Mireia Rius has been director of admissions since September, 2003, at the University of Navarra's IESE Business School in Barcelona, No. 8 on BusinessWeek's 2002 list of full-time, non-U.S. MBA programs. Rius, a 1994 alumna of the school's MBA program, first joined IESE professionally in 1998 as director of career services. Priot to IESE, she managed a subsidiary of a large, global tourist group operator.
Before studying for her MBA, she was a strategic consultant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers for five years. She received her undergraduate degree in business administration at Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. Rius recently spoke by e-mail and phone with BusinessWeek Online reporter Mica Schneider. Here's an edited transcript of that conversation:
Q: Why do you think the number of applications you've received this year is slightly lower than in 2003, when 1,080 people applied to the B-school?
A:IESE had a lot of international exposure the past few years. This led to a surge in applications, which grew by almost 10% each year. This year's slight decrease in applications is natural after the significant upshot and is a reflection of the general decline in the [MBA] market due to the difficult job market.
Q: What's your response to current applicants who ask you what their job opportunities will be like in 2006 when they graduate?
A:Their opportunities are extremely good, because over the years we've developed stronger relations with blue-chip companies in more sectors. We've always been very strong with banking and consulting recruiters, but now we're also strong in industry and consumer goods such as Johnson & Johnson, or Philips.
Some 68% of our students find jobs through the annual Career Forum we organize at the beginning of the school year. Last year, 80% of the class of 2003 was employed three months after graduation, which was remarkable considering it was a tough year. We're more optimistic for the class of 2004.
Q: How do this year's applicants differ from prior years?
A:The MBA was once an option for people who were unsure about what to do next. Current applicants are really concerned about where and what they want to be after the MBA.
Q: When is the best time to apply?
A:It's best to apply at the beginning of the [admissions] season, in October, because toward the end of the year there are fewer places available.
Q: What percentage of your class will be filled by the last deadline on Apr. 28?
A:Normally, 90% of the class is filled by our last deadline.
Q: From the time they submit their IESE application, about how long will applicants wait to hear if they've been invited for an interview, and then wait to hear if they've been admitted?
A:Approximately three months. But we inform candidates who didn't make it [to the interview stage, and who weren't accepted] within a month of applying. Those candidates may try again the following year.
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