IESE Business School at the University of Navarra offers a global MBA program focused on training globally-minded, ethical leaders. The school’s application highlights this core interest by asking applicants to share more than just their professional aspirations.
As you brainstorm how to tackle IESE’s essays, it can help to note that the first question is best to answer from a personal perspective, and the second from a professional perspective. Make sure to also take note of the program’s deadlines.
ESSAY 1 – Who do you admire the most and why? Help us to understand who has played a pivotal role in shaping you to be the person you are or the person you aspire to be. Please provide specific examples of how they have shaped or inspired you. (word limit 300 max)
With this first essay, the terms admire, aspire and inspire are key words to take note of as they reveal the question’s central theme. Here, IESE wants to better understand what motivates you beyond general career goals, and they ask you to be specific. It’s important to invest time considering which specific individuals, in which specific moments, have had a strong impact on your personhood.
When it comes to identifying this impact, you want to think widely. While you might be tempted to fall back on an example when someone influenced your career objectives, that would likely read redundantly given that the second essay addresses your professional goals. Concentrate instead on personal growth, on which character traits you admire and aspire to grow, and how those might positively affect others and, potentially, society as a whole.
ESSAY 2 – What are your post-MBA career goals right after graduation and five years after? What kind of resources or opportunities offered by IESE will help you achieve them? (word limit 300 max)
In this question, IESE wants to understand post-MBA goals and how you see IESE’s MBA as supporting you in those goals. When sharing post-MBA objectives, consider both realism and exceptionalism. Ideally, you want to show IESE that not only are your goals purposefully challenging, but that they are also attainable. Grounding your goals in your professional history and upcoming education can help argue for your readiness to attain them. If you’re uncertain how to choose which goals to state, it can also help to research professionals who share your values and objectives, and study what career paths they took to get to where they are today. What were they doing immediately after their MBA, and five years later?
You will also want to focus on how IESE’s amazing resources (courses, teachers, events, alumni, etc.) could help you achieve those post-MBA goals. It can help to begin by listing your professional needs relative to your short and medium-term goals, and then linking them directly to relevant IESE resources you would be able to access through the MBA program.
OPTIONAL ESSAY – What would you like to highlight about yourself or your journey which may have not been captured in your application? (word limit 300 max)
When you review your whole application, are there pieces of information missing from it? Do any of your strengths appear underdeveloped? Are all important parts of your character mentioned? Would any particular story from your personal and professional path help fill in those gaps? If so, this optional essay can be a great place to highlight positive aspects that didn’t come up naturally in the two required essays. While it might be that you have several accomplishments you wish to mention here, it is generally more impactful to concentrate on sharing a single story, and to avoid falling into simply recycling your CV.