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IESE Business School

IESE is the graduate business school of the University of Navarra and is headquartered in Barcelona, Spain.  The first European business school to extend a two-year MBA, IESE offers a 19-month, full-time MBA program as well as several Executive MBA options and a Global Executive MBA program.  Defining characteristics of the school include its small and highly international student body, as well as its extensive use of the case method of instruction.

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With more than 160 full-time and 70 visiting professors, IESE boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 4:1.  In addition to teaching courses across 11 academic departments, IESE’s faculty also help staff the school’s 12 research centers, which explore topics ranging from logistics to work and family.


Most professors at IESE teach using the case method, in which class discussions are based upon assigned readings about real-world business problems.  The school reports that by the time students graduate from the MBA program, they will have examined more than 600 business cases.  Upon entering the program, first-year students are divided into five sections of approximately 70 students each with whom they take all of their core courses.

While applicants do not need to know Spanish to gain admission to IESE, all students must enroll in the Business Spanish Program.  The program begins in August and continues throughout the two years of the MBA, though the duration for individual students depends upon their particular level of fluency.

The first year of IESE’s MBA program is divided into three terms.  Following a weeklong orientation period, Term 1 classes begin in September and last until December, while Term 2 runs from January to March and Term 3 from March to early June.  Students take between six and seven core courses each term, not including the Business Spanish Program.  IESE’s core curriculum is designed to give students a foundational knowledge of key business concepts, and features a variety of topics such as entrepreneurial management, global economics, and values and ethics.

The second year of the MBA takes place over two terms that run from September to December and from January to March.  Aside from the Business Spanish Program, the second-year curriculum is comprised entirely of elective courses; students have free rein to choose from any of the more than 100 electives offered by IESE.  Elective courses may be taught in English or Spanish.  Students who pass a Spanish language exam and earn at least a grade of B in two or more courses taught in Spanish are eligible to be awarded a Bilingual MBA Degree upon graduation rather than simply an MBA.

To provide students with additional international exposure, IESE has established exchange programs with 30 business schools around the world.  Each year, 100 spaces or more are offered to second-year students wishing to spend their first semester studying abroad.  IESE also offers a one- to two-week International Module at the beginning of the second year during which students can study at the school’s New York City Campus, the São Paulo ISE Campus, the Shanghai CEIBS campus, or the Nairobi Strathmore Business School.

Other MBA Degree Options

In addition to the full-time MBA program, IESE offers Executive MBA programs in Barcelona, Madrid and São Paulo. EMBA programs in Barcelona and Madrid are taught in English and Spanish, and students can choose either a weekly or biweekly format for the EMBA, though these formats are not offered in each location. IESE has also established a Global Executive MBA program that includes modules in Barcelona, São Paulo, Shanghai, Silicon Valley and New York City. This program is taught exclusively in English and is offered partly at home and partly via residential sessions.

College students who aim to attend IESE in the near future can gain pre-admission to the MBA program by applying to the school’s Young Talent Program (YTP) during their junior or senior year. Upon graduating from college, students accepted to the YTP have the opportunity to begin working at one of IESE’s participating companies; these include firms such as The Boston Consulting Group, Cisco, L’Oréal, Microsoft and Vodafone. After gaining two years of work experience and completing Next Steps Seminars I and II, YTP students matriculate into the full-time MBA program.

Core Courses at IESE

Term 1

  • Analysis of Business Problems
  • Decision Analysis
  • Financial Accounting
  • Capital Markets
  • Marketing Management
  • Leadership
  • Business Spanish

Term 2

  • Managerial Accounting
  • Marketing Planning and Implementation
  • Operational Finance
  • Operations Management
  • Competitive Strategy
  • Globalization of Business Enterprise
  • Business Spanish

Term 3

  • Leading Organizations: Systems, Values and Ethics
  • Global Economics
  • Transforming Organizations and Markets with ICTs
  • Operations Strategy
  • Quantitative Methods for Management
  • Fundamentals of Entrepreneurial Management
  • Corporate Finance
  • Self-Management
  • Capstone In-Company Project
  • Business Spanish

Degree Offerings at IESE

Full-time MBA Program

Executive MBA Programs
Executive MBA offered in Barcelona, Madrid and São Paulo

Global Executive MBA, with modules in Barcelona, Madrid, Shanghai, Silicon Valley and New York City

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Clubs, Conferences & Competitions

Students at IESE have ample opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities. The school has over 70 student-run clubs that focus on a range of professional, regional, athletic and social interests. On the professional side, the Consulting Club hosts workshops, mock interview sessions and presentations by consulting firms to help its members prepare for post-MBA careers in consulting. Meanwhile, the Asia Business Club provides support to students who aim to find work in Asia after business school and hosts cultural celebrations for holidays such as Diwali and Chinese New Year. As for athletics, IESE has a large range of sports clubs, including badminton, rugby, tennis and skiing, among many others.

