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IESE Business School Admission Interview

iese business school

IESE Business School seeks to impact the management profession by offering high-quality learning to students and senior executives from around the world. The school aspires to be a world-class and truly global business school, seeking teaching excellence and research impact, with campuses in Barcelona, Madrid and New York and executive programs in key countries or regions around the world, including Germany, Eastern Europe, India, Brazil and China.

Here is a 6 page interview from summer 2008 with Mr. Anjaney Borwankar, Associate Director of Admissions.

Since IESE is a bilingual program and that’s one of the most distinguishing characteristics of the program, can you explain how Spanish is incorporated into the structure and curriculum?

There are several ways in which we incorporate Spanish into the curriculum. It's important for all our students to appreciate and understand different cultures. So we're not just talking here about language proficiency, but also appreciation of a different culture. That’s one of the reasons why Spanish is incorporated into the IESE Program.

I'll start by the structure of the Full-Time MBA Program itself. Prior to the official start of the program, we have a pre-course for people who are not familiar with Spanish or are still in the learning phase and are not yet fluent. The students would come before the actual program starts and spend some time—from two weeks to a month—here in Barcelona just studying Spanish. This is the time when they also do other preparatory courses like for math and accounting.

During the entire first year after the regular classes, there are additional Spanish lessons given to the students who are not yet fluent. This is done in small groups at different levels depending on the proficiency level of the student.

The Spanish lessons continue throughout the first year of the Program. In the second year of the Program, students have the option of choosing certain electives which are given in the Spanish language (remember that IESE's second year is completely elective). In this way students have an opportunity to improve their Spanish-speaking skills and, in fact, can even become fluent by the time they graduate.

I must also comment on another section in our program. There's a special section which consists of students who are already bilingual. Typically we take in about 210 to 220 candidates every year and about a third of them go into a section called "The Bilingual Section." In this section only the classes are taught right from day one in Spanish and in English. The other sections are 100% English speaking sections.

Is it necessary for someone to have learned Spanish previously in order to apply to the program?

Absolutely not. About 80% of our students are international (non-Spanish), and most of the students will not know much Spanish when they join the program. I, myself, when I came from India, couldn't speak a word of Spanish but by the time I graduated I think I could a hold decent conversation in Spanish. Candidates do not need to know any Spanish to join IESE's Full-Time MBA Program.

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