is a top-ranked international MBA program in Madrid, Spain. The Financial Times
ranks the program 12th in the world and Bloomberg Business Week
ranks it 2nd among non-US programs. Graduates enjoy job placement around the world – with the help of IE’s 50,000 global alumni and 27 representative offices building relationships with companies on every continent: 35% of the class accepted positions in Europe, 28% in Latin America, 12% in Asia, 12% in North America, and 8% in the Middle East and North Africa after graduation. Graduates enter diverse industries as well: the four largest fields are consulting (19% of graduates), financial services (19% of graduates), consumer products (14% of graduates), and technology (13% of graduates).
IE has three intakes (start dates) each year, so it truly has a rolling application review calendar. At any time of year, you can apply to IE! When applying, applicants must choose which session they are applying to (April, September, or January) and are accepted for the program date they chose AND the one thereafter, a big advantage in case of an unexpected hurdle in the way of attendance. (I’ve had many clients who have had to reapply after receiving acceptances to other programs when unexpected professional or personal changes have occurred because in most cases, top MBA programs will not offer deferred admissions.)IE’s application
offers a lot of choice, allowing applicants to shine the spotlight on what makes them special in truly unique ways. For example, there are 12 prompts, and applicants must respond to any three of them; however, only one of the applicant’s three responses must be answered with an essay of 400-600 words. The other two responses may be either essays OR photographs, drawings, videos, animations, or presentations a la Prezi or Slideshare hosted online.
Here are the 12 prompts to choose from, with my guidance in blue beneath each:1.
If you had the opportunity, what actions would you demand of the United Nations Secretary General and why?
IE’s International MBA program aims to develop leaders who understand other perspectives and challenge the status quo. This is a great question to answer if you have been politically active or involved in a global issue that is important to you since it will provide you a platform to discuss the issue, the efforts that you have made to shape it, and how the UN could play a role in addressing it further.2.
Describe the situation with the greatest ethical complexity that you have faced in your professional or academic life, and how your input helped resolve it.
I like the phrasing of this question because it is clear where other programs sometimes obfuscate: ethical complexity means that it was not simple to determine the right thing to do; there was no one ideal path to follow. This is your chance to demonstrate the level of decision-making you have enjoyed in your career and how you have creatively navigated complicated ethical waters.3.
Describe a time when you took a great risk. What was the outcome?
IE places a great emphasis on entrepreneurship and is seeking risk takers who think unconventionally: people who are willing to leave a steady, low return behind to instead pursue an uncertain but potentially high reward. A good essay or presentation here will show the admissions office your analysis of the potential gain and what actions you took to improve your chances of success.4.
Cite at least one example of when your leadership had an impact on or changed a certain situation, and justify how an IE Master’s Degree program would help you to strengthen or improve this competence.
Leadership can turn situations around. A good answer to this question will explain or show what the situation was and why you felt it needed to be changed. Then, it will demonstrate your leadership
– how you wooed, cajoled, and earned the support of others above, parallel, and below you in the organization to accept your ideas and how those ideas improved the situation. Strong essays will end with insight into IE’s Behavioral Fitness leadership training program and the areas in which IE will help you further improve your leadership skills.5.
Describe the most outstanding leader you have worked with. Indicate some aspects of the way you work that are similar to the way this leader works and others that are different.
A description of a role model’s leadership requires some insight into how he or she leads, makes use of his/her talents to gather internal and external support to make an impact. If you have enjoyed a front row seat to excellent management, then this essay will allow you to highlight what you’ve learned and how you’ve borrowed from that example in your own leadership experiences.6.
You have just participated in an important meeting with your superior. How will you ensure that every part of the instructions you received will properly reach all subordinates, suppliers and clients, located in different parts of the world?
IE’s International MBA program is comprised of students from 70 countries and myriad industries. The answer to this question is not just about an email that you cc to everyone , but rather must demonstrate that you understand the challenge and opportunity of connecting with global teams. Good answers to this prompt will not remain in the theoretical but will instead draw upon similar global experiences from the applicant’s past to prove their international leadership ability and cultural understanding.7.
Do you think that the lifestyle of the inhabitants of your town or city reflects behavior that is in line with the concept of sustainable development? In your opinion, what should be improved?
If you have been involved in municipal or local community service, this is the ideal essay to shine the spotlight on the issues in its sustainable development that matter to you most. IE seeks strong critical thinking skills in its students: the ability to assess strengths and weaknesses in the status quo, so good responses to this prompt will make use of that ability to discuss the ways in which denizens are living sustainably (ethically, responsibly, amid diversity, and with consideration to the environment) and could improve in doing so.8.
What do you believe are the greatest challenges facing the sector or industry you would like to specialize in at IE? What role do you hope to be able to play in this sector or industry in the medium term?
This essay or presentation offers you the opportunity to discuss the exciting advancements and challenging obstacles that lie on the horizon for your target industry. Good answers to this question will show your excitement for your chosen industry and your readiness for it.9.
Show us an activity you enjoy doing. Tell us how you think it contributes to your personal and professional development.
Oh well, they couldn’t all be phrased in interesting ways to make the applicant think, could they? This is an opportunity to share some of your experiences from outside of work and how they have helped you grow in the qualities and skills that IE is seeking: risk taking, innovation, cultural awareness, and leadership are among the most important.10.
How do you imagine social interaction within 10 years, taking into consideration the impact of technology on human relations?
Here’s an opportunity to think creatively and use a bit of a crystal ball to predict how communication and interaction will change by the year 2025. If you consider yourself particularly creative or prescient, this essay will offer you a perfect canvas to paint your prediction for the not-so-distant future.11.
If all of the world’s cultural heritage (sports, music, fashion, architecture, literature, painting, etc..) was contained in a time capsule, what would you include to demonstrate the legacy of your country?
IE’s student body is diverse for a reason: IE aims to expose its students to the sundry cultural mindsets around the world. This prompt offers you the opportunity to demonstrate how you will contribute to that discussion. What unique elements of your country’s culture do you feel embody its nature and uniqueness? Personal essays that inspire an emotional or visceral connection to that culture in the reader will be the most memorable.12.
How do you envision the city of the future?
Like option 10 above, this question allows you to share your vision of the future, albeit not limited to just a small 10-year jump through time. What changes do you anticipate in transportation, energy, industry, safety needs, education, population and/or family structure and how will they affect the structure and motion of future cities?
If you would like professional guidance with your IE IMBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and consulting
or our application package
which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the IE IMBA application.
By Jennifer Bloom
who has been helping applicants to the top MBA programs draft their resumes, application forms, letters of recommendation, and essays for 15 years. She is happy to serve as your personal coach and hand-holder throughout the entire process. There’s no time like the present to begin!Related Resources:
• Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One
• An IE Grad Reflects on Spain, School, and Career Searching
• School-Specific MBA Application Essay TipsAccepted.com
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