitting applications.
Pick one school at a time. Don’t try to execute multiple schools. And don’t copy paste the template which you got done. Don’t do this! Its not worth it.
Follow the simple things and for sure take some professional help if you are targetting the top schools. It does help! And if any of you need any help please connect with me through the IE Business School forum and will try to help you with the best of my knowledge and effort possible.