Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Business school selection and why I chose IESE Business school

Recently in an earlier post I had a chance to receive a lot of feedback on what should i blog about in my subsequent posts. This post is to address a suggestion from a reader named Jeffrey who suggested that that i write about my reasons for selecting the schools that I applied to. I also thought I'll add why I chose IESE Business school in the end.

Before I selected my schools, I did some self-reflection on what I want from a business school. I had written about it in a post called Selecting Business schools. At that time, one thing was clear to me - I did not want to go to a US Business school. Now don't get me wrong; MBA was invented by the Americans, and US has great b-schools. But after studying, living and working in the US for a considerably long time, I wanted to experience something different - something that would add a significant weight to my overall profile; something that would make me my profile more international.

There were two options in front of me - Asia and Europe, and honestly at the beginning of the admissions process I was really eager to study in Asia. But at a later stage, I realized the importance of diversity and how a diverse network can radically impact one's profile. European schools are the champs when it comes to diversity. For example, IMD in Switzerland has a class of about 100 students of which about 95% of the students are international and they come from about 50 different countries. Now isn't that awesome! But this did not keep me from applying to Asian schools. I applied to a bunch of them. I got rejected from a few hkust and got accepted to a few NUS.

The other reason why I was not drawn to Asian schools, as much I was towards IESE, was the feedback that i got from students and alumni. I felt that the atmosphere there is more competitive and less collaborative. Now this is not at all uncommon in Asia and my asian friends would agree here with me. MBA is Asia is relatively new but is definitely growing at a rapid pace. I think in a few years Asian schools would become as international (student diversity) and as collaborative as the European and American (diversity - nah!) b-schools. But for now that did not work for me.

I also applied to a business school in China - Tsinghua University and which btw is considered the MIT of China. I did a tremendous amount of research and homework on this, as you can imagine, studying in a country like China can be quite intimidating for a non-chinese. The school was suggested by one of my mentors. I even started learning mandarin for that. But again, I learnt from students and alumni that I definitely had to struggle and work enormously if i wanted to establish a career in China! So even after being interviewed by the school, i dropped the idea. (On a side note: Mandarin is a brilliant language and i recommend everyone to try to learn it. There are very few languages with as much cultural tie-up as Mandarin).

Now to the million dollar question - Why did I choose to apply to IESE?
Here are my top 5 reasons:

1. Diversity - IESE is an international program with a diverse student body. Students come from around 55 different countries and from various fields - from fashion designing to biomedical engineering.

2. Reputation - Isn't that obvious? well ofcourse but I am not the person who just goes by rankings. High rankings are good but they are even better if it fits your need!

3. Location - The first country I took off my list of places where I could do my MBA was Canada. Why? Because its cold. I am not a fan of chilly winters and even living in NJ for the past 5 years have not made me appreciate it. So for a person who loves warm places and loves beaches - Barcelona is a dream.

4. Student community - Of the b-school student community that i've interacted with there was no school with such an active and helpful student community as that of IESE. They were always ready to talk and ready to help.

5. Case Study Method - IESE is a case study based school which means that at least 80% of the classes are case-based. I love case studies and i would prefer it any day over a boring lecture! But in order to be 100% sure I attended a sample case study presentation organized by the school and needless to say I was sold!

One additional reason: The Assessment day - The AD was an event that has become a part of IESE's admissions process since 2008. I thoroughly enjoyed the event and was rather impressed by the measures that the school took to make sure they have a great incoming class. The day screamed of team work and collaboration. This was the day that i decided that if i get admitted I'm going to IESE.

So that was my b-school selection story. I would also love to hear yours, if you have already selected your schools or would love to hear your reasoning if you are in the process of selecting b-schools. So go ahead and post your views or stories in the comment section.

Cheers and have a great rest of the week!

28 comments:

  1. all i would say is that apart from a good profile you might be lucky and rich. there is no dearth of talent out there but many chuck away international b schools because of financial constraints and personal (family) limitations. you are lucky that you are working in NJ earning in dollars. so its much easier to spend in euros. also it appears you are not being tied down because of family committments and are free to move around the world.

    ReplyDelete
  2. HI there, and thanks for your comments! So are you saying that the reason i went with IESE might be because of how much i earn and due to luck. He he no my friend. Thats not the case. Neither am i rich, nor do i call myself lucky. If you read my older posts on gmat you will realize my glorious stories of luck! I could definitely not afford the fees - definitely not. But the good thing is that IESE has a guaranteed loan program and I'm a risk taker willing to take risks. I believe in myself that I can work hard and pay off the mammoth loan that i'm going to take.
    My decision to go to IESE is far away from these reasons. My reasons are stated above! BTW just to let you know, I've known people from India, who were married, who went to Wharton and definitely did not have $150K in their bank account to pay for it. They were just risk takers and believed in themselves.

    Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hari, thanks for this post(and for mentioning my name ;-) ). One thing which I was expecting to see in your list of reasons would have been placements, but I take it that unlike Asia(or rather India), there's no actual placement season in most European or American B-Schools where companies come to campus to conduct interviews and offer positions.
    Unrelated to this post, before you went ahead with the MBA plan how did you assess yourselves financially? You said that IESE has a guaranteed loan program but not all B-schools have that, so I guess you would have had to come with some rough plan on the finances. If it's not too personal would you mind elaborating on that.
    Thanks again for your info.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Jeffrey, thank for the comment. Yes placements were a parameter, and sorry if i did not mention it. Actually, I strongly believe that one does not require a brand backing to get up the ladder. The brand helps but its not a necessity. So i was willing to go to a school which gave me a great educational experience along with the other parameters that i mentioned in the post rather than being too mushy about placements. So basically i wasn't only looking for a school that had a 99% placement rate. If that was the case, i would've applied only to the IIMs :)

    But just fyi, IESE conducts a Career Forum which is considered the largest of its kind in Europe, where many companies come and actively recruit students!

    Now coming to the finances - Yes it was a concern but that was one thing that I honestly did not give too much emphasis. I was ready to take the risk of investing too much for a good education. Like i said, if people from India are coming to Wharton to study without any huge saving, then its do-able! My strategy was apply to the best possible schools and I'll worry about crossing the bridge (financing) when i get to it!

    Hope this answers your query!

    ReplyDelete
  5. "... Tsinghua University and which btw is considered the MIT of China...There are very few languages with as much cultural tie-up as Mandarin"

    Yes, Tsinghua University is the first class university in China.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Hari.
    I congratulate you for getting through IESE Business School. I've also researched about the school and found it nowhere near the US Top tier Schools. Moreover, it's reputation outside Spain is also poor.

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello ...

    I am a faithful follower of this blog so interesting ... Business is my life ... For this reason I always keep looking for informed articles, magazines and news about her subject. This helps me to be every day a better businessman and my business so keep updated

    Stacy H.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love the way you post your thoughts - amazing.

    mba

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi, great great blog, very helpful.

    I was just wondering if you could elaborate on the assessment day at IESE. I've been invited to it and have no clue what to expect. You said you enjoyed it but to be honest it makes me quite nervous as it is a full day where you are being assessed on every word and action you do. It would help to know what exactly we will be doing.

    Will we be put "on the spot" a lot? i.e. presentations in front of the group etc? number tests, logic tests etc?

    any thoughts would help!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. NICE POST!! MBA students can gain knowledge and advance your career. MBA degree is necessary in today’s business world. If u want to know aboutStudy Abroad in USA. please visit :-
    Study Masters in USA.
    Thanks for sharing a valuable information.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This link gives all the information about the Syudy abroad in USA
    Study Abroad in USA
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you for sharing such type of information.there are very help full information for every one.keep sharing this type of information
    Study Abroad in USA
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you for sharing such type of information.there are very help full information for every one.keep sharing this type of information
    Study Abroad in USA
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  14. This website is very good for the students who want to study in abroad.keep sharing this type of information
    Study Abroad in USA
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  15. Since now everybody want to opt for management courses and MBA is one among them.The following website gives the complete details regarding the colleges for mba in abroad.Study Abroad in USA
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  16. The MBA designation originated in the United States the MBA program are designed to introduce students to the various areas of business.Study Abroad in USA
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  17. Most of the working professionals who have good work experience are interested in doing Executive MBA in top b-schools in USA,
    Executive MBA rankings for the top US b-schools
    The mentioned url here will give the exact details about the rankings and the executive MBA

    ReplyDelete
  18. MBA in India is one of the best professional degree and also has lot of career offers

    It's never too late to get admissions in b-schools in India 2013-2015
    Just click the above mentioned above url to know more about the admission in b-schools

    ReplyDelete
  19. Nice blog!!! Good to see such a wonderful blog We offer you complete list of mba colleges in delhi with a++,a+ rankings and Having good placements on Behalf of your academic percentages Like your 10th %,12th % and Graduation % and Entrance Score.
    MBA Colleges in Delhi

    ReplyDelete
  20. Alike sort of occupation requires serious brains as well as logical thinking in a stable and structured form. Reflections over custom thesis writing we have at http://papersmart.net/thesis.html resource done by smart custom writers are worthy of a deep research on a pointed theme.

    ReplyDelete
  21. The top B-Schools in Delhi provide the candidates the best MBA Education along with the good placements record.
    Top MBA colleges and fee structure in delhi
    Thanks for sharing helpful information.

    ReplyDelete
  22. The Master of Business Administration is a graduate degree in business or the commerce that attracts the people from a wide range of academic disciplines. The MBA degree has achieved a worldwide recognition.
    Which MBA program would be best for you

    ReplyDelete
  23. One will visit all the websites of the B-Schools,many of them say the same things like Great Campus,Good Facilities,Best Faculty, The Alumini ,Application Process being easy last but not the least 100% Placements.Many things comes in mind when you think about which best B-School in India to apply.
    How to decide which B-School to apply for

    ReplyDelete
  24. The Master in Business Administration program is basically two year course.There are various numbers of streams like MBA in Criminal Justice or MBA in Clinical Research Management, MBA in Islamic Banking and Finance, MBA in Media and Entertainment and even MBA in Family Business Management.
    The 5 interesting MBA specializations that most of them are not aware of

    ReplyDelete
  25. MBA is the most preferred choice for students, who are willing for post-graduation in India. Students select the best B schools in India, based on the placements and facilities.
    Top 50 MBA colleges in India

    ReplyDelete