IESE MBA Essays : Sample Essays & Writing Tips

 If you’re a student looking to study abroad, especially aiming for an MBA that opens doors worldwide, you’ve probably heard of IESE Business School. Known for its diverse and international cohort, IESE stands out not just for its global reach but also for its unique approach to education and leadership.

Who is IESE Looking for?

IESE isn’t just looking for any student; they seek individuals who aspire to make a positive impact globally. Imagine being part of a cohort where 85% of your classmates come from various corners of the world. That’s IESE for you! But it’s not just about where you come from; it’s about where you’re headed. IESE looks for candidates who are more than just numbers – think impressive GMAT scores or years of work experience.

They are on the lookout for future leaders who can demonstrate qualities like:

  • Strong academic performance
  • A clear vision for positive global impact
  • Ambition coupled with a realistic approach

In short, if you’re someone who dreams big but also has their feet firmly on the ground, IESE could be your next academic home.


Now, let’s dive into what it really takes to get into this prestigious institution. Writing essays for IESE is more than just showing off your achievements; it’s about telling your unique story in a compelling way.

Essay Breakdown: What to Expect? IESE’s application process includes three key components:

  1. Required Essay: This is your chance to talk about your career goals. How do you see the IESE MBA shaping your future? Remember, it’s not just about dreaming; it’s about making those dreams achievable.
  2. Optional Essay: Here’s where you can share additional insights about yourself. Got something unique that didn’t fit elsewhere in your application? This is your space to shine.
  3. Video Essay: New in 2023-2024! This isn’t just another formality. It’s IESE’s way of seeing the real you beyond the papers. This is where your personality and authenticity come into play.

Understanding these requirements is the first step in crafting essays that resonate with the admissions committee. But don’t worry, we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of each of these in the sections to follow.


Embarking on the required essay for your IESE MBA application? Here’s a deep dive to ensure your essay stands out in the competitive pool.

Crafting Your Career Goals Essay The crux of this essay revolves around your post-MBA career goals. Think of it as a roadmap where you chart out your immediate and mid-term aspirations. Be specific – mention job titles, industries, and how IESE’s program will be a catalyst in this journey. Here are some tips:

  1. Be Clear and Specific: Ambiguity is your enemy. Clearly state your short-term (post-graduation) and mid-term (3-5 years post-MBA) goals. Think job titles, industries, and companies.
  2. Contextualize Your Goals: Why these goals? What experiences or aspirations led you here? Your motivations can be as compelling as the goals themselves.
  3. Link Goals to IESE’s Offerings: How will specific aspects of the IESE MBA – be it courses, faculty, clubs, or networks – help you achieve these goals? Avoid generic statements; tailor your response to reflect a deep understanding of what IESE offers.


The optional essay is your wildcard. Use it wisely to add depth to your application.

Maximizing the Impact of the Optional Essay This essay is an opportunity to showcase aspects of your journey that didn’t find a place elsewhere in your application. Here’s how to make the most of it:

  1. Address Any Red Flags: If there’s something in your profile that might raise eyebrows (like a gap in employment or a low GMAT score), this is where you clarify.
  2. Highlight Unique Aspects: Have a unique hobby, a volunteer experience, or a life event that shaped you? Share it here if it adds a new dimension to your profile.
  3. Stay Relevant and Concise: Remember, every additional word is asking for more time from the admissions team. Make sure what you write is worth that extra time.

Remember, the optional essay is not mandatory. Only use it if it genuinely enhances your application.

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In 2023-2024, IESE introduces a new twist in its application process – the video essay. This isn’t just another hurdle, but an opportunity to bring your application to life.

Embracing the Video Essay Challenge Here’s how you can make a memorable impression through your video essay:

  1. Be Authentic: This is your chance to show the admissions committee the person behind the application. Be yourself, be genuine, and let your personality shine through.
  2. Prepare, But Don’t Over-Rehearse: While it’s crucial to know what you want to say, avoid sounding robotic. A conversational, natural delivery is key.
  3. Mind the Environment: Choose a quiet, well-lit space where you won’t be interrupted. Your surroundings should be professional yet simple to avoid distractions.
  4. Technical Check: Ensure your camera and microphone are working well. A clear video and audio quality are important to convey your message effectively.

Remember, the video essay is about connecting with the admissions team on a more personal level. Use this as an opportunity to complement what you’ve written in your essays.


Writing an MBA essay can be daunting, and it’s easy to fall into common traps. Here are some pitfalls to avoid:

  1. Being Too Vague or Generic: Specificity is the soul of narrative. Avoid broad statements and focus on detailed, personalized stories and goals.
  2. Ignoring the ‘Why IESE’ Aspect: Show that you’ve done your homework. How does IESE, with its unique offerings, fit into your career plan?
  3. Overlooking the Importance of Storytelling: Your essays should tell a compelling story about you. Engage the reader with clear, coherent narratives that reflect your personality and values.
  4. Forgetting the Video Essay’s Human Element: In the video essay, remember that the admissions committee wants to see your authenticity and enthusiasm. Don’t just recite your resume.

Avoiding these mistakes will help you present a well-rounded, compelling application that resonates with the IESE admissions team.


Navigating the IESE MBA application essays can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone. There are ample resources available to guide you:

  1. Successful Essay Samples: Reviewing past successful essays can give you a concrete idea of what IESE is looking for. Look for patterns in these essays and see how they effectively communicated their stories and goals.
  2. Essay Writing Guides: There are several guides and books available that specifically address MBA essay writing. These can provide frameworks and tips to enhance your writing.
  3. Consultation Services: If you feel you need more personalized guidance, consider consulting services. Many offer essay reviews, mock interviews, and personalized advice.

Remember, while these resources are helpful, your application should be uniquely yours. Use these tools to inspire and refine your essays, not to replicate others’ work.


As we wrap up, remember that the journey to getting into IESE’s MBA program is challenging, but also an opportunity for immense personal and professional growth. Your essays are a crucial part of this journey, where you get to showcase your ambitions, experiences, and personality.

Keep in mind:

  • Be authentic in your storytelling.
  • Clearly articulate your career goals and how IESE fits into this picture.
  • Use the optional essay and video essay to add depth and color to your application.

With thoughtful preparation and a clear understanding of what IESE is looking for, you can craft essays that not only meet the criteria but also resonate with the admissions committee on a deeper level. Good luck, and may your IESE MBA journey be fulfilling and successful!

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