IE Business School Online Masters
Sufiyan Javeed Sait
July 8, 2011
Now onto Financial Management and Organizational Behavior

Ram Parasuraman
May 7, 2010
GMBA Q&A with Prospective Students: Essay, you say?
Hi everyone! Welcome to the final post in my Q&A series. Of course, the questions never end, but I guess I should put a stop somewhere. I believe that this series consists of the most common questions that were asked by most of you. Over the last few emails, I found complete coverage, this tells me that we have reached “critical mass” in terms of questions. Of course, if you try a bit, you can find a question that is not covered here, but hopefully that is a very specific question.
Q.24 Which would you recommend, the IE Admissions Test or the GMAT?
A.24 In the sport of Cricket, they would call this a “Googly”. A totally unexpected question, but a good one nonetheless. Again, I am not going to dodge this question and emphasize that this is just my opinion, may not match those of IE, other fellow authors or my colleagues worldwide. So here goes.. The GMAT is an international standard for MBA admissions. Some argue that it is unrealistic, does not test the most relevant aspects required from an MBA entrant, etc. But I am a fan! I think preparing for the GMAT was in itself a great experience. I would say that the GMAT was a lot more relevant to my MBA than the GRE was to my MS. Getting a good 650 or 700+ score in the GMAT would require good written English skills and a good aptitude for quantitative analysis. I would say this is your signature, not the bottom line. With a good GMAT score, you show the AdComs that you’ve got talent.
In talking to several people, I have found that the IE written test may be harder for some and easier for others to get through compared to the GMAT. It tests for some specialized skills that it considers as appropriate metrics for incoming candidates. The GMAT gives you access to any business school, but of course, the IE test gives you access to IE. If IE is your only choice, then maybe the latter is more for you, you might save money on the IE test relative to the GMAT if you take rescheduling fees, retakes, etc. I like standardized tests just as a way to benchmark myself to the rest of the world and considering its validity for 5 years should you not be able to execute your plans.
But of course, I would like to repeat that the GMAT or the IE test is but one aspect of your application. There are essays, your academic and professional preparation, the diversity you bring in, etc.
Q.25 Who would you recommend getting the Letter of Recommendation from? Should my boss be involved?
A.25 Again, excellent question. Looks like it takes 7 parts to get into the actual guts of the application process 😉 Jokes aside, you need 2 letters of recommendation (LoR) for the IE GMBA. First rule of thumb, make sure they are real people and that “they” are writing it, not you. Next, you do not need to let your boss know if you are not going to seek company assistance for your tuition fees. It is much more important that the people that write your LoR are those that know you very well and have worked closely with you. As you can see, IE’s letters are a bit more structured and closed ended than many open ended letters that other MBA programs ask for. So, it is crucial that you get properly represented via these letters.
I am not in the AdCom, so I can only guess what they’d look for, but if I were they, I would want to make sure that these letter reflect what you write in your essays. For example, if the recommender says that you love working on your own to find solutions whereas you boast about your teamwork skills in your essays, that is inconsistent. Who do they believe? The other thing I would look for, just as I would in the essays, is to get maximum coverage. So, if you choose 2 people that know you in a different capacity, for example, if you are a manager, getting one from your peer or direct report and another from your customer, would give 2 very different perspectives about you. This would supplement your essays very well and help AdCom understand you quite well.
I hope I am guessing right, if not, if someone from the Admissions Department is reading this, please feel free to correct via the comments and I will retract this answer and apologize for guessing wrong.
Q.26 How did you approach the essays? There are so many in IE’s Application Form!
A.26 Good question! Yes indeed, IE has more questions than other comparable MBA programs. But I think it gives you an excellent opportunity to introspect and find out what you really want from this MBA. It is okay to be entirely honest and present yourself for who you are. MBA programs ask for essays to gauge your experience, your judgment and the style with which you make your argument. This is critical since this shows the AdCom who you are, how you would contribute to the experience of your classmates during the courses. Plus, I think since the GMBA involves a lot of writing, for presentations, for forum posts, during the chat in the videoconferences, etc. it is only apt that your written skills are put to the test.
So, get down and dirty, write about your most notable experiences, just as you would write it yourself. I think the more you write in your natural style, the better your chances. It is easy for anyone to see through a professed writing style and it is not fair to you or your peers for you to write any differently than you normally would. So, be yourself, and write about the most relevant aspects. One tip I can offer is, try not to repeat yourself during essays. It is to your advantage to expose different facets and experiences in your life in each essay. That way, you give a 360 degree view of who you are. The essays are the eyes and ears into you, so make sure you are heard and seen! Differentiate yourself by talking about experiences that made you what you are. Talk about fun things as well. Humor could be your “niche”! So go for it!
This concludes the Q&A series! I wish you Good Luck in your application and hope to see you as an IE MBA student in the near future! If this Q&A helped you, I would appreciate it if you could drop a line indicating that it did its job or failed in the process. Please guide me with your feedback.
You can Read prior Q&A posts here:
Prior Episodes of this series:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4Part 5, Part 6, Part 7

