About the IESE Full-Time MBA
IESE’s MBA is a full-time 19-month program that has a general management focus with a strong emphasis on global business, entrepreneurship and ethics. The program is offered at IESE’s world-class campus in Barcelona, with elective modules offered in New York, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Kenya.
The program takes place on the school’s main campus in Barcelona.
The program stands out for its strong international character, with students who hail from more than 60 countries and faculty members who reflect 27 different nationalities. It also offers a unique bilingual dimension (English/Spanish). IESE students accepted into the program typically have 4 years of work experience, speak more than one language and are seeking careers in global business or to start their own companies.
IESE believes that a two-year MBA program provides the ideal amount of time to acquire fundamental knowledge and skills, become fully immersed in the program and experience a strong transformational impact. It also allows students the chance to participate in a valuable Corporate Internship program, between the first and second years of the program, and in the International Exchange Program at another leading business school.
Students in IESE’s MBA reside full-time in Barcelona during the program, attending classes Monday through Friday. A host of professional activities and social events take place on the weekends and during holidays. MBA students tend to be younger and have less professional experience than participants in the Global Executive MBA and Executive MBA programs. Participants in the Executive MBA and the Global Executive MBA programs continue working while they carry out the program.
Classes are held from Monday to Friday 8:30 – 12:30 and 14:00 – 15:15. There are breaks between each class. You will also have team work scheduled into your daily timetable.
A typical day for a student in IESE’s MBA program begins with a team meeting at 8.30 am where students prepare for the day’s challenges. This is then followed by classes. During the day there are also times to take a break, to practice sports and to interact with your classmates. Here is an overview:
- 8:15 Team Meeting
- 9:30 Quick Coffee in the cafeteria
- 9:45 First class – Strategy, Finance and Marketing
- 11:15 Second Class – Statistics, People Management of Operations
- 12:30 Lunch Break – enjoy the sun at the turtle pond, last minute case reading, club presentations
- 14:00 Third Class – Welcome to the afternoon – Leadership or Business Ethics
- 15:30 Spanish classes
- 17:00 Off to case work!
- After 19:00 Project work with team members, sports training, dinners or more case work with managers and top executives
The program has a comprehensive general management focus with the objective of preparing talented professionals to take on leadership roles in global organizations or start their own companies. In addition, students can concentrate on a particular area by taking electives, which are offered during the second year.
The first year of the program provides a solid business foundation with a focus on essentials such as economics, finance, operations, IT, global strategy and leading people in organizations. These areas are explored within a coherent, integrated framework.
During the second year of the program, students select from more than 70 electives covering diverse business areas. During the second year, they also carry out the Corporate Internship in the summer and have the opportunity to participate in the International Exchange Program and Overseas Modules in New York City (USA), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Shanghai (China) or Nairobi (Kenya).
The case-based method is a highly practical way to sharpen analytical and decision making abilities, while gaining key business knowledge. The approach employs examples of real business scenarios set in a wide range of geographic locations. Students discuss cases in multicultural teams, reflecting today’s global business environment. Conclusions are later discussed in a larger classroom setting, guided by an IESE professor. The case-based method is highly interactive and requires the ability to make effective contributions to all discussions.
Professors employ the case-based method roughly 80 percent of the time. However, students also benefit from lectures, keynote speakers and simulations. Some courses, such as accounting, are not centered on the case method.
Students are evaluated in each of their classes based on a combination of the following: class participation, group work, projects and exams. While the emphasis on each area varies according to professor and subject, it is fair to say that in most classes a high percentage of the overall result will be based on the value of class participation. The grading scale is based on a curve as follows: (may vary slightly according to class)
- Top 15% = A
- Mid 75% = B+ through B-
- Bottom 10% = C
An Academic Advisory Board reviews students with academic difficulties and in extreme cases, may recommend that the student abandon the program. Most students are able to take the necessary steps to avoid such dramatic occurrence by taking advantage of the support structure of their team and team leader as well as the open-door policy of professors. Our goal is to help students challenge themselves and to achieve their goals.
