IESEBelow are MBA admissions interview questions and experiences submitted by IESE MBA applicants. If you interviewed at IESE, we encourage you to submit a report detailing your experience!
After submitting my application for the March deadline (round 7), I received an invitation to interview within a week. I interviewed with an adcom member at a hotel in London. My interviewer offered me coffee, explained that the interview would be fairly conversational, and began. Questions included:
- Describe your childhood until the beginning of university. What was your greatest achievement during this time?
- Why did you choose your university?
- Describe your undergraduate experience
- Describe your employment history
- Why an MBA? Why now?
- Why IESE?
- What other schools have you applied to?
- What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
- Name three firms you’d like to work for after the MBA.
- Have you visited the campus? Have you spoken with any alumni?
- Describe a situation where you used your network to achieve something.
- Is there anything else you’d like the Adcom to know about you?
- Summarise yourself in a single sentence (my answer was written down verbatim).
After this she asked me if I had any questions. Overall the interview was very relaxed, the interviewer was super friendly, and I enjoyed the whole process. The only challenge I received was when I admitted I hadn’t visited the campus and wasn’t planning to due to my work schedule – my interviewer suggested this would be a stumbling block and strongly encouraged me to attend an assessment day or at least organise an informal visit to Barcelona. The whole thing lasted a little over an hour.
I had my interview at the new IESE New York Center. This center is used for a various events at IESE from Executive programs, Short Open Programs, and many presentations throughout the year. Full-time MBA students can actually study for two weeks in NYC during their two year program. I have already attended a few visits here like Assessment Day and presentations from two IESE professors. This New York Center is a testament to IESE’s effort to expand in the US and globally.
As far as the interview, I was interviewed by Itziar and she was very easy to talk to.
Questions Asked in no particular order:
- Tell me how your friends describe you?
- Explain your resume?
- Tell me an example of when things did not work as planned and what did you do after?
- How do you explain leadership?
- Tell me a situation when you did not get along with your manager or colleagues and what you did?
- Why IESE?
- Why MBA now?
- Tell me about your childhood?
- What do your parents do?
Tips: Be authentic and try to have a conversation rather than an interview. I probably forgot some questions she asked me because it felt more like a conversation. I told her about my background and goals and she told me about her background. You should know why you want to go to IESE and how you can contribute to the community and be able to have examples for all questions. I will be attending IESE this fall 2012
Originally shared by Memoirs of a MBA Aspirant
I had my interview with an Adcom member in New York. Her name was Nani and the experience was great. She was very friendly and made me feel really comfortable. After exchanging pleasantries, she briefly explained to me the interview process and the structure. She also was taking note of everything that I was saying and I think that was great as this will avoid the interviewer forgetting what i said. Overall the interview was to know about me as a person in detail, and how the decisions I’d made in the past affected me personally and professionally. It was also to understand whether I was focused on my career path or to know whether I took what came along the way.
The following are questions that I was asked (not is the exact order):
- Tell me something about yourself.
- Can briefly speak about your childhood and what were the circumstances in which you were brought-up?
- Can you tell me about one memorable event from your childhood.
- Tell me about your parents – Where do they live and what do they do?
- Why did you come to the US and why did you plan to do your Masters degree in Engineering?
- Why have you decided to do an MBA even though you have a Masters degree in Engineering?
- Explain to me the nature of your work and how many people do you manage?
- Why did you quit your previous job?
- Tell me once instance when you disagreed with your boss and how did you handle the situation?
- Tell me once instance when you had to work with a team member with whom you could not get along. How did you handle this?
Leadership/ team work
- Leadership experience and an example. What did you learn from this experience?
- Team work example in which you succeeded and what was your takeaway?
- Why IESE?
- Why now?
- Tell me one instance when you used a contact from your network to get a task/project done.
- Why is your short term and long term goal and name some companies that you would be looking to work in post MBA?
- What other schools have you applied and why?
The interview lasted for about 1hour and 15mins. Although it was the longest interview that i had, it was pleasurable because the questions were based on me and my experience. Plus the adcom was extremely friendly which really helped me to stay composed.
Here are a few tips:
- Read your essays and explore yourself and your experiences before hand.
- Relax during the interview, the adcom is merely trying to know more about you.
