MBA Careers Q&A: IESE Business School

MBA careers interview with IESE Business School

The concept of ‘fit’ is a popular one in the world of business education – the idea being that any given MBA program or school will suit the preferences, aims and interests of some people more than others. Logic dictates that the very same concept can be applied to the companies an MBA student might wish to work for post-graduation and, consequently, business school careers centers will often seek to address ‘fit’ in their work with students.

The University of Navarra’s IESE Business School is an example of a school which believes firmly in the importance of cultural fit when it comes to the MBA recruitment process. To this end, the school’s career services team organizes a range of events designed to allow students to, “find out about the values and culture of a company,” according to Nico Van Den Brink, IESE’s MBA career services director. “We recommend that students take advantage of any interactions planned by career services,” he adds. Interested in finding out the other ways in which the careers center at IESE Business School helps students prepare for the process of finding the right post-MBA job? Read on…

Nico Van Den Brink, IESE’s MBA career services directorDoes the IESE career services team work with the MBA admissions team during applicant assessment?

The career services team at IESE is, on occasion, involved in interviewing candidates and participating to admission fairs. I am also part of the MBA admissions committee.

When do on-campus corporate recruitment events and interviews typically take place at IESE?

For internship interviews, they start on January 9 and run until May. For full-time interviews, they start in October and run until April.

In addition, at IESE Barcelona we have two career forums which take place usually in October and in Febuary/March. Two career events in New York and Singapore, as well as three career fairs, by region, that are done in collaboration with other business schools, brings the total number of major career events to seven.

Are there particular skills that the career services team helps students to accentuate during job fairs and recruiting?

We have career coaches who apply their expertise to student's individual needs, be these planning their next career step, or negotiating an offer.

The career services team has also created a complete career curriculum. Throughout the MBA, we organize a series of sessions and workshops to address the development of skills required to thrive in today’s competitive job market.

In terms of skills, we work on the communication skills that will allow them to have effective conversations with recruiters. We help them with their personal pitch so that they are able to make a strong impact when introducing themselves. With regards to recruiting, we work on many different aspects of students’ preparation – for example, building their personal story as well as the specific aspects of interviewing. This includes competency-based interviewing skills but also technical skills that they will need in certain industries.

How does the careers team help MBA students prepare for recruitment events? In what ways do you help match students with companies that will be a good cultural fit for them?

Alongside the career curriculum, we have a team of experienced key account managers (KAMs) who know the different companies coming onto campus for recruitment. These managers provide feedback to students in respect to their value-fit with companies they are targeting. We believe that it is very important for students to fit with the culture of an organization and, in order to ensure this, we recommend that students take advantage of any interactions planned by career services. We organize treks, company presentations, career fairs and alumni meetings…they are all great opportunities to find out about the values and culture of a company.

Are there any new companies recruiting on campus? Have you seen a change in industries?

The number of companies recruiting on campus that are from non-traditional MBA recruitment sectors continues to increase in particular. Technology and media as well as consumer goods continue to grow but so do other sectors, making the companies and sectors recruiting on campus more diverse. This is also aligned with students’ changing interests – increasingly, we have seen them accept a startup over a strategy consulting firm and look to make an impact after their MBA.

Are there any changes to the way in which companies are recruiting?

Many companies recruit at IESE for roles globally and, as a result, video conference interviews are increasingly part of the recruitment process.

What kind of contact does the IESE careers center have with MBAs after they graduate?

We have a very active alumni community; our alumni get involved in many activities organized by the ‘Alumni Division’ at IESE. We keep in touch with a large number of alumni and often invite them back onto campus to share their experiences with us. Many alumni also actively recruit on campus. Furthermore, our alumni network includes those who now hold strategic positions within companies, and this allows our KAMs to catch new trends and sustain their network.

Written by Mike Grill

Mike's remit covers content, SEO and blogger outreach. Outside of his work for TopMBA.com, he is an assistant coach for MLU outfit, the Portland Stags.

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