Yes, IESE employs a grade non-disclosure policy. The school only admits MBA candidates who have a proven track record of outstanding academic and professional achievement, as well as cross-cultural awareness and leadership potential. For this reason, recruiters are not permitted to ask students about grades during an interview.
Because the common language for everyone is English, we generally tell students that they will get out of the program what they put in. In other words, they can gain a strong base and tools to develop their language skills. However, we encourage students to make an effort to go beyond the required Spanish classes in order to improve and practice the language. By doing so, most students should obtain functional bilingualism and be prepared to take MBA courses in Spanish by their second year.
IESE consistently ranks among the top 10 in widely-recognized rankings such as the Economist, the Financial Times andBusiness Week. For information on the latest rankings, visit www.iese.edu.
An ethics course is part of the first year of the program’s curricula, in addition, ethics are interwoven throughout the program by IESE faculty members when leading case discussions, as we believe that ethics is part of each decision.
No. Courses are taught in English. During the second year you can choose elective in Spanish.
The International Exchange Program (IEP) takes place in the first and second term of the second year. IESE sends around 90 exchange students per year to universities with which we have exchange agreements and hosts an equal number of students from these universities.
The selection process takes place between February and April of the first year and is based on the following criteria:
- Academic achievement (the selection is based on GPA and needs a minimum score of 3 out of 4.5)
- GMAT score: In the case of a tie between two students with the same grade total who have requested the same school in the same order of preference, the second criteria of the computer program is the GMAT score.
IESE seeks outstanding candidates who have potentially strong leadership skills, a quality university education, international backgrounds and are good citizens with the ability to make a positive impact in the corporate world. In addition, IESE seeks to recruit internationally diverse candidates.
Graduates from the MBA are equipped with a solid general management foundation, a global mindset, managerial capabilities, and an intrinsic grasp of the importance of ethics and corporate social responsibility in the business environment.
IESE MBA students have an average age of 28, with four years of work experience and an average GMAT score of 680. They reflect diverse nationalities and while English is the language they have in common, many students are multilingual.
IESE MBA students have an average age of 28, although a few students may be slightly older. In some cases, other IESE programs – such as the Executive MBA and Global Executive MBA are recommended – as they may fit best with specific professional goals.
IESE’s MBA Program is 19 months long with one yearly intake in September. There are approximately 280 places available.
Roughly 80 percent of the students in the MBA program is from outside of Spain, with 60 countries represented. Countries most represented are Brazil, Germany, Japan, Spain, United Kingdom, United States and India.
Spanish is not a requirement for admission. All students who are non-native Spanish speakers will be required to enroll in the Business Spanish Program. The Business Spanish Program has different levels (1-12), from beginners to an advanced business Spanish level. Any knowledge of Spanish prior to the start of the Program will be in your advantage in obtaining a real level of fluency by the end of the MBA.
If you are considering applying to the MBA program, we recommend that you visit the IESE campus in Barcelona. We hold Open Days on the Barcelona campus, as well as Case Study Presentations at other international locations. These events provide great opportunities to find out if IESE is right for you. In case you cannot attend an Open Day please contact us email@example.com to arrange a class visit and campus tour.
To apply to IESE’s MBA program, you must:
- Have completed a bachelor’s degree or equivalent
- Submit all application requirements detailed on our website: application form, application fee, university transcripts copy, GMAT, English Test (if applicable) Passport copy and two recommendation letters.
Due to the nature of the case study method, a minimum of two years’ work experience is recommended so that students have professional experience to share in class. All applications are reviewed by a Pre-Committee that will either deny admission or invite you to proceed to the second stage of the admissions process, the personal interview. Due to the volume of applications received, we will only conduct personal interviews for those candidates who have been invited to interview by the Pre-Committee. The Final Committee will evaluate all applications for a final decision after the entire process is complete. For details, visit www.iese.edu.
The admission process begins in August. We recommend that all non-EU citizens apply before Round 3 in order to assure time for visa procedure. It is important to remember that scholarships are awarded only in the first three rounds of the admissions process, with 70 percent of them being awarded in the first two rounds. Applications received after the deadline will be processed in the next application round.
Once admitted to the program you will need to send the original transcripts and degree certifications.