- Note down some of your achievements when you prepare for the interview and think about why you think its important to you. Also think about what were your takeaways from each experience.
- Research about the school and be absolutely sure about your reasons for wanting to do an MBA at IESE (Hopefully you would have done this before applying.)
- Be prepared to ask a few question as you will be give 15 mins at the end of the interview.
Over all the interview was a great experience and I truly enjoyed the time. I got accepted to IESE and will be starting this September (2010).
My interview was scheduled over Video Conference on Monday, 25th January from Mumbai. It was conducted by Isabel Estalella, who was very warm and friendly, exchanged pleasantries, made me feel comfortable during the interview. She asked me if she could take notes during the interview, and I agreed.
It started as a general interview, where she asked me to introduce myself and share some information about my friends/family, how much I am in touch with my college group. It went on to ask me about my leadership experience/ a time when I was pushed to my limits at work, and about a person I did not get along with professionally.
The one question which caught me off gaurd was about my opinion on the Trade situation in China. Now, I am not somebody who follows the Chinese Trade laws, so I said that honestly and Isabel did not push it any further.
Below are the questions I was posed during my interview -
- Tell me something about yourself.
- Tell me something about your family.
- Describe your school life.
- When is the last time you met your college friends?
- How would your friends describe you?
- Describe the characteristics of your best friend.
- Tell me about a time when you were pushed to your limits at work.
- Describe one person you did not get along with professionally. What did you do about it. How did the person react?
- What are the 3 companies you would like to work with post-MBA
- Would you be open to returning to [my current company] post-MBA?
- What is your take on the trade situation in China?
- Are you comfortable talking in front of/ addressing large audiences of 70-80 people?
- How will you finance your MBA, if you don’t get a scholarship?
- What are the other schools you have applied to, and what is the situation of those applications?
- What excites you most about IESE?
- Strengths and Weaknesses
What surprised me was that there were no questions about Why MBA, Why now, why IESE, don’t you think you’re too young (I come with just 3 years experience, as opposed to the regular MBA applicant pool of 4-6 years) I guess my application had most of these answers clearly detailed.
The interview ended with a few questions from my side on the scholarship details, student exchange program and assessment day, scheduled to be held on Sunday, 7th Feb in New Delhi. I was told my final decision will be given about 2 weeks after the Assessment Day.
I flew to Barcelona to interview on campus having read a number of horror stories about VCs going wrong. I interviewed with a member of adcom, who was friendly, but quite business-like. Having previously interviewed for another school, I found IESE’s questions quite unusual. To start, the adcom told me that we would discuss my background, childhood experiences and the like. She seemed much more interested in this area than in the standard questions – possibly because she had already read my file (this is not a blind interview).
- Tell me about your background (personal and professional)
- Career goals (I mentioned I wanted to move to consulting and she asked me to name 3 companies that I would want to work for)
- What other B schools have you applied to and why? How successful have you been at these schools? If you are accepted to all the schools you have applied to, is IESE your first choice?
- How do you handle conflict?
- Leadership experience and example
- How I intended to finance my MBA (as I had indicated I would be applying for scholarships and fin aid)
Interestingly I was asked whether or not I’d felt pressured to travel to the school for my interview as VC was an option for me – I think this really demonstrates that IESE does not see a campus visit to be integral to an admissions decision, so don’t worry if you can’t travel there!
My interview was conducted on a Monday, 2 days prior to an adcom decision meeting (Wednesday) and I received my decision on Friday morning (via email, not a telephone call). This was substantially earlier than the stated deadline on the website for R2 admissions, but as a member of their adcom committee told me, their deadlines are more like guidelines.
While the interview questions are not necessarily standard MBA questions, I think it’s important to remember that IESE is really interested in the individual and your fit with the school. As long as you remember to highlight your fit with every question, then it’s quite straightforward (e.g. if you’re asked where else you’ve applied, don’t say Harvard as IESE is known for small class size and individual, humanish approach – technically this shouldn’t be an issue anyway if you’ve thought seriously about your application).
I was interviewed through a VC, I was interviewed by an Adcom, who is also an IESE’s alumnae, her name was Martha, sorry but I do not remember her last name. Martha is a very nice person, she started the interview with some pleasantries, she even introduce herself by providing general details of her background. She described the interview process and asked if I was ready to begin. My interview lasted 45 minutes, I did not felt pressured at all, although it is kind of weird to be interviewed in a VC, it is not the same as being interviewed in person, you can not make the same connection with the interviewer.
