What’s an MBA? And why at IE?
Hi again! Sure, those questions I am making, and a lot more, are the ones every MBA candidate at IE Business School has made to him or herself at some point in time… And, of course, are the same questions that will be heard during this upcoming long year (sometimes reeeeally long year) from our close friends, family… And, why not, from every indiscreet acquaintance, that comes to know what you’re up to.
I want to study a Master, but… A MBA?
There’S a point in our career when some of us feel the impulse to keep studying. Yes, it is something most of us did not consider at all when finishing our Final Project, or suffering our last tests. Anyway, you start working, keep learning the same or more than in your University time, but… there’s a moment when you feel experience alone is not enough. That is the moment when you start evaluating possibilities in postdegree trainings, courses, Masters, etc.
For some University degrees, it seems that an MBA is a natural evolution, one step more in professional career. But it is not always the case, those that come from technical degrees (architects, engineers, doctors in medicine…) are not used to understand a MBA like something natural in our formation process. Talking from my own expierence, those who have a mainly technical profile, use to be the most hesitant before making the decission. Furthermore, having done a Master degree in Electronics before, purely technical, I think I even lost count of howm many times my coworkers, University colleagues and friends asked me -But why are you making a MBA? Isn’t it meant for economists?
I wouldn’t be honest if I would not confess that, during the admission process, which is quite complex and demanding, I did have doubts about my motivation to do a MBA, wether I was an appropriate candidate, or the MBA fit my profile/needs…A lot of doubts!! But finally, even those who have been purely technical guys, lab rats that felt comfortable with a soldering iron and an oscilloscope, feel the need to keep progressing, to assume responsibilities and, why not, to assume risks. Be it to lead a work team, be it to become CEO of a multinational company, we need training. There are a lot of gaps in our formation, that would take a lot of time to fill only with experience. And that is where the MBA comes into play, providing knowledge foundations that, hopefully, will set ground for a management career.
I already know I want to do a MBA. Now, where do I do it?
Once you’ve made The Decission, you’ll discover there is still a bunch of decissions to be made. To start with, where am I going to do my MBA? The offer is quite wide, a lot of Business Schools and Universities offer these type of master. Since the MBA boom some years ago, offer increased exponentially. And even worse, how do we know if one MBA is better than other? Sometimes, the price difference is abyssal and, of course, that is a factor to be considerated carefully.
It#s clear that there is no universal recipe to make the right decission and, even when satisfied, there’s such an offer that we will not know wether ther was a better option. You can’t help but to research extensively. Maybe some of my classmates proves me wrong, but I think we all did talk to more than one Business School, checked a lot of online rankings (sometimes contradicting each other), read newspaper articles, blogs, specialized webs… In my case, the key was to get in touch with alumni from more than one Business School, and with management professionals. They could advice me, through personal experience as MBA candidates, as well as from the experienced professional prospective, telling me their point of view on schools and alumni prestige.
Finally, a mix of factors, like the entreprenurial spirit (later on we’ll discuss the Venture Lab initiative, a startup incubator), the privileged location in downtown Madrid (it is actually hard to find buildings near Maria de Molina not belonging to IE Business School) and opinions from friends and mentors, drove me to choose IE Business School as the perfect place to do my MBA. To this day, I do not regret my decission at all. Of course, a big part of the experience comes from the meticulous screeining of candidates by the school. I must say that, with the grat group of classmates I have, I could not be happier… God prevent me from saying anything else and then get them reading it, huh?;). Seriously, we are a colorful set of people with different backgrounds and experience, but that is enrichening my experience day by day, adding points of view I would have never imagined.
How does this all work? What’s so different about a MBA?
To be honest, MBAs are something quite different to the common University experience in Spain. Used to following a program based in master classes, followed by individual work at home, it is shocking to get used to a radically opposed scheme.
MBA at IE Business School follows the case method. Here, individual work precedes the lessons, and you better do your “homework”, if you want to take advantage of the lessons. Sessions are usually organized like a debate around a specific case, where teachers act as moderators and leaders, helping concept assimilation and fostering learning from group conclussions. Here is where the value of diversity in the class and excellent teachers is shown.
On the other hand, individual work is only a small part (in comparison, quite small) of the workload. Most of the work, and a lot of deliverables, are made in groups. During the Global MBA, divided in three periods, I will belong to three different groups and, although now that were close to the end of the first period, we feel some grief about departing from our first group mates (after so much time together, they are more friends/almost family), having the chance to share the experience with more people is great. I am sure we are forging life long friendship here, and that is really added value to the purely academic side of the MBA.
To sum up: a lot of work, much intensity, and very good atmosphere… the choice was clear!!