Tuesday Tips: IESE MBA Essays and Tips for 2022-2023


IESE Business School offers a world-class MBA program based in Barcelona, Spain, which started as an alliance with Harvard Business School. The IESE MBA program attracts students from more than 64 different countries and offers a globally-minded education in either 15 or 19 months.

The IESE MBA ranking and brand continue to rise. In fact, The Economist crowned IESE the number-one full-time MBA program in the world in 2021.  To teach its core general management curriculum, the school uses both the Case Method and other experience-based learning approaches. (Instruction takes place in both English and Spanish.)

You can learn more about the allure of international MBA program options by reading our consultant advice: Why US Applicants Should Consider MBA Programs Abroad.

IESE is looking for MBA applicants with academic ability, personal drive, and confidence. Also, your IESE MBA application should include leadership, work experience, and an international outlook.

Make sure you show you have excellent communication skills, a team player mentality, and strong values. As you draft your IESE MBA essays, remember to weave these attributes into your MBA application.

For more advice on your IESE MBA application from top-ranked MBA consultants, contact Stacy Blackman Consulting today. To learn more about IESE, visit the school website.

Application Essay #1

Tell us about a time that you created impact on an individual, company or community? What did you learn from it? (word limit 300 max)

Through our years of experience with successful MBA candidates, we have witnessed the power of strong, attention-grabbing personal stories. You don’t have to be perfect, but you should be genuine and personal. This set of IESE MBA essays starts with behavioral question to get at how you show up with others.

Any essay prompt that starts with “tell us about a time” is a behavioral question. We recommend using the STAR method to approach answering this essay prompt. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. This is a short hand way to remember to describe the set up, what was required of you, what you actually did, and what happened.

As you describe how you took action in this situation, be as specific as possible. Describe how you felt, what you said and what you did. This behavioral question also asks what you learned. This is a request for your personal perspective. Consider why you chose this story. What does it say about your values? Think about why this story resonated with you, and how it impacted your own life.

Application Essay #2

What are your short-term and mid-term post-MBA goals? How will the IESE MBA program help you achieve them? (word limit 300 max)

Essay two focuses specifically on your short and mid-term career goals and why IESE. The admissions committee can see your resume within the application, so this essay should give the background of who you are and why you have made your choices. Think about one or two pivotal career moments you may want to explore.

Ideally, your experiences have led to a career goal that you can describe clearly in both the short and mid term. In other words, be specific. For example, if you want to go into venture capital after graduation, talk about the industry you would like to focus on. Then, discuss what progress you envision after five to eight years in venture capital. What level will you be and where will you focus? Consider if you want to experience different industries or firms in the first several years after your MBA graduation.

Finally, you should explain why an MBA is your next step. What will you learn in the IESE MBA program to complement your work experiences? Will your classmates and the environment benefit from your expertise? Specific classes and professors are always useful details to add.

Optional Essay

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

This optional essay is entirely open-ended and allows you to explain anything additional. Therefore, think about the stories you could tell about your background and questions to describe your journey.

If you focused on your career in the previous questions, this is a great essay to tell a personal story. For example, you could describe your background and motivations that have led to your accomplishments. Or, you could discuss a challenge in your life that has built character and impacted your life journey. Finally, make sure to include specific details to strengthen your story.

Also, to track this essay to the IESE MBA criteria, you could use this space to demonstrate that you have personal drive, an international outlook, and strong values.


We have helped countless applicants achieve their MBA dreams. Contact us to learn how Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with your MBA applications this season.

If you are looking for MBA application guidance but are always on the go, consider downloading the audio version of The MBA Application Roadmap. Now you can develop your admissions strategy while you exercise, clean up or during your morning commute.

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