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Real Humans of MBA Students: Esade MBA Class of 2023

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esade mba class 2023Karim El Solh, Esade MBA Class of 2023

Age: 30
Hometown: Saida, Lebanon
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Civil and Environmental Engineering, American University of Beirut
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 8 years, Renewable Energy  

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
The situation in Lebanon was becoming unbearable and was in a free fall. It was a perfect time for me to go back to learning and improving my skills and abilities and the MBA was the right choice for me.

Why did you choose Esade? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Esade is ranked among the top MBA universities in the world. I wanted a program that understands my entrepreneurial background and allows me to build on the skills that I have already developed over the years. The MBA program at Esade provides their students with the best critical thinking and leadership skills that I find very essential in an MBA. Not to mention, Barcelona is one of my favorite cities and a very similar culture to where I come from.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?
I believe my entrepreneurial background along with my managerial experience with my company provides me with a 360-degree understanding of the entire business process. In addition to building and running a company in a very tough environment, such as Lebanon, equipped me with exceptional decision-making and forward-thinking skills under extreme, stressful conditions. 

Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application:
I am co-owner of a Food and Beverage Business in Beirut, Lebanon.

Post-MBA career interests:
I would like to work in the energy and/or sustainability industry, preferably in a startup environment.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Reach out to previous graduates and asking them about their experiences and get some valuable advice.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
Worrying about your GMAT and focusing more about your story, your added value and what you offer for the MBA program.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Nothing to be honest, I was lucky to have a very smooth application and the choice of university was clear throughout the process.

What is your initial impression of the ESADE students/culture/community?
Very welcoming environment, staff very helpful, teachers are passionate about their subjects which motivates you to learn.

What is one thing you have learned about ESADE that has surprised you?
Everyone (from the directors to the teachers) is accessible and is willing to meet with you and dedicate time to help you.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
I deferred one year since I wanted to do the MBA in person in Barcelona with my classmates.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Managing my studies in the MBA program in addition to managing the company in Lebanon from abroad.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Starting a new life in Barcelona and meeting aspiring people from all over the world.

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.