Young Talent Program: A greenhouse for talent

Two program participants describe their experiences


Josep Fabra & Aiyang Zou

Aiyang Zou of China and Josep Fabra of Spain have much in common: both have great talent which has opened the doors to IESE’s Young Talent Program.

Thanks to this program, the future MBA students have been pre-admitted to the MBA and will gain at least two years of first-hand professional experience in multinational firms. At the same time, IESE offers them personalized support and special annual educational sessions during the summer: the Next Step Seminar (NSS).

Aiyang Zou is in her first year of the NSS. With a degree in English and Spanish from the University of Nanjing, she received various academic honors. Her area of interest is marketing, and she has gained experience in the field through work at the Independent Film Festival of China and the chemical group Caldic.

"I think that, with all the general management knowledge that the school is giving me, I´ll have the experience that will help me a lot in my future profession. In the marketing department, you have constant contact with all the people and departments in the company, so I think that a general management focus is useful for this kind of work," she said.

Currently, she is doing an internship in the sales department of The Four Seasons Hotel in Shanghai, while also working in the marketing department of the recruiting agency Robert Walters.

Josep Fabra, who is enjoying his second year in the NSS, studied civil engineering at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and has enhanced his university education with courses abroad such as at University College London and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

"I want to complement my career with business management education. I chose IESE because it is one of the best schools in the world, with students from all over the planet, learning different cultures, seeing different ways of doing things," he said.

At the end of 2012, he joined the sales department as a project manager at Mageba, a company that provides high-end engineering components for infrastructure and buildings. He is based in Switzerland.

The case method "puts you in a situation, you have to make a decision and perfectly simulate what you will be doing in the professional world. It is like what I have experienced now that I work in a multinational," said Zou.

"It is much a more interactive, easy and entertaining way to learn; you are more involved and committed than when you are in a theory-based class," adds Fabra.

They both agree that there is a strong human element in IESE’s MBA, which they expect will bring them "a more holistic view of the company and society." Above all, they want "to learn to be leaders, but from a global and ethical perspective, to be better for society."

"I have heard many people say that IESE’s MBA places much more importance on the human factor in companies, that it has a more humanistic orientation. I agree with this view and I think that the human part is the most important aspect of any company; if you know how to manage people well, you can make the company work well," said Zou.

"In the future I hope to have knowledge, abilities and values for being the best person possible, personally as well as professionally, and this is another reason for doing the program. At the same time, the MBA gives you the chance to change your professional direction, toward a more global vision of the company," said Fabra.

Zou is also keeping her options open: "I would love to go into marketing sometime in the future and join an important agency and I think the MBA will be a great aid. After being at IESE, I have decided to join a sales department and stay in my field. However, the MBA changes people, so I could also change my aspirations and goals."