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Real Humans of the IESE MBA Class of 2024

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Carlos Visbal, IESE MBA Class of 2024

Age: 34
Hometown: Cartagena / Colombia
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Universidad de los Andes – Industrial Engineering
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 12 years, Financial Services (6 years) and Port and Logistics (6 years)

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I want to pivot my career into consulting, and an MBA will not only help me achieve my professional goal but at the same time, expose me to life-changing experiences. 

Why did you choose IESE? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
When searching for my ideal MBA, I looked for 3 main factors:

  1. An academically strong program. 
  2. Close relations with consulting firms, as I wanted to pivot into consulting. I am confident saying that IESE is the top business school in Europe for consulting.
  3. Diverse program: 85% of IESE’s 2024 cohort are international students with over 50 nationalities. 38% are women. When you look for diversity, you are looking to meet people from around the world who have different backgrounds. I have met doctors that want to transition into consulting and investment banking. Physicists that want to try the tech industry. So, IESE really gathers a diverse group of students who enrich the program with their unique vision and experiences.

Moreover, my family is everything to me, so their well-being and happiness is my priority. IESE is a school that is committed to supporting MBA candidates that will attend with their families and have a genuine interest in your family’s well-being. I really felt this from the beginning of the application process.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2024?
I am a financial expert, a port industry worker, and an avid entrepreneur. Additionally, I am also a father, a husband, a triathlete, and a finance teacher. I value work-life balance, and I commit myself to it. So I am looking forward to my classmates seeing me as someone they can relate to and, at the same time, someone they can learn from to make their own working-life balance. 

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
In 2018, I began doing Ironman races, one of the most challenging things I’ve experienced in my life. In 2019, I completed a full-distance Ironman race in Frankfurt, in which I swam 3.8km, cycled 180 km, and ran 42 km in under 15 hours. The temperature that day was 40 degrees Celsius, so high that 40% of participants dropped out, making it the toughest race in the history of the Ironman series. 

Post-MBA career interests:
Work as a consultant for a top strategy consulting firm.  

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Start the application process with Introspection, which is one of the most important tools to really show in the MBA application the person you are. Only knowing yourself and your interests will help you find the perfect fit with a business school. 

Additionally, it is important to talk with alumni of the business schools to understand the values and culture of the school and evaluate whether those align with your values and interests.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
Allocate less time studying for the GMAT. It is important to have a great score, but in the end, that is only one part of the application process. Every candidate is required to write essays which are an excellent opportunity to stand out.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The GMAT. The test would take me 2-3 hours per day for several months, so being a father of a 2-year-old girl, a husband, and a triathlete, as well as constantly being involved in the community, made me realize that I have to balance my time differently. What I did was prioritize, so I could allocate time efficiently among all the activities. 

What is your initial impression of the IESE students/culture/community?
My initial impression of the IESE students is that they are amazing people with a natural collaborative culture. Everyone is open and interested to know from their classmates and has a genuine interest in helping each other.

What is one thing you have learned about IESE that has surprised you?
Working with people with different backgrounds on a daily basis has been one of the most challenging but most rewarding experiences I have lived. In IESE, we have to prepare cases in a group of 9 people. My team is formed by people from all the continents with backgrounds that go from architects to private equity associates. Having a diverse team as this is what enriches teamwork discussions. 

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Dealing with consulting prep, academics and family. At IESE, it is very important to prioritize between preparing 3 cases per day, attending social events, and spending time with my family. 

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I think it is the life-changing experience as a whole. This first year I will be doing consulting prep, hopefully getting into consulting. I will travel with my family. Going to Disneyland Paris in December with our daughter is just magical! And having the opportunity to run not only Barcelona’s marathon but also all the major races (Paris, London and Berlin) in a 2 hours flight from Barcelona is exciting! 

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.