Get Into IE, an Innovative Leader in Business Education [Episode 197]

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One of the more interesting trends that has emerged in graduate management education in the last ten years is increasing choice and an ever-growing array of specialized masters to complement flagship full-time MBA programs along with different methods of teaching. A leader in this trend is IE, a business school located in Madrid, but with a global and entrepreneurial outlook.

Today’s guest is Jean Marie Winikates, Director of IE’s North American office. She earned her MBA from IE in 2003 and has been working for IE and growing its North American presence since her graduation. IE offers over 30 masters programs in business, allowing students to choose between general management programs like its full-time MBA or highly specialized programs like its Masters in Business Analytics and Big Data, or its Masters in Market Research and Consumer Behavior. We’ll learn more directly from our Jean Marie. Welcome!

What do all IE programs have in common? [2:50]

Core to all our programs – whether specialized masters or MBA – is a strong business foundation. No matter what your area of expertise, you need a strong business foundation.

Before we dive into a sampling of the programs at IE, what is driving the creation of this menu of options? What’s the back story? [4:00]

The school was founded by an entrepreneur, aiming to train the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The expanded programs reflect the changing marketplace and the need for employment and the global workforce. We’re looking at the future – where people will be employed and the skills they need.

How do you address concerns that Madrid is not a global business center? [5:30]

A lot of people are interested in studying in Western Europe. Spain is one of the largest countries in Europe, and Madrid is the largest city in Spain. A lot of people are attracted to Spain because of the history and language – Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.

Can you give an overview of IE’s one-year International MBA? [7:03]

There are two intakes, in spring and fall (there’s no difference in the structure or the program). It’s a one year accelerated program – students are in class Monday through Friday, nine to three, like a full time job.

The program includes a six-month module of core skills, and an entrepreneurship/intrepreneurship lab period, then an elective module. Because a lot of people come to IE for entrepreneurship, they’re particularly interested in the lab period.

Who is it for? [9:37]

The average age is about 29, with about five years of work experience. Ninety percent of the class is international, with over 70 nationalities represented in each intake.

What does the program do for the students’ careers? Does it prepare people for career change? What type of careers do people go into upon graduation? [10:54]

The majority of our grads go to multinationals. About 25% of our alumni own their own companies, so a lot of our grads start companies. Some go back to their family businesses.

There’s definitely opportunity for people to make career shifts if they want to. We look for people from diverse industries and functional areas, so students can learn a lot about different opportunities.

Is your placement global? Is it better for people who are open to working anywhere in the world, or who want to return to the US, etc? [14:25]

There are various factors to take into account with international recruiting: work permits, visas, language.

On average, people have three languages coming through our program – though all our classes are taught in English.

If you can learn a new language and are open to opportunities you’ll be surprised at the number of places you can go.

Be open! It’s often the ones who are most adamant about coming back to the US who don’t come back.

What is IE looking for in International MBA students? [17:10]

Languages are not required, but we do require English skills. We look for a strong educational and professional background, and the aptitude to succeed in our program. We consider the GMAT or GRE. (A lot of our programs don’t require exams. We do also have our own exam that people can take, but if you’re applying to programs at other schools it makes most sense just to take the GMAT or GRE.)

What is the difference between the International MBA and the Global MBA? [19:10]

The Global MBA is appropriate for somebody who wants to pursue the MBA while staying employed at their job. In terms of the structure: it’s online with three one-week residential periods in Madrid. It’s a 15-month program.

In terms of careers – everybody has access to career services. Many students in the Global MBA are sponsored by their employers and plan to return to those positions.

In the blended program, almost 50% of students change their goals through the program, and end up changing their role in the company, searching for a new position, etc.

Is the content in the Global MBA similar to the International MBA? And it’s just the delivery that’s different? [23:00]

Correct. Also, the Global MBA is not as modular with regard to electives, because of the delivery system.

Is there a difference in student profile? [24:00]

It’s pretty similar overall. Sometimes the average level of experience goes up or down a year depending on the year. Often the Global MBA is more attractive to people who are a little more settled in their careers.

Why the emphasis on “International” and “Global”? [26:00]

When we talk about the number of nationalities we have on campus, we are truly diverse. You are meeting people from all over the globe.

And not just that, it’s the courses themselves: when we teach accounting, we cover Asian Accounting, Islamic Accounting, etc, and in class, you really get a dynamic global perspective.

Can you give an overview of the Masters in Business Analytics and Big Data? [28:10]

It’s a 10-month program – full time, in Madrid. It’s also offered in a blended format starting in January and going for 17 months.

The program covers topics including: big data and professional skills, digital analytics, financial services, database modeling, SQL. The real outcome is to be able to take data and turn it into information. It’s a really cool course.

Where do grads work? [32:00]

In business consulting, as data analysts, research analysts – across industries, because every industry uses data.

There’s a wealth of opportunity for people with a data science background.

What kind of background do students need to have? [33:45]

We look for people who are interested in business and want to be an expert in measuring results. People with a technology/analytics background. Some people in the program have a science background, but mainly business.

Can you tell us about the Masters in Market Research and Consumer Behavior (MRCB)? How similar is this to the Masters in Big Data? [35:05]

This program is about the science behind people’s decision making processes – how/why someone makes the choices they do, what is the science behind that. When you’re at the checkout at the store you see the way items are laid out: what is the science behind that?

The school is global and international. It’s such an amazing experience to be in a program with people from so many places. It’s rewarding not just professionally, but personally. [37:35]

Do you have advice for applicants? [38:50]

The most important thing is to tell your story. Sometimes people get so caught up in the questions that they forget to talk about who they are.

We read a lot of applications, and the ones that are the most meaningful are the ones where by the time you finish reading the application, you feel like you’ve gotten to know that person. Don’t try to be different, just be yourself. You’re unique.

Click here to listen to the show!

Related Links:

IE Masters in Business Analytics and Big Data
IE Masters in Market Research and Consumer Behavior
7 Steps to MBA Acceptance in 2018
IE MBA Application Essay Tips

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