Goodbye Folks! Stay tuned for further notes on the everyday experience in the GMBA from me and from all of us!

The IE Global MBA from Sunny California

Ram Parasuraman
May 1, 2010
Q&A with Prospective GMBA Students: Director’s Cut?
Admissions season heating up.. the climate around us heating up.. time to get this Q&A series heated up as well!

Prior Parts of this series:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Now, on to Part 5…

Q13. I understand that IE utilizes the Adobe Connect platform to collaborate online, what other tools does IE uses to bring the students together?
A13. Yes, IE uses Adobe connect and the online discussion forums. It also offers an Adobe Virtual networking room where any of us can jump in and have a virtual meeting. This class is a great one and we are pushing the boundaries on IE’s offerings. Good thing is that they are a young university and are pretty open minded. You can also sign up for a virtual information session, where you can get a first hand experience of the system.
Q14. I am looking to get a good mix of practical management and leadership skills from the program, can the program deliver?
A14. Yes, for sure. Instruction and coursework are very practical, easily applicable. You can reference the list of courses here. As you will see, the first modules will focus on building blocks and then we transition on practical application of a combination of the skills you pick up along the way. The Entrepreneurship project will put it all together.

Q.15. Even though I will not be using the degree to make career changes or use it for immediate career progression, but will the degree help me in my long term career goals, for example, opening doors for upper management positions in the next 5 years?
A.15 Like I said in response to an earlier question, it is mostly up to you, i.e. your personality, your skills, your experience and your network on how far you take any MBA. Of course, there are no guarantees for anything, since our external environment is changing as we speak. We cannot control the economy, industry trends, etc. But the key is to develop and use a good skillset and to develop a great global network. IE equips you for both of this, yes it is not as popular in USA as yet to leverage your network, but you do enjoy the opportunity to be an early mover into this potent network. As long as you are confident that you can make it based on your skillset and the license that a global MBA degree gives you, there should not be an issue.
Q16. If you are the CEO of a company asked to hire a Director for your new company and you get two resumes from different candidates with similar industry experience with one having an MBA from UC Berkeley and the other a GMBA from IE whom would you consider for the position knowing what you know about GMBA and obviously not being biased towards it?

A.16 Good question. These days I am playing pretend CEO a lot, thanks to our professor’s questions along a similar line ;)Just like they say when we apply for an MBA, that a GMAT score alone does not make or break a deal, similarly where the person did an MBA from alone should never dictate an informed decision. I would for sure evaluate the length and relevance of experience to my company profile. If you were to say all else is the same, then I would hire the Berkeley person if this position were based on a US company and required an Operations, Technology or Real Estate based expertise, on the other hand if it required International Management and Collaboration across several countries in a Finance, Marketing or Entrepreneurial capacity, I would go for the IE guy.

