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IESE Business School MBA Application Essay Questions and Tips

Ranked 13th on the Financial Times Top Business schools in the world, IESE Business School is located in Spain. With five campuses spread across culturally rich cities like Barcelona (main campus), New York, Madrid, Sao Paulo, and Munich.

IESE presents MBA applicants with three essay prompts with a 300 word-limit. While two of the three essay prompts are mandatory to answer, the last one remains optional. Thus, an MBA applicant receives 600-900 words to share their story with the admissions committee at IESE.

Unlike many top schools who stick with the same essay prompts year after year, IESE has been seen to experiment with one of their essay prompts quite often. For their MBA application of 2020-2021, they have changed the essay prompt again.

IESE Business School MBA Application Essays

If you had to come up with a motto for your life, what would it be and why? Please give an example of how you have demonstrated it (word limit 300 max)

This another one of those MBA questions that are super introspective and seem difficult in the beginning. But once you get into the mindset of self-exploration to find these answers, they actually become fun and one of the best experiences you take from your MBA journey.

What is a small sentence that would perfectly describe you? It could be something that highlights some of your favourite qualities about yourself. Or it could be something that you strive to achieve or become everyday.

Whatever it is, follow up the motto with examples of instances when you have very clearly shown the value/skill, or the yearning to have a certain value or achievement.

Describe your short and medium-term post-MBA goals? How will the IESE MBA help you achieve them? (word limit 300 max)

Short and medium-term post-MBA goals refer to goals up to 5-7 years after you graduate from IESE’s MBA class.

First and foremost find out the exact industry, function, and organization you picture yourself working at. A suggestion would be to choose an organization that recruits often at IESE. When a school has corporate connections with an organization and has successfully placed MBA graduates at the said organization, your employability at the school goes up. A student that the school can’t place post-MBA only looks like an avoidable liability during the MBA application stage.

List of companies that recruit at IESE Business School.

Follow up by writing about your transferable skills from your past and current work experience. This, in no way, means repeat your MBA resume. All you really need to do is evaluate all the skills you have acquired up till the MBA, and how these skills will help you be effective in your post-MBA goal.

Now, look at the skills that your post-MBA job would require of you. This is your gap. A gap that will be filled by the IESE MBA. Which particular classes, courses, or events at IESE will help you attain these skills? Be as specific as you can be. Your pre-MBA networking activities will help you in writing this answer.

What would you like to highlight about yourself or your journey which may have not been captured in your application? (word limit 300 max)

The reason this essay prompt is open-ended is to allow the applicant to share the most important aspects of their claim to an MBA spot at IESE rather than putting them in a box.

The best use of this essay prompt is to show how you are a good fit and addition to IESE’s MBA class and community. You can use this space to talk about the diversity, leadership, and other skills you bring to the table.

Don’t blurt out skills on your MBA application though. Instead, share anecdotes that support the claim that you have certain skills. As you decide to share a skill or experience, do evaluate how much value it adds to your MBA profile, if any.

Whatever doesn’t improve your chances to get accepted to IESE shouldn’t be on your IESE MBA application.




For over 15+ years as an Entrepreneur, and India’s Top Educationist, Jatin has led a range of initiatives in the Education Industry. In this role, he has created many successful educational services and products geared towards generating success for professionals aspiring to join IVY League and global Top Tier Universities for MBA Programs, Masters Programs, and undergraduate courses. He is the Founder and CEO of PythaGURUS Education, and has been recognized as a thought leader in the Higher education sector. Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Times of India, India Today, Business Today, Tribune, and many other national newspapers have recognized his work, and have given him numerous opportunities to be a regular columnist. He has also served as a panelist for NDTV, and other national news channels.

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