Send all necessary originals or certified copies of transcripts and degrees by mail to:
IESE Business School
MBA Admissions Office
Av. Pearson 21
Due to the nature of the case study method, a minimum of two years’ work experience is recommended so that students have professional experience to share in class. Students currently have an average of four years of experience.
All previous experience that is relevant to your pursuit of an MBA is important to mention in your application. We consider full-time military service to be valuable professional experience and should be included as well in your application.
IESE MBA students reflect a wide range of backgrounds. We welcome applications from diverse fields including law, medicine, the arts and non-profit organizations. Leadership potential and a global mindset are also key attributes.
Yes, two recommendation letters are required. We recommend that one of your letters is from your current employer and the other can be from a former employer or client. Both letters should reflect your capacities in the work environment. Recommendations from extra-curricular activities such as Volunteer Organizations can also be considered.
Please submit your recommendation letters through the on-line application system. Recommendation letters can be submitted in Spanish and/or English.
If your recommenders are not able to submit your recommendation letter through the on-line application system please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Every year, the IESE Financial Aid Office grants and manages roughly €6 million in financial aid and scholarships to students. IESE’s MBA is recognized by many scholarship programs around the globe. IESE Business School is also recognized by U.S. Federal (Direct Loan and Stafford Loan) and Private Loans programs. Visit the website of the school’s Financial Aid Office for details.
If you are not an EU citizen, you must obtain a student visa before coming to Spain to start the MBA program. Requirements may vary depending on citizenship, from country to country and many times, from consulate to consulate within the same country. To begin, you should first contact your closest Spanish Consulate or Embassy and ask for the list of documents and procedures to apply for a “type D” student visa (often a personal visit to the Consulate will be required). This visa allows a 90 days stay in Spain. Within this period you should apply for a student card in order to legalize your situation.
IESE provides a letter of support called a “Certificate of Acceptance” after you have confirmed that you are accepting the place in the program and paid the tuition deposit. Should your consulate request more information, we urge you to contact the MBA Admissions office to make us aware of your needs. We will adapt the certificate to reflect the information required by your consulate. As an incoming student, you will be responsible for all other information and documentation.
IESE will provide as much support as possible to assist you. Applying for and obtaining the visa on time to begin the program is your responsibility. We recommend that you contact the Consulate as soon as possible upon admission and keep us informed of any difficulties you encounter.
No. IESE Business School does not accept transfer students who begin their MBA at another university and wish to earn their degree from IESE.
The GMAT or GRE is an obligatory component of your application and cannot be waived. Our GMAT code is S21-BK-12 and our GRE code is 6951. Your GMAT/GRE score is valid for 5 years.
IESE does not have a minimum required GMAT or GRE score. Please keep in mind that the GMAT or GRE is just one of the criteria for admission. A high score does not guarantee admission, while a below average score does not eliminate a candidate. The average GMAT score for the most recent class is 680.
IESE’s GMAT Reporting Code is S21-BK-12, through Pearson.
There is no minimum GMAT score, however, the results are taken into consideration together with other aspects of your profile. Candidates should demonstrate strength in both quantitative and verbal sections of the exam, however.
IESE’s Admissions Committee will consider all of your GMAT exam results and will give greatest importance to the highest score you have earned.
Once you have taken the GMAT exam, you score is valid for the next five years.
If you need to take the GMAT test on a date very close to one of our admissions deadlines, you can send us the elements of your application that you have and your GMAT results later. However, we prefer to receive the entire application package at one time, when possible.
Yes, we will accept result of the old version of the exam as long as the results are still valid (no longer than 5 years old).
The modification of the exam does not have any impact on IESE’s admissions process and the requirements for being accepted to the program.
The Integrated Reasoning (IR) section is designed to assess your ability to evaluate information presented in a variety of formats and from different sources. As this is a relatively new characteristic of the exam, IESE is not at this time looking at results of this section in the application process. At this time, the school focuses on the other sections of the exam, although in the future this will be incorporated. Nevertheless, you should complete the IR section since we will use this information at later time in the overall assessment of the candidate.
For more information on this new section, visit mba.com.
