IE Business School Online Masters
Ted Pawela
September 28, 2010

My peers in the IE Executive MBA will recognize this as probably the most frequently asked question during the “presential period” we spent in Madrid to kick off the program.  Just about a year ago, when the idea to get an MBA (at age 48, no less) took root in my head I started to research schools.  The Business Week rankings, Financial Times rankings, and WSJ rankings were my starting point and I thought they represented my most important decision criterion.  I read forums and blogs and just about anything I could get access to that gave me opinions of other students, and I found a great deal of debate on the topic.  Many prospective students took the position that they had to go to Wharton, Chicago (Booth), Harvard, Insead, or IMD because they considered them “first tier” schools – and they were pretty derisive towards anyone who decided to go anywhere else.  At first glance I thought that maybe the reasoning was correct.  After all, you get the MBA to advance in your career, and you want it to be take seriously, right?

But “a funny thing happened on the way to the forum” as it were.  I began to ask myself what it really meant to “advance”.  What were my goals, and how would an MBA help me to achieve them?  My selection criterion became crystal clear:  a strong international business exposure, faculty that could stand toe-to-toe with global leaders, a program flexible enough to accommodate a work schedule that includes 200,000 miles of air travel each year, ability to spend my weekends at home with family, and no compromises on the education I would realize.  It’s a tall order, and I found only one school that met my standards.  Despite re-evaluating the decision multiple times I always arrived at the same result:  IE.

I’m not trying to promote IE (though I love it and am a huge advocate).  What I am promoting is the idea that your MBA decision should be based most of all on matching the school and program with your goals, lifestyle constraints, and expectations – not just the rankings.  They are important, but aside from (maybe) landing your very first job, nobody is going to hire you (or decide not to) because your MBA is from Insead rather than IMD, or Thunderbird rather than Wharton, or Michigan rather than IE.  You will be judged first and foremost based on your personality, attitude, and abilities – and I have 26 years of workforce experience, many in which I’ve reported direct to CEOs on which to base that opinion.

I’m extremely happy with my decision to come to IE, and today even more convinced that I made the right choice for my own goals and needs.  And by the way, 4 months into the program and comparing notes with colleagues at some of the schools I mentioned above, I feel qualified to tell you this is indeed a first tier program.  If you’re already attending IE I hope you feel the same.  If you’re thinking of starting your own MBA journey, keep in mind that your choice of schools is a chance to do more than just memorize the rankings – it’s an opportunity to exercise your critical thinking skills, and prepare an authentic and sincere response to the inevitable question that in my case is, “Why IE?”.

-Ted


5 Comments

Being a current student, I can second the fact that the program definitely helps stretch critical thinking muscles. The curriculum, professors, and student body truly make this a first tier program. But agreed, “why IE” is best answered by fit. Does it fit your goals, your lifestyle, etc. Otherwise, before you know it, you maybe asking yourself “why IE” in a different tone…

Comment by Rita — September 29, 2010 @ 11:32 pm

Hi there mates, its great post regarding educationand completely explained,
keep it up all the time.

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