Q17. Have you attended any of the integration days and are they worth attending?

A17. Unfortunately for me, I have been unable to attend the integration days so far. But many of my classmates have attended and I will let them comment on this in the comments section. These sessions offer a very good opportunity to observe your learnings put into practice in the context of different countries and companies worldwide. It is a great feature of our Global MBA and you get to meet alums working in the countries you visit. It is a good professional networking and a culturally enriching exercise.Okay.. got to run for a Group Discussion, but until next time… नमस्कार

Ertan Uzundemir
April 7, 2010
The IXMBA experience


…287 after having joined the blog, I finally managed to hide away from professors and fellows to share my insights with you. I guess that tells something. But lets start from the very beginning…

As I wanted to change my to date career path I was thinking of taking a concise next step through education. I fought my way through MBA books, journals, ratings, accreditations, and incredibly insulting offers until I finally decided that the MBA at a major European school was what I wanted.

Why IE?

The reasons why I chose IE are easily explained. I wanted a top academy with a flexible program offered at a reasonable price. IE offers various Triple Crown accredited (AACSB, EQUIS, AMBA) programs in a flexible online format with however important face-to-face periods and was competitive in tuitions and side expenses. The only things I needed: apply, pass the interviews and lift off. Said and done!

Is it really that hard?

I don’t remember precisely, but I think the program director’s opening line was something like the following: “Welcome to hell and thanks for trusting us in making you suffer”. And one thing I can confirm is, these people are very innovative and well trained for this discipline! Joking aside, the program is very intense. It turns one’s life upside down and requires all it can get from the student (and its environment). Days turn into nights and nights again into days and I find myself surrounded by books, notes, case studies and 25 open browser screens yet not having finished my weekly contributions. The only thing that keeps me going is counting down the days that remain until graduation (116 by the way).

If you are intending to have an easy life while doing an MBA, I would not recommend any of the top-notch academies. If you want to participate in a challenging and life-changing experience, want to pressure-feed yourself with condensed and state of the art business know-how, want to be amongst the top-class alumni, IE is the place to go. The program is structured in a way which allows you to fit work, private life and IE into 24 hours. Who the hell needs sleep?

What is the IXMBA (International Executive MBA Online)  like?

The average week encompasses three parallel courses and of course requires their prior preparations, usually readings from books or scripts, some case studies plus the related assignments. From Tuesday to Friday vivid discussions for the weekly classes (1-3) which are guided by the professors require one’s participation and add value in multiple ways. Here is where theory turns into practice, where experiences are being shared, points clarified, most ideal ways to tackle business problems are battled or one’s scope broadened by the many plausible arguments on how to cope with real work situations. For the week after? Guess what, it is as you were Bill Murray in Groundhog day. Speed and intensity remain and the entire process repeats itself, over and over again.

Case studies provide an excellent way to practically learn how small to big companies have turned their business over years with an amazingly broad range of topics covered mostly in Harvard Business School case studies.

What do I appreciate the most of the program?

There are many aspects which are ground-breaking. The program is like a walk in the sun, where IE is your shadow. You simply cannot get rid of it. It is like climbing the mountains and being overjoyed to reach the summit at the week’s end, while having a glimpse on the even higher peak’s ascent.

One is ad-hoc able to apply the learnings on the job, while the scope and intensity of the program change habitual ways of approaching and tackling day-to-day’s problems. Analytical and conceptual skills are drilled and on the course of the program, the puzzle is becoming complemented and provides a more thorough and clear picture of how the world outside really turns. The IXMBA can help – and I will keep you posted on that – to boost your career, but beside that it does much more: it makes you comprehend how the building blocks of our professional envionment relate and interfere, how problems can be tackled and mastered and how you can gear yourself consciously towards higher returns from your job environment, namely satisfaction, recognition or career. Last but not at all least are the fellow students, who not only enrich your learning experience, but share these moments of torture, pain and enthusiastic delight with you.

What are the presential periods like?

