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What Does the Future Hold for MBA Candidates?: Esade Ramon Llull University Q&A

What Does the Future Hold for MBA Candidates?: Esade Ramon Llull University Q&A main image

After a difficult year, the MBA job market is finally bouncing back.

But what does the future hold for MBA candidates and business schools?

TopMBA caught up with Maria Obiols, Career Services Director at Esade Ramon Llull University to find out.

How has the job market changed this year from last year?

We have seen an impact on MBA recruitment across different sectors, functions, locations, and companies. There is a clear sectorial shift, where healthcare, pharma, and tech companies are on the rise with their hiring needs, while other industries are forced to suspend their recruitment processes.

In general, companies are opting to recruit for core business functions to satisfy their immediate needs, rather than for non-essential roles. Professionals with experience in a specific sector or region are in greater demand. 

In Europe, one of the first greatly affected regions, most internship timelines were respected, while full-time recruitment was often delayed. Many large organizations decided to continue with their hiring processes as planned and proved to be more resistant to crisis.

What is the recruitment process like at ESADE?

The admission process begins when the candidate fills in the admission form available on our program's website. When the candidate clicks ‘submit,’ they must also send documents using the same portal they used to fill in their admission application. This helps us evaluate their candidacy, ensure they fulfil the requirements for our programs, and have an interesting profile.

Once the candidate has submitted all the documents, the application is reviewed by our Application Manager. If all the information is correct, the file then goes to the Associate Director of Admissions for their region, who will decide whether to invite candidates for an official interview. We always get to know the candidate first-hand, from the beginning to the end of the admissions process.

All selected applicants are interviewed by an Associate Director of Admissions. Official interviews for the ESADE MBA program can be conducted in person, either in Barcelona, or at one of our international off-campus admissions events, or the interview can be done online.

In the official admissions interview, the Associate Director will ensure the candidate is a good fit for the program and for ESADE, but that the program and ESADE are also a good fit for the candidate.

After the official interview, the application will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee, which looks at academic performance, professional experience, test scores, international experience, essays, and recommendations.

During the admissions process, candidates have many opportunities to interact with the ESADE community including current and former lecturers and students.

The Recruitment and Admissions Team will provide these contacts so that if candidates receive other offers, they have all the information needed to make an informed final decision. The entire process takes between two to four weeks from when the candidate submits the application materials, including GMAT scores and English proficiency results.

What do you look for in ESADE candidates?

We are looking for bright candidates with good prior training and experiences, but attitude, mindset, and ambitions are at least equally important. Beyond the application requirements themselves, we are looking for three key traits in successful MBA candidates:

  • Do they have leadership potential? That is, have they taken on increasing challenges and increased levels of responsibility during their career?
  • Will they thrive in an international environment such as we have on campus? They don’t need to have lived and worked in half a dozen countries, but have they taken advantage of opportunities to immerse themselves in different cultures, languages, and business environments?
  • Do they understand our MBA and the collaborative, teamwork-based learning environment we have here?

Candidates who receive an offer usually ‘tick’ all three of these boxes, as well as any other outstanding characteristics they may possess. Critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills are also key features for us.

What special resources does ESADE have for business school students when it comes to careers? How do you prepare them for life after graduation?

The goal of ESADE Careers goes beyond placement and rankings. This year, we have put special effort into preparing our MBA students to face job uncertainty with confidence, a positive attitude, and creativity, regardless of their immediate goals.

We have applied an integrated approach, and combined personal, career, and academic journeys. Throughout their MBA experience, ESADE students work on their personal and career development through group sessions and individual career coaching. Interaction with companies takes place through corporate events, as well as sector-specific intensive Career Acceleration Programs.

How successful are ESADE MBA graduates at landing a job after graduation? What is the success rate? And what are some of the notable companies?

Some 91 percent of our 2020 graduates found full-time employment within three months of graduation. Companies that offered jobs to ESADE MBA graduates this year include: Amazon, J&J, McKinsey, Microsoft, Accenture, BCG, Roland Berger, Infosys, Bain & Co., Morgan Stanley, Lilly, EY, Zoom, American Express, Estée Lauder, Novartis, Klarna, and Pfizer.

Why should students choose to study for an MBA?

I believe an MBA provides priceless value for personal and professional growth. It is a life changing experience and a career accelerator, which provides you with meaningful specific knowledge and new perspectives. An MBA also offers a unique exposure to a diverse environment.

It can also be particularly important for innovators and entrepreneurs, and it offers many opportunities to focus or reorient your professional life. All in all, it is an amazing international experience with clear economic returns.

Why should students choose to study an MBA at ESADE?

For our reputation and our academic excellence, as well as for the career prospects that the ESADE MBA can bring, leading companies around the world seek ESADE talent.

The differentiating factors of our program and the educational experience we offer, specifically, for our commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship. We open the doors to a successful career through various professional development events and global initiatives – such as the 4YFN International Entrepreneurship Congress, interaction with other entrepreneurs, and contact with entrepreneurship hubs around the world (including London, Berlin, and Silicon Valley). We also develop specific academic initiatives, such as the Challenge Based Innovation in collaboration with CERN. Moreover, Esade has developed the Rambla of Innovation, a learning ecosystem that includes six learning labs, and where education merges with innovation and experimentation.

Thirdly, for its collaborative nature, as well as for the diversity we offer, with more than 126 nationalities on campus.

We offer a flexible and student-oriented program which can be done in 12, 15 or 18 months, which can be customized through electives and career acceleration programs.

And finally, the ESADE MBA allows students to enjoy Barcelona, one of Europe’s most dynamic hubs for start-ups, culture, technology, design, sport, and research.

What do you think the future holds for the MBA?

I believe there will be increasing segmentation between MBA programs. For example, I consider reputation will become even more important, and the gap will increase between top-ranking programs and other programs. I also believe we will see various regional trends in the US, Europe, and Asia.

Demand for shorter and more flexible and modularized programs will increase, which is one of the strengths of the ESADE MBA.

Finally, I believe the big question now is what will we learn from the pandemic, and what adaptations will continue in the new normal.

Niamh Ollerton, Deputy Head of Content at QS
Written by Niamh Ollerton

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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