IESE Business School in Spain is a force to reckon with, not just in Europe but also around the world. Its full-time MBA was ranked among the top 10 globally in 2022 by Financial Times.
For applicants with lesser experience who’re interested in getting a business masters degree from a top business school, IESE also offers a Masters in Management (MiM) program.
Other than the exposure and experience that MiM programs provide, another attraction for young students is its affordability.
The tuition fee of €44,550 makes the 11-month-long IESE MiM more affordable than the MBA. The estimated living cost is around €1,590 per month.
The IESE MiM employment report reveals that 94% of the last class found jobs within 3 months of graduation. One third made a triple jump – changing their industry, function and geography. Three out of four students took up jobs in high-paying industries such as technology (32%), consulting (25%) and financial services (19%).
We caught up with Javier Guerra, MiM Admissions Director at IESE, to find out more about its unique positioning and what students can look forward to – during and after the program.
IESE Master in Management (MiM)
Admissions, Careers, Academics, Scholarships
Q&A with Javier Guerra | MiM Admissions Director
Introduction to IESE MiM
MBA Crystal Ball (MCB): What are some of the interesting facts about the IESE MiM program that you’d want applicants to know?
IESE: IESE’s MiM is unique in our focus on the case method style of teaching. Very few Masters program in the world uses the case methodology as much as we do – our MiM students discuss over 300 real-life business cases in 11 months!
The case methodology is a hands-on learning approach that allows our students to develop valuable skillsets required to succeed in the business world such as critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, communication. Building these skills early on in their careers help our students to launch their careers in different sectors from consulting and finance to technology and consumer goods.
At IESE, we strongly value diversity as we believe this enriches and broadens the perspectives of our students.
In our MiM class, we have students from over 30 nationalities and from various academic and professional backgrounds.
Students learn to adapt and collaborate with people from different backgrounds and nationalities, which is critical for those aspiring towards an international career.
Finally, teamwork and collaboration are pillars of the IESE culture. The IESE community is very close-knit, students develop strong bonds during the program and become active members of the 52000+ global alumni community after they graduate.
MCB: With many top business schools moving towards cheaper online/hybrid programs, what are the advantages of pursuing a traditional, on-campus, full-time program such as the IESE MiM?
IESE: While there are many online or hybrid programs available, there are certainly many advantages that an on-campus, full-time program can offer.
Firstly, the case methodology relies heavily on interactive discussions in class, where students exchange ideas and gain new perspectives. Students are not just listening to the professor or reading textbooks, but are expected to actively participate in class. The professors are there to guide the discussions and ensure that the learnings from the case are brought out, but will not be providing answers to the students.
Through the face-to-face interactions, students are better able to hone their communication skills, such as public speaking or the power of persuasion.
It is not as easy to connect emotionally with others or detect cultural nuances solely through online interactions.
I’m sure some of you may have also experienced “Zoom fatigue”, where you feel exhausted from spending too many hours on your computer screen. Being on-campus often deepens your learning as students are often able to concentrate better when they are attending classes in person and practicing active listening. We have a strict no open laptops policy in class, to ensure that our students are engaged in the discussion.
Furthermore, interacting with your classmates in person will certainly help to strengthen your bonds and connections. One of the benefits of joining a top-ranked business school is building a strong international network, and you are able to build trust much more quickly in person and through informal conversations. Students often stay on campus after school to study together and to enjoy the sun in our beautiful gardens before heading home.
Finally, majority of our students come from outside of Spain. For them, relocating to a different country provides them with a unique experience where they can be immersed in a completely different culture and push themselves out of their comfort zone. The personal growth and maturity that comes from living away from home can be transformative. In this process, students learn to be adaptable, which is an important skill valued by international employers.
MCB: Other than the average age and work experience differences, how does the IESE MiM program differ from the IESE MBA – in terms of academics, class experience and careers?
IESE: In terms of academics, both IESE MiM & MBA programs leverage the Harvard-style case method as the main teaching methodology. Classes are interactive discussions, where students take on the roles of CEOs and managers to solve real-life business issues. Both programs also focus on general management, with the objective of giving students a holistic view of business and management to prepare them for leadership roles. For the MiM, since it is a relatively new program, it is designed with current business needs in mind so there are classes like Product Management, Fintech, New Venture Creation and a Python Bootcamp.
As for class experience, at IESE we value diversity and peer to peer learning, so in both our programs you will be able to interact with classmates from all over the world and from different professional backgrounds. Being in a multi-cultural environment trains our students to be adaptable, collaborate with people who are different from you and ultimately can prepare them for international careers or roles within international organizations.