The initial presential period in Madrid was a real awakening. Just having collected the books and study material, we were demanded to prepare for the following day: only 200 pages to read while my watch was telling me I yet had 6 hours to go before the class started! I don’t remember much from Madrid but being extremely tired and krackered when I arrived back home. However, the first presential period managed well what it had to do: you immediately familiarize with the programs intensity, get to know your fellows and swear your group into the pact for the succeeding 6 months.

Shanghai  in January was an amazing experience. The exams, the excursions and of course the parties well paid tribute for the previous months of austerity. There was nothing greater to meet again with the fellow students and nothing more sad to need to leave back home after such a great time.

Would I do it again?

Straight off: yes! The reason is simple. The program allows to take a wild ride while being seated in a employment. IE does only ask for your discipline, time and effort while showing and guiding you on the path through the course. The professors are very cooperative and luminary academic staff. At the bottom line: it is one year of intense battle with yourself, which pays off with more than a diploma. You learn, you make friends and you carry your head high when having survived this experience.

Anybody who is interested in more details is welcome to approach me (

Borislav Kiprin
February 13, 2010
Reflections on the last weeks of Masters in Digital Marketing

Time passes. And so I find myself 5 weeks shy form graduation. So do the my classmates. We tangle between reality and insanity on daily basis now. And to tell you the truth, it is not easy. We found ourselves so wired juggling between job assignments, our Master’s ones and trying to have a sort of a personal life. The latter one however, proves to be the hardest task. Nonetheless, we are all faithful that this manic rhythm will bring us to the next level – a better understanding of how to develop marketing strategies in the digital environment or managing an e-business platform.

Anyways, let’s give a little perspective concerning the second online period, by offering you a situational analysis of everyone’s weekly agenda:

  • The Master – well, this really is a doubled weekly assignment. One one hand we have the 2-3 subjects we need to discuss every week. This basically means reading, posting, researching and considering. To this you might want to add the preparation for next week’s subjects – again 2-3. So, to sum up  you got 4-6 subjects to work on weekly.
  • The Job – well, you gotta make a living, right? So, no matter if you work for a company or you are a freelancer as some of the team are, you still have your daily duties. And let’s face it, you are doing that for the better part of the day.
  • The Startup – As a person about to graduate from IE’s Master in Digital Marketing you are expected to team up with colleagues and work on a business plan that will prove that you deserve that MBA degree. And this requires research, marketing strategy, financial calculations, operational plan and assumptions and last but not least a devotion. I mean you gotta do it right. After all, IE makes sure that, if you do your job right you might get funding and a ticket to the game of the big guys.
  • The Personal Life – hmmm… Some of us can hardly remember what that feels like. We all have put our hobbies aside for a year. Others created a daily agenda including only important family duties and feel like kids in Disneyland when they get a holiday for Christmas or Easter.

Now, if you are turned totally off by the previous lines, you have to keep something in mind. It is not about getting into one of the best b-schools on earth. You need to be organized, smart and a very good team player. Not only for yourself, but for the whole class. Actually, this is the essence of learning under the conditions of using an online platform. IE’s online programs are nothing like the offline ones we all have experienced. On the contrary of sitting in a classroom, here you get the chance to really prepare for the sessions and further dig in the topic, simply because you are not limited with 1.5 hour class. And to add to that, when you have a dozen individuals doing the same, it kind of pushes you towards working harder. Lurking is simply not a option.

You ca definitely judge by this post that I am a bit stressed. But this does not change the fact I believe that me joining the Master in Digital Marketing was the best decision I made so far in my professional life. And I promise you that, if you decide to do the same, you won’t be feeling different. You will certainly discover traits and abilities in you that you never saw before and you might just be proud of…

Borislav Kiprin
December 21, 2009
Master in Digital Marketing – Studying Online

Well, folks, I know that it has been a while since the last blog post. Truth be told, the last few weeks were extremely busy at the Master in Digital Marketing 2010 with wrapping up individual and group projects, finishing the Digital Communication & Awareness course, posting for the forums and last but not least working on yet another section for the business plan for Entrepreneurship.

