Chat Transcript: IE Business School MBA Admissions

The International MBA (IMBA) at IE Business School (IE Full-Time MBA Profile, which is based in Madrid, accepted 31 percent of the 2,433 applicants to the full-time program in 2009. Recently, Lisa Bevill (screen name: LisaBevill), director of admissions at IE, responded to questions from the audience and reporter Francesca Di Meglio (screen name: FrancescaBW) about everything from postgraduation job opportunities to dual-degree programs during a live chat event. Here are edited excerpts from the conversation:

soniazt: Is the selection process a first-come, first-served decision, assuming the candidate is eligible and meets other requirements? Are there still spots available for the IMBA April intake?

LisaBevill: At IE Business School, we have a holistic approach to admissions, evaluating the candidate, their experience (both personally and professionally), and motivation and fit with IE and the International MBA program. Applications are reviewed as soon as they are received, and the rolling admissions process allows us to work with applicants to have a final response as quickly as possible. Yes, there are still places available for the April 2011 intake. If admitted, you can join the program in the following two intakes.

PaulDowling: For the April intake, when would you advise students to move to Madrid?

LisaBevill: Students start arriving in Madrid about two months before the program begins, which allows them to get settled in the city and take advantage of the intensive Spanish course. The in-person, pre-program classes start in late March and last about two weeks. These classes can also be done online.

deshaun: What length and level of work experience do you look for in applicants?

LisaBevill: The average number of years of work experience is just over five. We look for career progression, increasing responsibility, and varied exposure.

lilhan: Typically, how long is the admissions review process from application submission to IE's final decision?

LisaBevill: The entire process lasts between four and six weeks, thanks to our rolling admissions process, considering you submit a complete application with all requirements fulfilled. We allow you to apply at any time; however, we recommend applying about a year in advance of your desired intake.

lilhan: Who makes up the admissions committee? Faculty, students, etc.?

LisaBevill: The admissions committee is made up of admissions officers, faculty, and program directors.

deshaun: Upon graduation, what fields do most graduates go into?

LisaBevill: The International MBA class is extremely diverse, with many industries and functions represented. Many of the 2009 graduates went into consulting and financial services (about 40 percent), closely followed by technology and consumer goods.

soniazt: I have been told that the quantitative method pre-program starts two weeks before the beginning of the course, either in-person or online. Would it be possible to do it sooner?

LisaBevill: The online format allows greater flexibility. All this information is provided within Campus Online, your virtual community as a student.

kauld: I am a non-European applicant. What challenges should I expect at IE?

LisaBevill: Actually, 93 percent of the International MBA class comes from outside Spain. Everyone should expect to face challenges within the MBA and while living abroad. This is one of the best parts of the learning experience.

lilhan: What is required to receive a student visa coming from the U.S.? How much time in advance is needed to process this?

LisaBevill: For students coming from the U.S., we expect the process to take a little bit longer to get a visa; however, eight to 10 weeks should be sufficient. The Student Office at IE supports your entire transition to Madrid, from helping you with the visa, to providing a housing search engine (on Campus Online), to helping you set up your phone.

lilhan: Are all applicants asked to go through an interview?

LisaBevill: Yes. If you can't come to Madrid, we also coordinate through one of our many offices around the globe. In the U.S., we have offices in Miami, New York, and Los Angeles.

kauld: Can you shed some light on the strategy and entrepreneurship focus in the school? These are the two areas in which I am interested, and I didn't find much information on the website.

LisaBevill: IE was founded by entrepreneurs, so it is part of the DNA and a basis for everything we do. Entrepreneurship and strategy are covered within the core part of the program and can be explored in greater depth through the elective period. In fact, one of the innovative change modules focuses on strategy across areas of a company and is led by a top consulting firm. The most recent module was headed by Bain. There are three change modules, which focus on change at a personal, professional, and global level.

CaroleBlake: What kind of job opportunities can I expect once I complete my MBA at IE?

LisaBevill: Job opportunities for IE Business School students and alumni are up 30 percent compared with last year, especially in the markets and industries that were more affected during the recession: U.S., Europe, in terms of regions, and consulting and financial services, if we refer to industries.

spectraspeaks: Are language courses offered in the IE MBA program for non-Spanish speakers? I understand that courses are taught in English, but are Spanish courses intensive enough to attain fluency by the end of the program?

LisaBevill: Spanish-language classes are offered up to a level of business Spanish; however, there are many formal and informal channels to improve your language skills. Actually, you can make the program bilingual if you so choose. The core period makes up 60 percent of your program and is studied in English. The remaining 40 percent, elective courses, can be studied either in Spanish or English. It is up to you. Students who set this as their goal achieve it.

lilhan: How often are there recruitment fairs on campus? What technology and media companies visit the school?

LisaBevill: The Career Fair is hosted every year in October. (This past year) we had more than 100 companies on campus meeting students, interviewing, and giving corporate presentations. About 16 percent of the most recent graduating class went into the technology, telecommunications, and media industries. To name a few (companies): Microsoft (MSFT), Google (GOOG), Infosys (INFY), HBO Latin America, and Telefónica (TEF).

deshaun: Would you chat a bit more about IE's partnerships with other MBA programs, specifically in the U.S.?

LisaBevill: We have two dual degrees: one with the Fletcher School (Tufts), focusing on law and diplomacy, and the other with MIT Sloan School of Management (Sloan Full-Time MBA Profile, focusing on logistics and supply chain.We work very closely with the [University of Pennsylvania's] Wharton School (Wharton Full-Time MBA Profile) through the Consultancy Practicum, which allows five IE students to partner with five Wharton students on a live consulting project.Our exchange partners include Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business (Tuck Full-Time MBA Profile), UCLA Anderson School of Business (Anderson Full-Time MBA Profile), New York University Stern School of Business (Stern Full-Time MBA Profile), Babson College Olin Graduate School of Business (Olin Full-Time MBA Profile), and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School (Kenan-Flagler Full-Time MBA Profile).

Preeta: Does a score of 660 on the GMAT completely ruin my chances of getting into IE?

LisaBevill: Our average GMAT score is 670. As mentioned before, we take a holistic approach and consider many factors.

kauld: Does IE provide any incubation facilities like financing student ventures or providing infrastructure to startups?

LisaBevill: IE's Venture Lab is an essential part of IE Business School's entrepreneurial aim and helps to incubate the development of business plans proposed and launched by our students. The culmination is Venture Day where this year 16 of the 50 most promising business plans will be presented in front of potential investors.

Preeta: Can I get internships in the telecom industry?

LisaBevill: IE offers the unique possibility to participate in an internship within an intensive one-year program. This internship can be within any industry, function, or region of the world; however, it requires program approval because elective credit is earned.

rohitnathany: How does one apply to a dual-degree program? I want to find out if we apply separately to both the programs or use one single application?

LisaBevill: Students apply separately to each institution of the dual degree. IE students may even choose to apply to the partner school during the International MBA program.

FrancescaBW: Did you have any parting words?

LisaBevill: AT IE we value difference—difference in opinion, in perspective, in approach to doing something. We focus on innovation, diversity, and an intense experience in Madrid to allow students to grow, test who they are, and change during their year at IE.

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