Martha apparently had my printed resume and essays and she went through the interview using that information, here are some of the questions that she asked me:
- Why studying an MBA at this point in my career?, why at IESE?
- Just to confirm, she asked me if I had applied to the other 2 B-schools I listed in my IESE’s application, to my surprise, she did not asked about the status of my application in these other schools….
- She asked me to describe my main job responsibilities in each job I listed in my resume, going into further detailed on my most recent positions.
- She made a specific question about a leaderhip experience I listed in my essays
- She asked me to describe my main strengths
- To finish the interview, Martha asked me what would I like the admissions board to know about me and why should I be selected to entered IESE?
Martha told me that she was going to include my case into the next weekly Admissions Board meeting and that I should hear from them next week, I was interviewed on a Thursday and I received IESE’s final decision on Monday. Although Martha explained to me that they do not provide feedback on interviews, she told me that she liked the fact that my answers were straight to the point, fully answering her questions, she told me that this will give me positive points and that the final decision was taken as a group so she could not give me any more details.
I hope you find this information useful, I would recommend that you go through your resume and essays before the interview, practicing a little bit on describing your information with more detail. Be yourself and do not be nervous at all, just confirm that you are the person they saw in your application.
I had a video conference interview with Isabella (AdCom) from IESE. She rang me up at my place of work in Australia.
The interview lasted approximately an hour, and was not a stressing experience. The videoconferencing room at IESE appeared very small, meaning that the interview took up most of the screen on my side. This was a welcome change from business video conferences, and I felt it made the interview more personal. That being said, some of the questions were unexpected (despite my best attempts at preparing).
The main prompts were (roughly in order of appearance):
- Briefly introduce yourself
- I noticed that you did not mention your wife. Tell me more about her.
- How was your childhood?
- Tell me more about your parents and grandparents.
- What do you know about IESE?
- What role do you normally take in a team environment?
- How do you plan to finance the IESE MBA?
- Have you ever experienced culture shock?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- What other universities have you applied to?
- Would you accept a spot with IESE if offered?
- Have you got any questions for me? (approximately five minutes of discussion)
The interviewer was also very helpful with answering questions, and gladly followed up through email on the questions she was unable to answer.
All in all, the interview was a very positive experience and I look forward to hearing their decision.
I used one of the best providers in my country (Russia) but still had some technical problems in the beginning which caused a 25 minutes delay. Just before the interview time I received a new extension number that didn’t work. I called to IESE and they said they had problems with their equipment. Then I received incoming call from Barcelona with just 128 kbps quality instead of 384 kbps. Though the quality of video was not very good while sound was even worth (I had to make efforts to hear questions). A guy who interviewed me was quite professional and I wasn’t sure till the last second if he’s satisfied with my answers or not. Our conversation lasted about 45 minutes and started with:
- Where I’m now and what I’m doing in Russia (the issue is that I’m living in USA and at that moment I was in Moscow waiting for a visa extension)
- Why IESE? (Here I began first explaining why I want MBA and then why at IESE)
- What do I intend to do after graduation? In which country?
- We went through my work experience, why I left my job in Moscow and moved to US.
- What will I bring to the table at IESE (Here I guess he didn’t believe my answer, I tried to explain why I’m thinking that was a valuable reason)
- What will be my greatest challenge at IESE, why?
- Following my answer he asked about my weak areas and particular examples from work experience and how I managed to go over it.
- How long I’ve been waiting for visa in Moscow and what exactly I’m doing there now.
- What is/are my first choice school/s and why (I was pretty honest listing more than one school and the criteria).
- How I plan to finance my MBA and my living in Barcelona for 2 years.
Unfortunately for me he didn’t ask anything about my hobbies (I have some very long and interesting passions which dramatically influenced my life).
Then he opened interview for my questions. We talked about issue of getting job in EU for non EU students and I guess time was ending so he finished the conversation thanking me and saying the AdCom will communicate the decision in several weeks or so.