It is not easy. I am working on this Masters with an average pace of 12 hours/day everyday. And it is frustrating… I can only imagine how my colleagues that have day jobs feel and moreover how they manage to be prepared for the forums and participate. I must say that everyone is stretching it to the limit and manages to come up with great content and ideas. But to understand that, you probably need to know how the online studying is structure.

  • Each and every week, we have 2 or 3 courses
  • We shall prepare for, come up with either an individual or a group assignment report
  • Than we go into discussing it from Monday to Friday posting answers to professors questions, expressing views or simply giving insights based on personal experiences.
  • Usually, every class session is wrapped up by the prof and served as a summary of key points for the topic discussed.

It might all seem too much for many of you, but to tell you the truth it is not much different than working in a  highly paced working environment. However, great discipline, focus and prioritization is required for succeeding in following it all. At first this might seems impossible, but soon after the start things get to the point that one realizes that it is possible. After all, your colleagues are just as much as you aware that this is a team. they show readiness to help, motivate and support when you find it difficult. And I should know.. I have been blessed with great team players in my group.

That’s all for the Year 2009. I wish you all Happy Holidays and all the best in 2010!

Borislav Kiprin
November 20, 2009
Masters in Digital Marketing – Face-to-Face Periods

As promised in my last blog post, this week I will be focusing on the way the program works and especially the offline face-to-face periods.

IE’s Masters in Digital is based on online forums 11.5 months out of the whole 13 ones. For that 1.5 months or 5 weeks, we have to be present in:
•    Madrid – two weeks kick-off period
•    London – one week presential period in the most digital city in the world that will conclude the end of first semester and the start of the second one
•    Madrid – two weeks wrap-up with exams, business plan presentation and naturally getting that piece of paper that would matter less then than it mattered when you decided to join the program. And it is mainly to the fact that you will treasure the experience through the past 13 months much more than your diploma.

Make no mistake, face-to-face periods are tough. You are expected to be on top of things from the very start. Most of us did not expect to be in for such a treat and we started our days at 7 am and finished them in 3 am the next day for most of those 14 days. And although it sounds too much and very demanding, I can not think of a single colleague of mine that complained or felt demotivated. At the end of the day we all had tremendous fun battling the assignments and getting to know each other.

Now when I have went through the first and the second periods I am more inclined to think that one can always find the time. Most of us have jobs, personal life involving dear ones or even families and this is all very demanding. But for the face-to-face period this all is put on pause in most cases and the focus is not only on the studying but also in socializing and adding up to that glue that sticks up together.

It won’t be fair to say that those periods are only about studying. They never truly are, you know. There is also tons of fun while sipping from your morning coffee or lunching/dining with your new found brothers and sisters, and not to leave behind those Friday and Saturday nights in metropolitan cities like the Spanish and UK capitals. Offline is also just as important as Digital is… 😉

The nature of Instituto de Empresa is to foster entrepreneurship. It is a core value and you get to see it from day one. Some of you will be finding their future business partners or start-up buddies exactly at this place and the time spent together will add tremendously to your judgment and potential spotting.

Well, folks, this is all for this week. Remember that if you have any questions, this is the place to take advantage and get some answers…

Next week, I’ll be focusing on online experience… Till then, have a good one living digitally!

Borislav Kiprin
November 13, 2009
Finding the Masters in Digital Marketing

As a first post, I think it is only normal to explain how I got here at Instituto de Empresa studying Masters in Digital Marketing.

If you are reading this blog, you are obviously interested in doing a Masters in Management or an MBA and second to that you might be also thinking of doing online, as yours truly does. So, in the following lines I will be laying down my approach to picking up this degree and enrolling for it.

