Over the last year and half, while I was pursuing a Global MBA, I have gotten the same questions a few times. Why did you choose IE Business School? Why did you choose a school in Europe instead of the many options closer to home?
There are a lot of reasons, some of which turned out to be important, and others not. But two reasons stand above the rest.
A Global Program
The Global MBA is aptly named. My classmates were from around the world. In the 3 study groups I had over the course of the program there were people from Chile, Lebanon, Ireland, Nigeria, Texas, Spain, Canada, Oman, Colombia, and Saudi Arabia. In addition, many of them lived in countries other than their own, including Peru, United Arab Emirates, Mexico, and Estonia. And that is only the the students who I worked with on a day to day basis. I would meet on a weekly basis with a class of students from many more nations and the cohort became even more international on the 4 face-to-face weeks where I was able to spend time with the entire April 2018 intake.
Throughout the program I was exposed to different industries, job functions, and political realities. I found the differences invigorating, but the similarities even more striking. We are mostly in similar stages of life professionally and personally. Families were formed and expanded during the program. We discussed our ambitions and hopes with each other. We found support during the intensity of classes and learned from each other. Having a group of friends and colleagues around the world is personally enriching and I suspect will bear fruit in ways we expect and ways that will surprise us in the years to come.
A Blended Program
The Global MBA is a part time program, meaning the students typically continue in their jobs while studying. This is a common arrangement for professionals pursuing an MBA while working. Where the Global MBA differs is in their blended format. Most of the classwork is done online, punctuated by week-long face to face sessions every few months.
Each week involves online forums where the class discusses and explores case studies and business principles throughout the week. The week is then capped with video conferences on Saturday. There is a combination of group and individual deliverables throughout each class. The workload is heavy, pushing relentlessly forward.
During the program, my evenings were absorbed with reading, writing, chatting with classmates. That constant virtual communication has proved to be a good thing. To be honest, I think I will keep in better touch with my classmates than if I had studied in a full-time program, because the medium of communication is the same during and after school.
One thing that the blended program does well is the face-to-face weeks. Similar to fully distributed companies, like Automattic and Zapier, the in-person weeks give us a chance to build deeper relationships with our colleagues and learn from each other in person. In total I spent 3 weeklong periods with around 100 people from all over the world in Madrid. We attended class, studied, and enjoyed Madrid’s food and night life together. I also spent a weeklong Global Immersion Week in Shanghai, China, which was an eye-opening experience.
For me, the opportunities that the blended program offered would have been almost impossible to match in other programs I investigated. I craved a global experience and a multi-cultural perspective and the Global MBA delivered.