In Barcelona, ​​​​​​IESE, an elite business school

A terrace overlooking the city and the port, large bay windows, ultra-modern architecture: installed on a hill among pine trees, the Barcelona campus of the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa (IESE) proudly emphasizes the ‘success of the school’.

Founded in 1964 by Opus Dei, a powerful Catholic organization, IESE nevertheless denies any religious proselytism. Even if some classrooms remain adorned – discreetly – with a crucifix. “Religious issues are never present in the life of the school”, say the students in unison. On the other hand, IESE strongly demonstrates its values: humanism, ethics, responsibility.

All this combined with an unwavering belief… in the virtues of education. “Our mission is to help leaders have a positive and profound impact on society, explains Franz Heukamp, ​​the dean. This goes far beyond the traditional role of a business school. Leaders must first understand their environment, and this is not a matter of ideology. We have a very broad view of what business and politics can achieve. »

In addition to its premises in Barcelona, ​​the school also has offices in Madrid, New York, Sao Paulo and, for the past two years, in Munich. “We have one of the largest campus networks around the world,” the dean points out. Enough to allow more exchanges and collaboration between the different sites. And strengthen IESE’s position as a global institution.

A very fast pace

The teaching is primarily based on the famous case method dear to Harvard – the prestigious American business school participated in the creation of IESE. Every day the students discuss several of these cases. Priority goals: learn to make decisions, develop their leadership. “The courses are very specific and generally at a very high level, says Jérôme Quitterez, a young French engineer enrolled in an MBA. We find ourselves with participants from all over the world, with very varied professional backgrounds. This diversity is a great wealth which allows enormous progress. »

Emphasis is placed on communication skills, teamwork and “self-management”. Almost all of these courses can be followed in English. And the pace of work is about as intensive as in the preparation class. As for the teachers, they are most often “big names” of international caliber. A course evaluation system also allows the school to adapt the course very quickly if necessary.

IESE focuses on programs for managers and executives and abandons “pre-requisite” courses. It thus offers a portfolio of three MBAs – full-time (over two years), Executive (part-time) and Global Executive (with modules on three continents) – which attract participants from all countries, and especially from France. . To meet the increasing demand, the full-time course has increased the number. The school is also at the forefront of continuing education for managers.

A sign of IESE’s close proximity to companies, the Financial Times the class itself has for the past two years been ranked number one in the world, just ahead of HEC, for tailor-made seminars for managers.

Another strong point is the network of candidates. Particularly active, it has about forty “chapters” in as many countries, which organize a multitude of events. Every year, IESE gathers around 2,000 of its “old school” members for two days in a great burst of enthusiasm. The opportunity to strengthen ties, reflect on the major issues of the moment and launch new business projects.

These are all elements that allow IESE year after year to confirm its place among the best European business schools – with two other Spanish ones, the Instituto de Empresa and the Escola Superior d’Administracio i Direccio d’Empreses.

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