In this year’s MiM class, there are over 30+ nationalities represented in the program.
We have a strong Career Development Center (CDC) to support our MiM & MBA students in their job search. Our MiM graduates are able to secure jobs across a variety of sectors including technology, consulting, finance, consumer goods and more. The difference between the career outcomes for MiMs and MBAs is that the roles available to MiM graduates are typically analyst or graduate level roles since our MiM have 0-2 years work experience, whereas the roles available to our MBAs are targeted at mid-career professionals with 5 years of experience on average.
IESE MiM Admissions Process
MCB: What are the basic eligibility criteria for applicants? Are candidates with 3-year bachelor’s degrees eligible to apply?
IESE: As a post-graduate business school, we require all candidates to have completed a bachelor’s degree, including a 3-year bachelor’s program. We also require one of the following tests for your application – GMAT, GRE or IESE Test.
The IESE Test is an online test that we offer, similar in format to the GMAT but with a pass/fail grading system.
Please feel free to submit your profile on our website for informal feedback or contact the Admissions Team if you have any doubts about the application process.
MCB: How do you evaluate MiM applications? Explain the various steps involved from the time the application is received until a final decision is made.
IESE: We have a rolling admissions policy and applicants typically will receive a final decision within 4-6 weeks of submission. After you have submitted your application, the Admissions Committee will review all the information to determine if you will be selected to the next stage of the process.
If so, you will be invited for a 1-1 video interview with a member of the Admissions Committee. The objective of this video interview is for us to better understand who you are, your motivations, your aspirations and to assess your fit with IESE’s culture and community.
This is also your chance to tell your story. After the interview, the Admissions Committee will review all the information and hopefully we will be sending you your admit decision!
MCB: How does an applicant assess if he or she will be the ‘right fit’ with the program? In what way can that ‘fit’ be demonstrated in the application?
IESE: It is very important for applicants to have a clear idea of what they are hoping to gain through their Masters and to identify which programs fit their criteria. IESE stands out from other schools in many different ways, for example in our mission-driven culture, people-centric approach, rigorous teaching methodology, general management focus, personalised career support, global mindset, being located in the vibrant city of Madrid and more. Our students generally value these aspects and this is why they have chosen to join our program. If what we are offering is not what you are looking for, then I would suggest that you look for other programs that are better suited for your needs.
As a first step, I would suggest that applicants do their research thoroughly by engaging with various business schools to truly understand how each school is different and what makes a particular program stand out.
You can demonstrate your fit by showing a clear understanding of what the school or program offers and how it can help you to achieve your goals. Be specific and use personal examples, because your needs are not going to be same as for other applicants.
MCB: How important is it for you to know that the applicant has clarity about career goals?
IESE: Some of our students have a very clear idea about their future career goals while others are using the MiM to explore different career paths.
While it is not critical to have full clarity on your career goals, generally we would like to understand what interests you, why it interests you so it is important that you are able to explain this well in your application.
It will be beneficial for you to have a good sense of the direction you want to take in order to make the most out of your Masters experience and avoid being lost or overwhelmed. I would advise applicants to spend some time thinking about your career goals before submitting your application.
MCB: Can you share some DOs and DONTs – with the MiM essays for international applicants? Anything in the application that’s a complete turn-off?
IESE: Show that you’ve done your research. Explain clearly what attracts you to our school and program. Use personal examples and try to avoid being too generic. Make sure you’re answering the essay question, and not re-using examples from other applications.
Have someone proof-read your essay to make sure it’s clear to a third party.
Be authentic, show us who you are and try not to say something just for the sake of it – it’s very easy for the Admissions Committee to tell when you are not being genuine.
It may seem simple but please avoid any spelling errors. This is a reflection of you as a professional and the care you put into your work. It can leave a negative impression. It is difficult for the Admissions Committee to believe that you are committed to our program if you misspell the name of our school (which we have encountered before!).
MCB: What can students with low GMAT/GRE scores do to strengthen their MiM application?
IESE: We look for academic excellence in our students as we want to make sure that you can perform well in our program. Our MiM curriculum is very rigorous, and it requires students to have a good grasp of quantitative subjects along with strong communication and teamwork skills.
If you have a low GMAT / GRE score, I would suggest retaking it at least once to show that you have put in some effort to improve your score.
I would advise you to make sure that you demonstrate that your abilities to handle quantitative subjects in other ways, whether its through your university major or through other types of external courses.
IESE MiM Scholarships & Financial Aid
MCB: Approximately what percentage of the incoming class receives a scholarship?
IESE: We offer a wide variety of scholarships ranging from 10% to 60% of tuition to support our students, mostly merit-based.
