Never Too Young to Prepare for Global Business

Future MBAs sample the Summer School and Young Talent Program


IESE Summer School 2015

IESE 2015 Summer School brought together 68 university undergraduates representing around 18 nationalities / Photo: Paul MacManus

"An MBA is a significant investment. You have to be sure you’re making the right choice."

So says Luis Palencia, IESE professor of accounting and control. And one of the best ways to be sure, he believes, is to gain some experience of that an MBA has to offer before you officially begin.

This is what’s on offer at the IESE Summer School. A "micro-MBA," that represents what Palencia calls "a journey of self-discovery that raises awareness of what an MBA is – and whether it’s the path you want to take."

Doing Business This Summer

The Summer School brought together 58 university undergraduates from around the world this month. Representing no fewer than 18 nationalities, the students spent a full week on campus in Barcelona, getting a taste of life as an IESE MBA, interacting with each other and with IESE’s international faculty, and experiencing the case method.

"It’s given me a real insight into what skills and knowledge I will need to fight in the global business world," said Liwen Xu, 22, a senior year biology student from China.

The global scope and reach of the program and experience were stressed by a number of students, including Tamara Samman, 22, from Dubai and working in London for Cisco: "I believe in continuous learning. This was the perfect opportunity for me to learn in an international environment."

Leo Wibisono Arifin, 25, from Indonesia works as strategic assistant to the CEO of PT SMART Tbk. He agrees. "I was surprised at just how international the Summer School is. We also get to learn how to tackle cases from scratch."

The Young Talent Program

Experiencing the MBA in one week is an intense and immersive experience that can make the difference to a young person thinking of pursuing an MBA. For others, the decision to take their MBA might already be more concrete.

To this end, IESE also offers the Young Talent Program (YTP) – a fast track to a guaranteed place on the MBA program.

This is the experience of Alba Puig, 22, from Barcelona who works in London for Procter & Gamble. "I studied a double-degree in telecommunications engineering and mathematics. I knew I wanted to do something else when I graduated. It’s easier to do the GMAT or the GRE while you are still studying. You have the guarantee of a place on the course while getting your work experience. The Young Talent Program involves a number of seminars – the Next Steps Seminars, which keep you connected. You already belong to the IESE community. It’s like coming home."

Jessica Khairallah, 22, originally from Venezuela and now living in Canada agrees. "My sister is in the YTP. I was curious. So here I am. We even brought a friend with us. It’s been great. Coming from psychology, I thought I would be at a disadvantage. Now I see that the diversity of backgrounds brings fresh perspective to the discussions and to business."

For Jean-Paul Destarac, 23, the experience is almost like a "retreat." Destarac, of dual Guatemalan-US nationality works in New York in Private Equity. The YTP has given him a chance to "re-evaluate my work. And in the leadership classes the people-centered, humanistic approach seeped through - and it has proved to me that what I wanted from IESE is valid and real."

Both the Summer School and the YTP "open doors for students," says Assistant Professor of Leadership Yuan Liao. "Not only do they experience the MBA, but they also about what is going on at an international level in the business world through working with real case studies."