Yes, we accept GRE scores instead of the GMAT. As with the GMAT, however, a high score on the GRE does not ensure acceptance to the program. A wide range of criteria are taken into consideration by the Admissions Committee when reviewing applications. Results of the GRE are also valid for five years.
At IESE, English is the working language used in the classroom. You must be fluent in English in order to be considered for the MBA program. Some electives in Spanish are offered during the second year of the program for students seeking the bilingual degree qualification.
IESE’s language policy was created to facilitate a highly global learning experience and environment. However, IESE MBA students generally speak three to four languages before starting the program, so you will hear many other languages spoken while you are on campus.
No, as stated earlier, Spanish is not a requirement for the IESE MBA program.
This requirement can be waived for those people meeting at least one of the following criteria:
- For those whose mother tongue is English.
- Have obtained a university degree or post graduate degree entirely in English or in an English speaking country. In order for a post graduate degree to qualify, it must be at least a 2 year degree.
- Have lived and worked for at least two consecutive years in an English speaking country (i.e. someone who is working for a multinational firm in France where the language of communication is English, for example, is not exempt.)
- English Test scores are valid for 2 years and scores should be valid on the day of receipt of your application and supplemental documents. English Tests accepted by the MBA Admissions Department are:
TOEFL: The recommended TOEFL for admission is 105pts. English proficiency level is essential in order to be able to interact and participate in class. Our TOEFL code is 0755 and we should receive the original score directly from ETS – photocopies will not be accepted. www.toefl.org
Please note that in order to participate in the International Exchange Program, TOEFL is the only test accepted.
PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English Academic): The PTE Academic score required for admission is 68 (C1). For more information, please visit: www.pearsonpte.com
IELTS: (International English Language Testing System): The IELTS score required for admission is band 7.5. IELTS is jointly managed by the University of Cambridge ESOL (Cambridge ESOL), British Council and IDP Education Australia. For more information, please visit: www.ielts.com
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English: The Cambridge Proficiency Certificate score required for admission is level A or B. For more information, please visit: www.cambridge-efl.org
The Admissions Process
After applying through the Embark platform, you will receive an email which will include a link and a password. Using this information, you can track your application process in real time.
You must apply online through the Link to Embark. When using this option, note that the application fee is $200 and that you will have to provide your credit card details for payment in order to submit your application electronically. Once you log on to the online application, you will be given a password and a username so that you can access your application any time and work on it at your own pace. For further information please consult Admissions Process.
The application needs to be completed in English. All forms (for recommenders and university register) can be downloaded from the site. Recommendation letters should be written in either Spanish or English.
Due to the number of applications we receive, the Admissions team is unable to provide individual comments on applications that are unsuccessful.
If you are not accepted to the program, you can apply again during the next annual intake. However, we do not recommend applying unless you have taken significant steps forward in your professional or personal development.
Generally we do not allow applicants to defer admission. Only in truly exceptional cases does the Admissions Committee make exceptions.
No. No application will be reviewed until the application fee has been received. There are no exceptions.
It is important to know that in order to meet one of the application deadlines, we need to have received your complete application package (i.e. completed application form and all supplemental documents, including original GMAT and English Test scores). If one of the supporting documents reaches us after your chosen deadline, your application will be considered for the next round.
No documents will be returned to candidates who are denied admission. When you submit your application and all related documents to IESE, you sign confirming that they become property of the school.
Interview and Final Decisions
Yes, as part of the initial selection process, a group of selected applicants are invited to participate in a personal interview. From this cohort, a final group of candidates is finally accepted.
Interviews are carried out by members of the Admissions Committee or IESE professors.
When does IESE inform candidates who have been selected for an interview?
Candidates will generally be informed if they are invited to carry out an interview 2-3 weeks after receiving confirmation that their application has been received by IESE.
Candidates are generally notified of the decision taken on their application six weeks following the interview.
The Admissions Team will notify you by email of the final decision on your application.
Fees and Financial Aid
The annual tuition fee for the MBA is €44,075. Living expenses in Barcelona are comparable to those in any major European city. Students living alone can expect to pay roughly €2,100 per month. IESE Business School has no on-campus accommodation, but we can assist you with useful resources and advice on how to find housing. For updated information, visit IESE’s website. Additional information can be found on Fees and Expenses or Financial Aid.