Typically about 40% of our class receives some type of scholarship from us.
We have special scholarships dedicated to outstanding female applicants, applicants from emerging markets, those with a STEM or entrepreneurial background etc.
MCB: Does IESE have tie-ups with financing institutions?
IESE: We work with several loan providers such as Prodigy Finance and local banks like Banco Santander and Banc Sabadell. These are the most common options used by our students, for more information you can contact our Financial Aid office so they can offer more specific advice (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Academics @ IESE MiM
MCB: What are some of the unique courses and learning methodologies adopted in the IESE MiM program? What makes the case method such a powerful tool for learning?
IESE: As mentioned earlier, IESE stands out for our emphasis on the case method style of teaching across our programs including the MiM. This teaching style requires a high level of training for our professors, to be able to “orchestrate” the class discussion effectively. This is no easy feat, considering that professors need to master the case, its details and learning points while ensuring that the audience is engaged and contributing their perspectives. By reviewing and solving business cases together in class, students are constantly training their decision-making skills which they may not be able to learn so easily through textbooks alone.
What makes the case method even more powerful at IESE is the diverse class profile. In the MiM, students are interacting with classmates from over 30 nationalities and from different academic backgrounds. The case method harnesses the diversity of experience, academic knowledge, cultural insights and creativity of the students to broaden each individual’s mindset and perspectives. As compared to lectures where students are more passive, this type of classroom environment promotes peer to peer learning where students learn from each other’s background and experiences. This also helps students to forge close bonds with their classmates.
Apart from the case method, we believe in experiential learning to help our students build practical knowledge and skills that they can apply once they join the workforce.
For example, one of the highlights of the program is an Executive Simulation (also known as EXSIM) where students will spend a week acting as executive board members (CEO, CFO, COO…) facing real life challenges such as a workers strike or cash flow shortage where they will have to learn to make decisions that will have a direct impact on the organization.
This is a very unique experience that few schools offer, and I highly recommend it! Another student favourite last year was our Fintech course, where our professor ran a class within the Metaverse on the topic of NFTs and cryptocurrencies for students to experience and understand the benefits of this technology.
MCB: How have things changed in the post-COVID era?
IESE: During the pandemic, we invested in technology, infrastructure and training to ensure that we would be able to continue conducting classes in an online environment. We continue to leverage this to enhance the learning for our students. For example, our professors are now able to invite guest speakers from all over the world to join their class virtually to share their experiences with students, thanks to this new technology. Post-COVID, our students certainly value face-to-face interactions much more after having spent the last couple of years online, and many of them appreciate spending time with their classmates on campus.
Since June 2020, our campuses have been fully open and we are welcoming applicants for in-person events and campus tours. If you are in Madrid, I would encourage you to contact us to schedule a campus tour.
MCB: In what ways do you ensure that the MiM curriculum remains relevant and is designed to make students future-ready?
IESE: As mentioned earlier, since the MiM was launched at IESE only 4 years ago, it is designed with current business needs in mind. We have courses such as “The World in 2050”, where the professor invites senior executives as guest speakers, to discuss future business trends and what they are doing to prepare their organizations to address issues like climate change or population growth. This way, students get deep insights on how executives and businesses operate as well as their decision making process.
At IESE, our professors are required to conduct a high level of research which means that they are often doing consulting work for companies and in touch with senior executives. This ensures that they are aware of current trends in business, which is valuable knowledge that they bring to the classroom as well.
Finally, we also have practical workshops such as the Python Boot Camp to help students to build digital skills for their careers.
Careers @ IESE MiM
MCB: Technology, consulting and financial services are the top three recruiting industries for IESE MiM grads. What are some of the more popular roles in each?
IESE: Our MiM graduates are generally recruited for various analyst or associate roles or in graduate programs.
- Kira Brakhage, MiM 21 joined Microsoft as a Cloud Strategist in Ireland.
- Elisabetta Mansutti, MiM 21 is a Client Success Associate at Gartner in Spain.
- Gustavo Silva, MiM 21 had joined Morgan Stanley as an Debt Capital Markets Analyst in the UK.
- Emma Lotz, MiM 20 started out as a Finance Analyst for Expedia Group in the UK.
- Our students have joined top firms such as McKinsey, Bain and BCG in their global offices as associates. Some examples are Cheng-Chien Yang, MiM 22 at McKinsey and Lasse Degner, MiM 22 at BCG.
As you can see, our students are able to pursue different career paths with the support and exposure from the program.
MCB: Can you share a few success stories of IESE MiM grads who’ve made interesting career transitions?
