MBA Entrepreneurship Q&A: IESE Business School

MBA Entrepreneurship Q&A: IESE Business School main image

Released earlier this year, the QS MBA Rankings by Specialization 2019 reveal which MBA programs provide the best preparation for careers in a range of different fields, from finance to technology.

IESE Business School – University of Navarra is ranked as the fifth best MBA program in Europe and joint sixth best MBA program in the world for fostering entrepreneurship. To learn more about how the MBA program at IESE can prepare you for a career in finance, we spoke to Eddy Zakes, Director of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center of IESE Business School.

What elements of the MBA program at IESE are ideally suited for students with an entrepreneurial mindset?

I would highlight three things. One, the general management perspective is ideal for those who would like to learn from a wide range of personas which would be interesting to get to know and learn from.

Two, this is a concentrated space of highly ambitious yet grounded characters. This makes it a very good place to find a co-founder with similar values.

Three, the length of the program (19 months) allows entrepreneurs to experiment with ideas and engage in a lot of opportunities. You can pick out different things you´re interested in or skills you´d still like to adapt when choosing your electives.

Why should prospective students interested in starting their own business consider your school? What can IESE offer which makes it distinct from other business schools?

It is not just our business school or the curriculum that fosters the entrepreneurial mindset but the vibrant city of Barcelona which is a rapidly growing hub for start-ups and technology companies. Studying here means you get to have this city as your “entrepreneurial playground”.

The Case Study Method also trains you to have a more entrepreneurial mindset, to make better decisions, to know what to consider in any problems you face along the way. This all prepares you to lead your future company.

If you were an MBA student interested in entrepreneurship, what do you think you’d enjoy most about the MBA program(s) at IESE?

Everything in this environment allows you to hone your entrepreneurial mindset. There are clear opportunities to enjoy and take advantage of, from the summer entrepreneurship experience which allows you to try out and launch a business idea while being guided by investors, mentors and professors, to entrepreneurial electives such as New Ventures, New Product Development, and Entrepreneurial Finance.

There’s also the possibility for independent study projects and even international modules based in New York, Sao Paulo, Nairobi and Shanghai where one can learn how business is done in various continents in such a short period of time

IESE allows you choose your own path and to improve skills which you think you still need to acquire. There are a lot of entrepreneurial options but more than that, the ease of getting mentors and professors, co-students and alumni to help you along the way is key.

What proportion of recent graduates are starting their own business? How has this changed over the last decade?

Statistically a third of students within 5 years of graduation are starting their own business. Over the years, there has been a stronger demand for entrepreneurial careers, not necessarily starting one´s own business, but working within start-ups, fin-techs, venture capital firms, innovation departments in corporations and similar spaces which require a strong entrepreneurial mind-set – for this reason, the training at IESE is very relevant.

What are the necessary skills all entrepreneurs need and how does IESE ensure its graduates leave the school with those skills?

Entrepreneurs need to make a lot of difficult decisions. At IESE, the case method uniquely prepares MBAs for better decision making. IESE is the space to try ideas out without the risk.

Written by Craig OCallaghan

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