An IE Grad Reflects on Spain, School, and Career Searching

By - Jan 17, 09:30 AM Comments [0]

IE_MBA_Grad_AllisonHere’s a talk with IE Business School graduate, Allison Holmes, who has lived, studied, and worked throughout the U.S. and Europe. Read on to learn about Allison’s international b-school journey, as well as her thoughts on living in Spain, attending a one-year program, and finding a job. Thank you Allison for sharing your story with us!

This interview is the latest in an blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students and recent grads, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.

Accepted: We'd like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Where and when did you receive your MBA? Do you hold any other degrees? What is your favorite flavor ice cream?

Allison: I’m originally from Dexter, Michigan. It’s a small town outside of Ann Arbor, so I grew up a Wolverine, which came in handy when I then got my BBA from the Ross School of Business at Michigan!

After that, I spent about 8 months in London working for an American consulting company in internal HR and then moved to Madrid, Spain where I lived for 6 years and got my MBA at IE.

My favorite ice cream is a tie between Mint Chocolate Chip and Mackinac Island Fudge.

Accepted: How did you choose IE? How would you say you were a good fit for the program?

Allison: I chose IE because it had a great reputation and I was drawn to the diversity of the student body. Also, they offer family business focused electives which I found very interesting. I think my years of ex-pat experience and my interest in how culture affects business helped me to excel in IE’s International MBA program.

Accepted: What was your favorite thing about IE? Least favorite?

Allison: My favorite thing about IE was the network of people that I gained from it. To this day they are some of my closet friends, and no matter where I go in the world I know I have a friendly couch to crash on.

My least favorite part about IE is something systemic to Spain, administrative process can be unnecessarily complicated and very slow.

Accepted: What would you say are some of the plusses and minuses of attending a one-year MBA program versus a two-year MBA program?

Allison: The biggest plus of a one-year program is that you are not out of the working world for as long, which for most means less time without a paycheck. In terms of minuses, I guess I’d say that you don’t get as much down time as you would in a two-year program.

Accepted: How would you compare the attitude towards business education in the States with the attitude in Europe (or Spain in particular)?

Allison: I haven’t really noticed much of a difference. I think in both areas MBAs are starting to be seen as the norm rather than the exception in business arena.

Accepted: What was your experience with IE's career services department? What is your current job?

Allison: My experience with their career services department was not very positive. The office in Madrid is very small and they have yet to establish strong relationships with relevant recruiters. That being said, the alumni network is very strong and many people get their jobs through those connections.

I am currently working for IE in student recruitment and got the job after making connections at a local alumni event.

Accepted: Can you recommend a cozy coffee shop or library on or near campus that you used to study at and would recommend?

Allison: The best place to study in Madrid is the Retiro Park. It’s close to school, and with the great weather in Spain we would often grab a few things at any one of the neighborhood grocery stores along the way and have study picnics there.

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IE 2014 MBA Questions, Deadlines, Tips
2012 IE Business School MBA Admissions Q&A with Jean-Marie Winikates and Nita Swinsick

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This article originally appeared on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog, the official blog of

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