In general I was not nervous, he was very kind and really wanted to understand my issues. Anyway I’m not sure about his overall experience (there were some moments where he seemed not to accept my explanations). But I hope to hear good news back from IESE cause it’s really great school!
I had a VC interview with Angeles on the 21st of Dec at Bangalore.
First of all, for anyone giving the VC interview in India, use Reliance. They are the best you can get in terms of quality and value for money. I really had no issues at all during the VC, except for the slight delay, which was expected.
The interview well really well. Angeles made me feel at ease. She never grilled me or put across any uncomfortable questions. She was more interested in knowing me as a person. She was very thorough with my application and had lots of questions on why I had taken certain decisions in my career and how they have helped me to be where I want.
I was also asked the usual MBA questions like Why IESE, why Now etc. Also, she asked me about whether I had experienced a culture shock before and how did I cope with it.
She also wanted to know why I wanted to shift from my current IT background and go into something new and how IESE will help me achieve my goal.
Overall, it was a real pleasent interview. I got my decision 4 weeks later (thanks to the christmas vacations), and I’m in..
My interview was very much like Monica’s interview below. I had met Brook for an information interview about 4 months ago and so we had a little bit of a rapport already, which made things a lot easier from my side. At the start of the interview Brook told me that she preferred things to be very natural and free-flowing and that she was not going to put me under any kind of pressure or ask any random questions to try and throw me off. She said her intention was to learn as much as she could from our time together and she wanted the session to be as casual as possible. This put me at ease and made the interview more like a conversation than anything else.
She divided the interview into 3 parts, just like Monica’s experience below. By the time we got through the first part she said that she felt that I had already answered a lot of the questions that she had for the second part so we briefly went over some questions that she still had, because she wanted to gauge how I related some of the things I said about myself to an actual work scenario. She asked me about a time when I had to deal with a pressure situation at work and asked me to go through the actual steps I took to deal with it. I gave her a long and detailed answer to that question and after I was done she said that it pretty much answered all the other questions she had for me in this section.
She then proceeded to give me some feedback on what she thought of me, which was a pleasant surprise as b-schools typically don’t provide much feedback during the interview. She mentioned that she doesn’t normally give feedback either, but just wanted to let me know that she liked my profile and my that she would make a positive recommendation to the Admissions Committee….which made me very happy!
She then asked me to ask her any questions that I may have for her. I had a few questions for her which she answered in great detail. I liked the fact that she took my questions and concerns seriously and tried her best to make sure that I got the answer that I wanted.
She said that I would hear back from the school by the end of March. Overall, the interview was a delightful experience, as Brook is a really relaxed and easy person to deal with.
I can’t wait to hear back from IESE in a few weeks!
Originally shared in Jacek’s blog
Interviewed by Genevieve Slonim – NYC – May 10th via VC
First of all, if you have the means to interview in person, do not rely on VC, it is impersonal, and distant. My experience included the VC place giving me the wrong ISDN No., the call dropping every few minutes, the sound / video quality was awful, the room was dry, and as someone who does magically interviews the whole VC thing was an utter disaster.
Moving on, I was initially asked about my background. I plan to move to Europe upon matriculation of my MBA, and being 19 years in the States, she wanted to know how my native tongue was. I said I was fluent, but I doubt she bought it.
Then we went into one long question after another about my employment history. It was very meticulous, and thorough, and I was asked numerous questions on why exactly I had made that choice and not another.
Post work history I was asked …
- Why do I want an MBA?
- If accepted, how and what can I contribute to the class?
- Why do I want to head my career into nation development?
- Finally, she asked if this was the only choice of employment that I would consider, and expressed to tell me that IESE only has had one or two individuals land at places like the World Bank or the EBRD.
Then it was my turn to ask questions, I asked about the Exec. Development program started in Warsaw, where IESE was headed in the future, how it was dealing with current economic conditions in the EU, and the outlook for the future. If IESE was doing any research on Energy Policy on the continent, and whether classes were taught by any professors who were on advisory boards to governments. In the end we finished the interview by phone as the VC time on their end had run out, and she told me that they would get back to me within two weeks. In the end I was not accepted and will be attending ESADE instead. However, there are / were issues with IESE that, although a great school, made me somewhat apprehensive about it.
Also should you want – there is more info on my MBA Blog, and if you ahve any questions contact me a jgrebski @ gmail.com