IESE: One example is Yuyan Lai, MiM 20 who is a graduate from China who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Business English) and had experience working in the legal sector prior to her MiM. After graduation, she has been working for a fintech company in Madrid.
A common misconception that applicants may have is that if they study in Spain, then they are only able to work in Spain after they graduate. That is not true.
As one of the top business schools in the world, we have relationships with global employers who are hiring for roles all over the world.
A good example is Rananjay Masuda, MiM 22 who graduated from University of Mumbai with a Bachelor of Commerce. He has experience working for a Big 4 company in India and post graduation, will be joining Deloitte in the UK as an analyst.
MCB: What can international students enrolled do before and during the program to improve the odds of getting their dream job?
IESE: Prior to starting your Masters, I would suggest spending time reflecting on yourself. What are your career goals? What strengths or transferable skills do you have that you can leverage? Once you have identified this, you should be able to see clearly what are the gaps that you need to bridge in order to achieve your goals. Think about how you can bridge these gaps, whether its through gaining more relevant experience through an internship, networking with your target companies or taking additional courses to build up your skills.
During the program, you should continue to leverage the resources of the school to bridge these gaps and to strengthen your profile. Think about your story, and put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter. How would you convince them that you are the best person for the role?
One common mistake that I have seen from applicants is that they are not able to clearly articulate why they are interested in a certain sector/role or why they would be a good fit with the company. If you are not able to explain this well, then it will be very challenging to convince any recruiter to hire you.
MCB: How important is it for students to know Spanish? Would not knowing it be a handicap for any specific roles?
IESE: In the MiM, our program is completely conducted in English so there is no requirement to know Spanish. All the students and professors speak in English so international students should not have any concerns.
If your goal is to work in Spain, then it will certainly be to your advantage to learn some Spanish. Some roles in consulting or marketing will certainly require knowledge of the local language for you to perform your job well. This will apply in other European countries such as France, Italy or Germany. Some technical or finance roles may not require you to be fluent in Spanish. However, depending on how international the company is, you may need some basic knowledge of Spanish to interact with your colleagues.
However, I want to emphasize that as a top global business school, our students have access to international opportunities and you are not limited to just career opportunities in Spain. Our students get offers across Europe and in Asia as well.
MCB: How does the Career Development Center help students with the recruitment process?
IESE: We have a very strong CDC to help our students achieve their professional goals. The CDC does two main things – working closely with companies that are actively recruiting MiMs & MBAs to connect our students with these opportunities; working closely with students to make sure you are equipped with the tools and resources that you need to prepare and succeed in your career. Throughout the year, we host various events including our largest event – the MiM Career Forum where we have various companies and recruiters from different sectors meeting with our students on campus or virtually.
At the very start of the MiM program, there is a 1 week intensive Careers Boot Camp where we have career focused activities to help students understand what it is you really want and where you fit, build a solid and long-lasting career network, build and leverage in-depth sector knowledge, be prepared for selection-processes and interviews, and ultimately be ready to sell yourself and your story. Throughout the school year, we have various workshops to help students develop relevant skills such as interviewing and salary negotiations. Furthermore, the CDC has an open door policy where we offer 1-1 counselling for students, so that students can receive personalized support and guidance in the job search process. We believe in more than just about getting the next job, we want to prepare you for your lifelong career.
MCB: Are there any new initiatives that are underway at the IESE MiM program that you’d like prospective applicants to know?
IESE: Last year, we introduced an international module where students were able to spend 1 week in our New York campus taking courses such as experiential marketing and fintech. This was very well received, and now we are in the process of planning for another international module to Africa so that students can learn about doing business in emerging markets.
Additionally, after the academic program is completed in July we are now giving students the flexibility to complete a 3-6 month internship in Spain by scheduling the official graduation in December.
This will provide students with the opportunity to gain more professional experience and apply what they have learnt in an international setting or if they prefer, they can start their full-job as well.
MCB: Other than the information available on the official website, what are the additional avenues for interested applicants to learn more about the IESE MiM? For instance, webinars, one-on-one interaction with the admissions team (via email/phone), alumni connect and other options.
IESE: I would encourage applicants to learn more about our program through our virtual events such as the Virtual Open Day where you can experience our distinctive case class discussion with our renowned faculty and participants from all over the world or our Alumni Panel where you can hear from our graduates about how the IESE MiM has transformed their careers and lives.
To get more insights into the program, we have plenty of resources available online such as our IESE MiM blog or Frequently Asked Questions page. If you have specific questions about your profile and would like to receive informal feedback, you can submit your details and CV on our website and request for an interview with a member of our Admissions Team. You can also connect with our alumni via the Alumni Spotlight page.
We wish you all the best in the application process!