2023-2024 IESE Business School MBA Essay Analysis



Welcome to the ultimate guide for crafting compelling essays to secure your spot in the prestigious IESE Business School MBA Program. In the journey towards your MBA dreams, the application essays play a pivotal role, allowing you to articulate your unique story, aspirations, and potential contributions.

IESE MBA Essay Analysis

In this article, we will delve deep into the essay prompts, offering insights, strategies, and real-life examples to help you stand out from the crowd and make your application to IESE truly shine.

MBA Application Deadlines

Decision By
Decision By
R1September 19, 2023October 3, 2023November 20, 2023
R2January 9, 2024January 26, 2024March 18, 2024
R3March 21, 2024April 8, 2024May 20, 2024
R4May 13-31, 2024May 21-June 5, 2024June 3-17, 2024

IESE Business School MBA Essay Analysis

There is one compulsory prompt and one optional essay prompt.

Let’s analyse the required prompt

Career Goals Essay: What are your short-term and mid-term post-MBA goals? How will the IESE MBA program help you achieve them? (300 words)

Essay Analysis

This question stands apart from other similar prompts that usually inquire about short and long-term goals, but not mid-term goals.

So, what exactly do mid-term goals entail? It’s important to grasp the distinction between these phases of planning.

A mid-term goal typically spans 1 to 3 years and focuses on enhancing your journey, building expertise in a specific area, acquiring new skills, or uncovering fresh passions.

Think of these as stepping stones towards your unmentioned long-term goals. Outline the steps you plan to take, creating clear markers that transition from short-term to long-term aspirations.

Mapping and timeline-creation

Begin by briefly mentioning your long-term goals to provide context, before delving into your short-term goals. Transition smoothly between these sections, ensuring they seamlessly connect. Effective demarcations and clear checkpoints between each phase should show the natural progression of your planning and the thoroughness of your preparation. This demonstrates your foresight and careful consideration.

Long-Term Goal: Creating access to medical infrastructure in X country.

Short-Term Goals:

  • Networking and obtaining contacts.
  • Finding a mentor in the field.
  • Gaining relevant job experience, potentially as a consultant, specialist, or manager focused on research.

Mid-Term Goals:

  • Pursuing further education, such as a degree or certification.
  • Cross-training in a related area to enhance expertise.
  • Seeking promotions or opportunities that allow you to contribute more significantly.
  • Exploring funding options or researching for the establishment of a startup or organization to realize your long-term goal of improving medical infrastructure access.

This progression illustrates a clear roadmap from short-term achievements to mid-term development, all culminating in the attainment of your long-term aspiration.

Be specific

To prepare your response, it’s essential to research the specific opportunities that IESE offers. Begin by thoroughly exploring the IESE website, learning about their programs, faculty, and unique aspects that make them stand out.

Reach out to alumni or read success stories that attribute their achievements to IESE. Blend these insights into your answer about your short and mid-term goals.

Explain why these IESE opportunities are crucial for your plans. Do they provide you with skills you need? What are those skills? Why do you consider IESE the right fit? How does IESE stand apart from other universities? Use these details to highlight how IESE aligns with your goals and why you’re excited about joining their program.

This approach will show your genuine interest and well-informed decision-making. Ensure that you pay special attention to the qualities that they seek – 

‘As the MBA Program’s intention is to prepare competent, responsible, and ethical leaders, the Admissions Committee is interested in many aspects of a candidate’s personality. Please prepare your application and essays carefully to best demonstrate who you are and how you fit with the IESE MBA Program.’

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)

Address any employment gaps or academic concerns honestly, providing a clear and concise explanation of the challenges you faced and how you have overcome them. This will demonstrate your determination and resilience as a candidate.

Focus on highlighting your strengths and unique qualities that set you apart. Discuss your engagement in extracurricular activities, such as local philanthropic drives, sports, or hobbies, and explain how these experiences have shaped you as a person and contributed to your work ethic.

Ensure that your narrative centers around your suitability as a candidate and adds value to the discussion of your candidacy for the program. Avoid irrelevant information and stay focused on showcasing your potential to thrive in the MBA program.

Video Essay

This year you will also complete a Video Essay as part of the application. Once you submit the written application and pay the application fees, you will receive a Kira Video Essay link (within 24-hours) to be completed by the Application Round Deadline.

The link will expire in 48-hours after receipt, hence to provide yourself with adequate time we recommend submitting the written section a few days ahead of the deadline.

There will be two video essay questions that you will be required to complete. We will consider your application as complete and ready to be reviewed only once we have received your answers to the video questions. All instructions for this section will be shared with you along with the link.

How to create the video essay effectively

To approach this effectively, you’ll need to invest hours watching videos on similar content, create a well-structured speech outline, practice both alone and with a partner. The video essay demands strong body language, effective speaking skills, and a charisma that can only be experienced firsthand—its impact can vary, influenced by how individuals perceive you, resulting in somewhat variable standards.

Nevertheless, this provides an excellent opportunity to demonstrate to the admissions committee that you’re a confident candidate capable of effectively handling the challenge of an elevator pitch.

Given the 3-minute time limit for the video, roughly 400 to 450 words, it’s advisable to draft a basic script and rehearse it repeatedly to ensure a polished delivery. Though time-intensive, this process hones skills that prove valuable for the Kira video assessment as well. Furthermore, this format enables you to narrate your experiences using various inflections and expressions, enhancing your presentation.

Video essay tips

Be concise

Depending on which aspect of your personality you want to highlight, pick 1 to 3 incidents to describe yourself. Opt for incidents you can summarize within 30 seconds. Then, discuss your takeaways and why the incident was significant. A streamlined draft ensures efficient use of your limited time and words.

Be expressive

In the video format, you can employ rhetoric, humor, or non-verbal cues like facial expressions and hand gestures. Aim to incorporate the first two for a semi-conversational tone, engaging the admissions committee. Use impactful phrases, famous quotes, or a motto as a structural guide. Be cautious not to choose overly specialized or abstract references. This approach creates a web of relatability in your speech.

Presentation matters

Prior to recording:

Besides dressing appropriately and minimizing distractions, pay attention to your clothing, background, and lighting. Make sure your camera and microphone work smoothly, without any technical issues. Have ample memory space to allow for multiple takes, ensuring you capture your best performance. This practice can also help alleviate any nervousness you might experience while n front of a camera.

During recording:

Rehearse your script several times to become comfortable with the rhythm and flow of your answers. This familiarity allows you to add your own personal touch. When delivering the speech, let your genuine self shine through your words. Radiate warmth, smile, and ensure you’re at ease. Integrating humor or asking rhetorical questions, usually difficult in essays, can enhance your delivery. However, be cautious to avoid filler words like ‘ummm,’ ‘oh,’ and ‘ah,’ as these can reflect on your confidence and thought flow.

Post recording:

Ensure there are no speech or body language errors by seeking a second opinion from someone you know. This helps assess if you made a positive impact. Make multiple correctly named copies of the file for backup. If submitting a video link, securely store it on a reliable cloud space, verify link access, and ensure it opens without issues. Lastly, double-check video quality, as it may degrade during uploading, downloading, or rendering.

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