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Real Humans of the IESE Business School MBA Class of 2025

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iese business school 2025Jan-Niklas Seiler, IESE Business School MBA Class of 2025

Age: 29
Hometown: Hohenschäftlarn near Munich
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Edinburgh / Chemical Engineering with Management
Pre-MBA Work Experience (role, company, years): International Management Trainee (Ardagh, 2 years); Operations Manager (Ardagh, 4 years)

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I believe that most of the fundamental societal problems (climate change, wealth inequality, divide between service and manufacturing jobs) will only be solved if businesses adapt their ways of operating, and I think for this to happen we need people in business who are willing to try for said change. I believe that my biggest chance to play a part in these changes is by backing up my engineering/operations background with a more holistic understanding of business. After six years in operations, I felt I had the foundation on which to build, and also wanted to open up the possibilities of shifting to a job that has a more direct impact on sustainability.

Why did you choose IESE? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
This was a mixture of personal and professional. On the professional side of things, I am looking to enter the world of corporate sustainability, and IESE is world renowned (see FT Rankings) for its focus on sustainability as a university but also within the MBA. Furthermore, IESE is known for its academic rigour and as I made a substantial investment to go to business school, I want to make sure I am getting as much out of it as possible. On the personal side of things, it was the network of alumni who really sold me on the school. They were incredibly giving with information (both positives and negative) as well as their time. These were all people who I could see myself spending lengthy amounts of time with.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the IESE Business School Class of 2025?
Due to my role as an operations manager at a glass factory, I have had substantial exposure to heavy manufacturing and what it means to lead teams in these environments. As such, I would like to think I have valuable insights for the class discussions, but also, I might be able to impart an appreciation for what life in factories and on shopfloors is like. On the personal side of things, I am planning to play an active part across clubs and sports teams, and thus hopefully, play a positive part in the process of our class making memories.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
I have skied multiple World Cup runs on one ski.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I would use TTP prep to get ready for the GMAT, and no I am not sponsored by or affiliated to them, in any way. Their structured approach, plus the feedback throughout the learning experience, really let me focus on my weak areas. Through their course, I was able to get my desired score on the first attempt.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I would do the GMAT earlier. As it remains relevant for five years, there is no real need to do it in the build-up to applications. If you are relatively certain you want to go to business school, start doing the GMAT prep. Your aim should be a GMAT that will allow you to get into your top-bracket school or schools. The earlier you get started, the earlier you can take the test. For one, you might surprise yourself, opening up schools you hadn’t expected, and if not, you have time to go again.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Due to my notice period and the fact that I only did my GMAT just in time to apply in round 2, I “had” to quit my job before knowing whether I had been accepted. The uncertainty during this time was quite nerve-wracking. I also think my friends and family found me quite annoying during this time. However, their reassurance and outlook kept me moving in the right direction mentally.

What is your initial impression of the IESE students/culture/community?
I was really impressed with my fellow classmates. I expected them all to be impressive, bright, and ambitious people from varying backgrounds, and on this front, I wasn’t disappointed. However, I have become friends with a Michelin-star chef, a former marine officer, and someone who sold their first company at 15, which is above and beyond what I had hoped. However, what blew me away was the connection I had with these people. Almost everyone I have met is someone who I want to have a beer with after class or a coffee during lunch, people that I want to spend my limited free time around. Coming from a slightly less traditional background and culture, this surpassed my expectations massively.

What is one thing you have learned about IESE Business School that has surprised you?
How much they value participation in class. I was prepared for this to be the main method of learning, as how else are we going to learn from each other? However, I didn’t expect the vigour and rigour with which they foster and support the environment required for this to be possible.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I chose IESE in part because it’s renowned for its academic rigour. I wanted the challenge, and if I was going to make such a substantial investment, I also wanted to ensure that I get the most out of it. However, after the first month, I can say that I am intrigued (and maybe a little anxious) about how I am going to keep juggling all the balls this year.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
It sounds cliché, but I am really looking forward to getting to know my classmates, the few weeks that I have spent with them have shown glimpses of great conversations to be had and great friendships to be made.

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.