IESE’s MBA Program Turns 50

83% students international, representing 57 countries



The incoming MBA class celebrates the 50th anniversary of the program

The IESE Full-Time MBA kicks off today, celebrating 50 years since its inception. The incoming MBA cohort, a record 291 students of whom 83% are international, will begin classes in Barcelona. Students have come from new fewer than 57 different countries: 25% from Asia, 23% from Europe, 20% from Latin America, 13% from North America and 2% from the Middle East. Diverse nationalities on campus include students from Spain, the US, Brazil, Japan, India, the Gulf, China, Canada, Chile and Italy.

IESE’s full-time MBA began in 1964 and has the joint distinction of being the first two-year MBA program in Europe, as well as the first MBA program in Spain. From the outset, the program has received guidance and support from the Harvard Business School via the Harvard-IESE Committee. Landmarks include becoming the first bilingual MBA in the world in 1980. In 2014 the Financial Times ranked the program 3rd in Europe and 7th worldwide.

The IESE MBA is characterized by its international scope, and its commitment to innovation and excellence in executive education. High amongst its many achievements over the last 50 years is its robust network of more than 10,000 alumni. It has also taken an increasing focus on globalization with the launch of exchange programs with top international schools, and new modules in New York, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Nairobi.

Professional development and careers are a major focus. Last year’s course saw some 88% of MBA graduates find work via its world-class Career Services. Students benefit from international Career Fairs in New York, London, Singapor, Madrid and Barcelona, many of which are collaborative events in conjunction with leading international schools such as the London Business School.

Entrepreneurship also sits at the heart of the IESE MBA. One third of all IESE graduates go on to become entrepreneurs. Since 1973 the program has promoted the entrepreneurial spirit through specific courses and teaching subjects, as well as a variety of key initiatives. These include events such as breakfasts with leading entrepreneurs, and specific platforms like the MBA Entrepreneurs Club and Doing Good and Doing Well, which takes a special focus on social entrepreneurship. IESE helps map out opportunities for students to secure financing for their projects via its seed-capital project FINAVES, and the IESE Business Angels Network.

Prof. Franz Heukamp, IESE's MBA Director: "The 50th anniversary of IESE´s MBA program marks an important step in IESE´s history, and reflects how the program has been able to continually adapt to the times, while keeping intact its essence and core values - development of leaders who have a truly positive impact, wherever they are. The rightful protagonists of this anniversary are the many thousands of alumni of the MBA Program who each day contribute to the improvement of the life of others through their work, the interest they take and the affection they show."