•    Researching is a major point of a such endeavor. You are about to spend enormous amount of hard earned cash or actually get a loan from you bank. In both cases this is motivating you big time. What I did can be summed up in the following bullet points:
•    I figured out that a general MBA won’t cut it for me, because of the number of graduate available and the fact that I already did my Bachelor in Business Administration
•    I started researching online for a Marketing degree that focuses mostly on Digital, but also includes traditional approach.
•    I talked to friends that have done their MBAs in Top 25 schools. Asked many questions and got some valuable answers.
•    Got on,, BusinessWeek and Economist and checked all the rankings. I personally think that this is not a major think, but you will be surprised how many hiring manager pay attention to that, if of course you don’t know that by now.
•    Once, I got to know IE and their program, I didn’t even want to apply to the previously envisioned universities. I went strait to talking to the guys and submitted my application.
•    To my surprise I got an answer, plus proposal to enroll within two weeks. All done in a very professional and enthusiastic way (and I am not talking about my approach here)

Everything happened so fast that I was only able to believe it when I got to Madrid for my first face-to-face. Before it all seemed like an illusion.

Well, this is for this week. Next post I will be sharing my initial impressions of the program and hopefully answer some of the questions you, as a reader, might have.

Michaela Götze
November 18, 2008
The truth about your weight during the Online Master



Ok I did it again last night.

Around 4 o’clock a voice waked me up which said:

 “Go in the kitchen Michaela, go and get the chocolate out of the cupboard.”

And I went.



This is the only leftover… OOPS



Did you ever try it?

Getting up half awake (still dreaming) getting a small peace of your favorite chocolate letting it melt in your mouth and fly back into your dreams – Indescribable yammi- happiness everywhere.

I love doing the Online Master it’s a lot of fun especially with my group. But it will bring some strange habits out of you – I tell you 😉


The problem is that you usually work 40-50 hours per week and than you come home and start working right away on your Online Forums. At least I do because I realized that I don’t sit down on my desk if I first start to do something else.

Forget about the 20 hours you estimate- at the beginning you need more.

The first months of the Master I invested around 30 hours per week. This means you sit between 60 and 80 hours per week and don’t move. And I mean even the discussions are really exciting you don’t move with your body you only move with your brain.

And than one morning you get up and look at yourself in the mirror trying to fit in your favorite dress and realize the truth: It does not fit anymore!!! Ouch!


But it’s worth it – I swear!!! I learned so much during the last months that I don’t care about the 5 extra kilos. I will get rid of it after the studies are done.


I have to admit that I started the chocolate night orgies in February soon after I started with my master (Digital Marketing). I think it’s a kind of outbalancing the pressure. Because this is something you have to be aware of right from the beginning- there will be pressure from everywhere:

  • Pressure from your work- because you have to leave on time otherwise you will sit too long in the evenings reading and answering the forum questions.
  • Pressure from your friends because you are suddenly not as flexible anymore to go out during the week or only for the price of working doubled the next day and you learn soon that this is not a regular option.
  • Pressure from your family because instead of coming home and making love with your wife or husband you are making love with the IE-campus or the books or the case studies.
  • Pressure from your group members to participate more in the case study work.


But I tell you as well it’s only at the beginning. The first months are tough. You will sometimes ask yourselves why you did this. You have to find a way to organize your private, business and school life still having fun and being nice to everybody.

But you will find your way to get through this- you get used to all of it and you will find your own structure, your own way to cope with it. I will give you some tips in my later posts how I did it and I hope this will help you too.


So what is the executive summery of this post?

With the Master you gain a lot of weight but it gets outweigh by the knowledge and the fun you gather and the people you meet and the development you realize on yourself.

It’s worth it! I promise…


So if you make up your mind and you decide to go for it (and I strongly recommend it) than stop running and enjoy – it’s just 13 months (depending on your Master). See it as a kind of “diet brake” to your normal “I cannot eat this because otherwise I don’t fit in my dress again live” and enjoy getting fat.

It’s fantastic.


Greetings from Switzerland



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