Admitted candidates must pay a non-refundable commitment fee of 3,000 euros to hold their position in the program before the indicated fee deadlines. To confirm the intention to join the program a non-refundable reservation fee of 7,000 euros is required. Both fees are deductible from the total program cost. If you are admitted when applying to our last deadline, both fees must be paid together. A first-year installment of 34,075 euros is due in October of the first year and a second-year installment of 44,075 euros is due in October of the second year.
IESE’s MBA is recognized by many scholarship programs around the globe. Visit the website of the school’s Financial Aid Office for details.
IESE is the only Business School in Spain that is eligible for US Federal Loans (Direct Loan and Stafford Loan). It also offers the possibility to finance up to 80% of the tuition fees through the Global loan offered by Banco Sabadell.
Several scholarships are available to incoming IESE students. IESE scholarship applications should be completed and submitted within the MBA application form to the Admissions Department as early as possible. The Scholarship Committee takes the final decision on which type of scholarship each admitted candidate receives. Candidates are requested to submit just one scholarship essay with their application. Types of scholarships include:
- IESE Trust Scholarships
The IESE Trust awards scholarships to students with outstanding academic records, excellent professional experience and personal merit. The scholarships cover up to 60% of tuition fees. Please note that living expenses are not covered by any of the scholarships. The Trust Scholarships are awarded at the discretion of the Scholarship Committee.
- The MBA Admissions Scholarship
The MBA Admissions Department grants a scholarship to outstanding candidates with verifiable financial constraints.
- Scholarships for Students from Developing Countries
The MBA program welcomes professionals from developing economies. These scholarships support outstanding candidates who live and work in a developing country.
- FORTÉ (Foundation Fellowships)
IESE is committed to increasing the number of women leaders in business. These scholarships support women with a track record of outstanding professional accomplishment.
- Scholarships for Students with Children
IESE welcomes students with families and grants scholarships for students who, in the opinion of the Scholarship Committee, deserve financial aid.
- IESE Alumni Association Scholarships
The IESE Alumni Association awards scholarships covering up to 60% of tuition fees for the first and second year of the MBA program. These scholarships are for future MBA students who have demonstrated exceptional work experience and personal merit.
Students are limited to one scholarship, there’s no need to apply for a specific scholarship.
IESE’s Scholarships Committee meets four times per year. Scholarships are generally announced six weeks following notification of acceptance to the program.
IESE’s Admissions Team will inform you about the scholarship decision. We kindly ask that applicants wait for the team to contact them.
Living expenses in Barcelona are comparable to those in any major European city. Students living alone can expect to pay roughly €2,100 per month. IESE Business School has no on-campus accommodation, but we can assist you with useful resources and advice on how to find housing.
Moving to Barcelona
It is true that many businesses and services are closed in the month of August, but some real estate agencies do remain open. Many students are able to find housing in August before starting the Business Spanish Program but in general you should count on having temporary housing upon arrival. The Welcome Guide will list some recommended temporary accommodations as well as resources to assist you in your search for housing. The recommended months for your search of housing is during the months of June and July.
An updated version of the Welcome Guide is available each year, containing information on relocating to Barcelona, beginning the MBA program and setting into the city.
Facebook is a great source for finding an apartment, specially those from our 2nd year students. Visit the “Class of” page corresponding to your graduation year and get started!
Students benefit from a comprehensive set of resources to help them secure optimal professional positions after the MBA, offered by the Career Services Team. The team provides one-on-one counseling, organizes recruiting events that include leading global companies and offers career sessions and workshops. On average, 90 percent of students attain a job within three months of finishing the program.
In addition, those graduates who are members of the IESE Alumni Association can avail of a career counseling service via the Succeed platform and have the option to access the job board in order to apply to the opportunities available there.
IESE’s Career Services team provides truly global support for students’ job searches following graduation. The school does not focus on one geographic area, but instead has strong links with recruiters around the world to help students identify opportunities – in Europe, as well as Latin America, North America and Asia. It also leads off-campus recruiting events to help students explore opportunities in specific countries, such as the United States.