Students at IESE also enjoy a number of large annual events. For instance, each year the Responsible Business Club hosts the Doing Good & Doing Well Conference, a two-day event that examines key issues and responsible business practices. Another highly anticipated event is the Roland Berger International Case Competition, which attracts teams of students from Europe, North America and Asia and awards the winners with an internship at Roland Berger.

Campus Space

Along with its four campuses in Barcelona, Madrid, New York, and Munich, IESE has facilities in São Paulo as well. The school’s full-time MBA program is headquartered at the University of Navarra’s campus in Pedralbes, a residential neighborhood of Barcelona that sits just 20 minutes from the city’s downtown area. The IESE campus is divided into North and South sections and MBA classes are held in the South Campus. In addition to plentiful classrooms and meeting rooms, the school features a 597-seat auditorium, a large business library, dining and cafeteria areas and a library housing over 49,000 volumes.

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Career Services

IESE’s MBA Career Services department provides students with a variety of career development resources throughout the course of the MBA program. These include individual career planning sessions with Career Services staff, IESE faculty and alumni, as well as workshops on topics such as résumés and cover letters, salary negotiations and presentation skills. Career Services also organizes mock interviews throughout the first term of the MBA program in which representatives from invited companies come to campus to conduct mock interviews tailored to students’ requests.

To help students network with potential employers, Career Services coordinates a Career Forum each fall to which it invites leading companies to present their firms and conduct first-round interviews with second-year students. IESE reports that about 70 percent of second-year students secure post-MBA jobs through the Career Forum and that first-year students find the Career Forum to be useful for sourcing potential summer internships. Students can also gain exposure to recruiting firms at company presentations that are held on campus throughout the academic year and career treks held by clubs with a focus on a certain region or industry.

Career Statistics

The average total salary for the Class of 2016 was €79,586.  Consulting topped the industry of choice for the class, as 24% found roles in strategy/management consulting. Finance was also popular, as 18% joined that industry. Twelve percent chose jobs in e-commerce, and 5% accepted roles in the health care industry.  Another 8% entered the information technologies sector, and consumer goods claimed 12% of the class.

Upon graduating, 23% of members of the Class of 2016 remained in Spain, while 38% relocated to other European countries.  South America drew 14% of graduates, Asia 18%, North America 4% and the Middle East and Africa 3%.

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The Class Profile

The average age of the 350 students in the Class of 2018 was 28.5 at the time of matriculation, and their average GMAT score was 690.  Sixty-four countries are represented by the class, and international students make up 85% of the class, while women comprise 28% of the student body.  The average student came to IESE with five years of full-time work experience.  Prior to attending IESE, 36% of the Class of 2018 had completed undergraduate studies in engineering, 33% in business, 18% in the humanities, and 9% in economics.

Application Procedures

IESE offers four application deadlines that run from October to April, though the school encourages non-EU citizens to apply before April to allow ample time for visa processing.

To apply, applicants must submit a completed application form, essays, a résumé, transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended, two letters of recommendation, and a $200 application fee. Applicants must also submit notification of fulfillment of military or civil service obligations, GMAT scores, scores from a test of English language proficiency, and a passport-sized digital photograph.

Interviews are conducted on an invitation-only basis and are required for admission. Select candidates are invited to participate in an Assessment Day, a day-long event during which applicants spend time interacting with each other and members of the IESE admissions team. Participating in an Assessment Day does not serve as a substitute for a personal interview and can take place before or after one is invited to interview; it is not a mandatory step in the admissions process. Application materials must be completed in English; interviews are conducted solely in English.

Application Checklist

  • Data Forms
  • Résumé
  • Application Fee
  • Recommendations
  • Academic Transcripts
  • GMAT and Test of English Score(s)
  • Essays
  • Military or Civil Service Obligation
  • Passport-sized Digital Photograph

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Tuition for the program beginning in September 2017 is €76,828, with another €4,772 in fees.  The school expects that expenses such as housing and transportation will cost students living alone an additional €2,100 per month.  Those who are married or choose to share housing can expect expenses at €2,630 a month. To help defray the cost of education, IESE offers several, largely merit-based scholarships that cover 25% to 50% of tuition.  Applicants hoping to receive scholarships must submit completed scholarship application essays to the Admissions Department as part of their MBA application form.  Applicants may also pursue scholarships from non-IESE organizations and companies.  To further aid students in financing their education, IESE offers a Global Loan Program in partnership with Banco Sabadell through which students may apply for loans without a co-signer.

Cost of Attendance

Tuition Fee: €76,828
Health Insurance: €890
Program Support Fee (both years): €3,882
All Addt’l Exp. (monthly)

  • Students living alone: €2,100
  • Married/shared housing: €2,630

Total: €102,600-107,900

  Get all of this info to read on the go! Download the IESE School Snapshot PDF.

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Mailing Address:
MBA Admissions Department
Full-time MBA Program
Avda. Pearson, 21
08034 Barcelona
Phone: +34 93 253 4200
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @iesemba

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