MBA Class of 2015: Globally Diverse, Socially Inspired
New students reflect record-breaking number of countries
Classes have begun in the MBA program and the Class of 2015 is more international than ever, with the 275 students representing 60 nationalities and a host of languages ranging from German, Portuguese and Armenian to Japanese and Mandarin.
"On the first day I shared a table with an Egyptian, a German, a Moroccan and then a South Korean joined us and I thought, that’s why I’m here," says Bruno Neiva Furtado from Rio de Janeiro. "There are people from all over the world here with ideas that are completely different from mine," says Hilda Kabushenga who is from Uganda. "I will develop abilities here that would be unimaginable in my country."
Betty Fan Wenyue, who comes from Guangzhou in China says "the thing that’s made the biggest impression on me so far are the people. The second-year students have helped us with everything, the professors are very dynamic and the students I’ve met are very diverse and talented."
Hilda says her long-term goal is to be a social entrepreneur in Uganda "to help my country and help people." Before that she hopes to work in private equity in order to learn how to raise finance for her social projects. Talar Sarkissian epitomizes the international profile of the MBA intake. "I grew up in Toronto and I went to a French school and was raised speaking Armenian, so English, French and Armenian were the languages I grew up with," she says, adding that she has already reached Level 10 in a 12-stage Spanish course.
"I’m really interested in development work, going into countries and helping to build sustainable companies and improving the quality of life of the local community," Talar says. "I realized that to make a real impact with that sort of work I needed more experience. IESE was my top choice because of the culture and the international experience. Also they pick great people. It’s not just about being competitive, it’s about developing trustworthy, good people. The real world is dark and it’s hard to find people who have that bright light and who really do want to make a difference and I think this school finds them and brings them all together."
The Class of 2015 come from many different academic backgrounds but Bernhard Bonelli from Austria is perhaps the only one with a degree in philosophy, with a special fondness for Aristotle and the phenomenologist Martin Heidegger.
"There’s not a lot you can do with a degree in philosophy but the big consulting firms appreciate that kind of education," says Bernhard, who is sponsored on the course by his employer, the Boston Consulting Group. "They like to have non-business and business people work together because you get different points of view."
Betty believes she has a vocation for leadership adding that "leadership is a very generic concept and I need to find out what kind of leader I want to be, in what sector, and what functions I want to perform."
All of the students are attracted to IESE’s mission to educate people to make a positive impact on society. "I believe it’s possible to be successful in business while maintaining your principles and not just helping your company but improving the situation of all your stakeholders," says Eduard Martí Bofill from Barcelona. "You have to do business in a sustainable and moral way. So IESE’s vision and mine are complementary."
"To make a positive impact, first you have to feel good about yourself so before I do anything positive for society, first I want to be truthful and honest with myself and my colleagues," says Bruno.
"My life’s mission is to make a positive impact and to provide food for the soul," says Bernhard. "I believe there is a hunger for this kind of food. In my professional life I think I have a vocation to be a public servant. I’d like to bring what I’ve learned from the corporate world to the public and political sphere."
Their first few days at IESE have made a positive impression on all of them. Talar sums up her first impressions: "The campus is gorgeous, the weather is great and the people are wonderful."