Student Profile: Mariel Rezende, IESE Business School

Student Profile: Mariel Rezende, IESE Business School main image

Mariel Rezends, IESEMariel Rezende is a current student at IESE Business School in Barcelona.

Before taking the plunge to study for her MBA, Rezende had five years’ work experience under her belt, and held the role of Design Engineer at Rehrig Pacific Company in Atlanta, Georgia.

She speaks with TopMBA.com about the application process, her time on the program, and advice for future IESE applicants.

What were you doing before starting your MBA?

I was a mechanical engineer doing product development for consumer and industrial goods. I started doing product development for baby toy, which meant working with internal teams and overseas manufacturers to convert designs into manufactured products.

After three years there I transitioned to an industrial goods company where I worked more closely with sales and clients on custom solutions. On the side, I was heavily involved with a small social impact start up, Wish for WASH, which focused on providing sanitation solutions to underserved communities.

What factors led you to pursue a graduate degree?

I started to realize almost all the jobs I found more interesting than my own, or had more strategic decision-making power were held by people with MBAs.

I also felt the MBA would accelerate my career development, allowing me to make bigger shifts sooner than if I transitioned into new roles organically.

What tools did you use to research programs and universities?

As soon as I committed to applying for the upcoming year, I went to an MBA fair and met some representatives. I quickly got a feel for the schools and got contacts for follow up calls. 

I balanced the admissions office contacts with a variety of online resources, including rankings, and school websites to create an initial list. 

From there I visited local schools and reached out to recent alumni at the schools further away. Once I decided to apply to IESE, I booked a flight on miles to visit the school after admissions results were released. I wanted to step foot on campus before making a final decision.

What factored in to your final choice of where to study?

Diversity, academic rigor, and alignment with my values. I’d been in the same city for nine years and knew I needed to experience different perspectives to become a well-rounded leader.

By studying with people from across the globe, learning Spanish, and exploring Europe, I felt I’d get the diversity I craved.

The case method at IESE and more structured first year meant I’d build a solid business foundation. I didn’t want to rush that, and so I realized a one-year program wouldn’t be a good fit, nor would one that was overly specialized.

What do you most love about the school/program?

Hands down it’s the people. I think the global nature at IESE can’t be understated, and that’s down to the student body.

On my first-year team, we had nine people from nine different countries that had worked across the globe. Beyond the classroom, people are open, warm and giving to each other. You’ll see once people find jobs, they turn right back around and help prep their peers for interviews.

What is your favorite thing about the city/campus?

We’re fortunate to be based in Barcelona, and one of my favorite parts of the campus is the North Campus rooftop with views of the whole city. Barcelona is a global city, but it still feels homey. You can cross the city by moto quickly which makes it easy to explore. You have awesome outdoor spaces, historical landmarks and a variety of restaurants all at your fingertips. 

What is your best experience on the program to date?

As part of the sailing club I helped organize a long weekend sailing trip from Barcelona for about 45 people. Several of our classmates are licensed skippers, so we took five yachts along the coastline, and organized additional social events at the ports. It was great to introduce people to sailing and provide a unique social experience to our. It meant we also took advantage of our location on the Mediterranean.

Were there any specific reasons you were attracted to the program?

I was very drawn to the fact that IESE is a general management program. Since I’ll be transitioning from engineering into a business role, I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t have major knowledge gaps, and the first-year core covers this.

I was also very interested in the international intensive modules that build on the global foundation of the school. I’ve done one week in Sao Paolo, Brazil and, in fifth term, I plan to do two weeks in Shanghai, China for the IESE Business School International Modules.

What do you plan to do once you graduate?

I plan to transition into management consulting. I interned in it this summer, and I’m really looking forward to continuing to learn and grow in a dynamic environment.

Would you do anything differently if you could research and apply to business school again?

I would have started a little bit earlier. I researched, took the GMAT, and applied in the six months leading up to the deadline, which was a heavy workload alongside a job.

What do you think is the biggest myth about applying to business school?

I think you hear myths about business school itself, which are that everyone is a money hungry egomaniac. With loans and the realities of life you can’t escape money, but I haven’t found it to be the driving motivation for student’s decisions. 

What is the one piece of advice you have for incoming students?

Get a moto because it’s a) fun and b) makes getting around so easy. But I think the most important thing is to be open to new experiences. If you’re open and willing to work hard, there are so many wonderful opportunities that the school provides you with.

Written by Niamh Ollerton

Niamh is Assistant Editor of TopMBA.com, creating and editing content for an international MBA 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 the business world.  

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