On the Career Services website section, you can find detailed information on companies that recruit at IESE. You can also find recruiting statistics on salaries, functions and sectors.
Salaries differ significantly, according to factors such as sector and geographic location. Detailed information is available on the Career Services website.
While some career changes are easier than others, IESE’s summer internship offers an ideal chance to gain experience in a field that you are interested in. The Career Services team can work with you to identify your goals and skill sets needed.
Company recruiters increasingly seek managers with international expertise and foreign language skills. Nevertheless, some companies may be more experienced in obtaining working papers for managers than others. Other factors that come into play include the visa applicant’s nationality and where he or she is applying to work. IESE’s Career Service works closely with recruiting companies to facilitate the working visa process for graduates and participants in summer internships.
IESE’s Career Services team organizes a host of recruiting events, both on and off campus throughout the year, which include the participation of financial institutions and banks. Career Forums are organized in the fall and the spring on the Barcelona campus, while other events are held in collaboration with other leading business schools.
We recommend that you do not contact recruiting companies until you have embarked on the MBA program. During the program, IESE offers many career services and events such as the Career Forum, which can help you focus your job search effectively.
The Career Services team is not available to meet with candidates prior to the program. However, from the very start of the MBA, the team will provide a full range of services and advising opportunities.
Upon being fully admitted to the program, you will have access to the online Onboarding course in the Welcome site. This SPOC (small private online course) consists of four modules which combine video lectures, assignments and additional reading to help you in the process of understanding what career management is, start self-assessment, explore different career options to see what fits you and start working on your brand (CV, telling you story so you are remembered, etc). By getting students before the program to start exploring career options in a structured manner and to understand what gaps exist between where they are and where they want to be, the main objective of this course is to help students truly leverage their MBA experience.
Orientation Week at the start of the program, Mock interview event at the end of November and Career Development week at the end of the first term of the MBA are designed to help students develop the skills to plan and execute their next step effectively.
From the start of the program students are assigned a director as their point of contact with MBA Career Services and discuss with them general career management issues. In addition, you can also count with the support of 10 associate directors who are available to meet with students in order to provide specific advice on careers in their sectors or geographical regions, how to be effective in the processes they are looking to apply to and mock interview them.
Finally, throughout the program, students also have access to a whole array of career management resources including:
- Sessions or workshops on different career related topics – from setting an effective job search strategy to salary negotiation
- Online resources for practicing interviews, contacting and getting specific advice from fellow students and alumni, and over 70 webinars on careers in different sectors and functions
Yes, however we recommend that you advise the company that is sponsoring you if you choose to be included.
IESE’s vast alumni network includes more than 44,000 professionals living and working in more than 120 countries. Graduates gather regularly to network and learn at international cities around the world through the school’s Continuous Education Program, which is organized by the Alumni Association.
You can meet IESE alumni at recruiting events held around the world, such as Open Days and Assessment Days. These events provide excellent opportunities to find out more about the program, meet graduates and get to know faculty members. We also suggest contacting any alumni you know through your own personal social networks such as LinkedIn.
IESE and its parent institution, the University of Navarra, are initiatives of Opus Dei, which is a personal prelature of the Catholic Church. While IESE was founded on the principles of Opus Dei, the students represent an array of religious beliefs. Respect for all religions and human being is a fundamental tenet of the IESE community. Students are encouraged to develop a people–oriented vision of business, based on respect for the rights and responsibilities of the individuals who comprise the business world. For more information you can visit https://www.iese.edu/en/about-iese/iese-overview/mission/
IESE mission is to develop business leaders who can have a deep, lasting and positive impact on people, companies and society.
The IESE MBA program takes place at the school’s main campus in Barcelona, in the residential area of Pedralbes just 15 minutes from the city center. However, IESE delivers programs all over the world. It has a campus in Madrid, a center in New York City and offices in Munich, Sao Paulo and Warsaw.
IESE offers the full-time MBA, Executive MBA, Global Executive MBA and the Ph.D. in Management programs, as well as a wide range of executive education open and custom programs for senior global executives.