IESE MBA Interview Questions & Tips for Successful Interview

Are you dreaming of studying abroad and eyeing the prestigious IESE Business School for your MBA?

Great choice!

But before you pack your bags for Spain, there’s a crucial hurdle to cross – the IESE MBA interview. This blog post is your compass to navigate through the interview process, making sure you’re fully equipped to impress the admissions committee.

IESE’s interview process is a pivotal part of your application. It’s not just about your academic prowess or professional achievements; it’s about who you are as a person, your aspirations, and how well you fit into IESE’s dynamic and diverse culture. Let’s dive in and explore how you can ace this interview!


The Nature of the Interview

IESE’s MBA interviews are known for being highly personalized and deeply reflective of your entire application. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach; every interview is tailored to the individual. The admissions committee, who conducts these interviews, looks beyond your resume. They delve into your motivation for pursuing an MBA, your interest in IESE, and your suitability for their unique case study methodology.

Interviewers and Their Approach

Your interview will be with a member of the admissions committee, who will have thoroughly reviewed your application beforehand. So, expect questions that are specific to your experiences and aspirations.

Duration and Format

Typically, the interview lasts about 45 to 60 minutes. However, in some cases, you might also be invited to an Assessment Day, either in Spain or Singapore. This day-long event includes group activities and case study presentations, offering a more comprehensive evaluation of your fit for the program.


Diverse Profiles with a Unified Goal

At IESE, there’s no cookie-cutter student profile. The institution prides itself on its diverse student body – around 85% of the class comes from international backgrounds. Yet, all share a common goal: to make a significant, positive impact in the world. Whether you have a high GMAT score, extensive work experience, or unique life experiences, IESE values the diversity you bring to the table.

Traits that Make You Stand Out

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  • Entrepreneurial Spirit: A special interest is placed on candidates with entrepreneurial aspirations or backgrounds. Whether it’s a family business or a start-up venture, showcasing your entrepreneurial skills could give you an edge.
  • Ethical and Well-Rounded Individuals: Rooted in its origins with the Opus Dei of the Catholic Church, IESE emphasizes ethics in business. Moreover, they appreciate candidates who are well-rounded with interests and achievements outside of work. Be it sports, arts, or community service, your extracurricular activities matter.
  • Leadership with a Global Perspective: Leadership, especially with an international flair, is highly regarded. While not a strict prerequisite, demonstrating your leadership experiences, especially in diverse settings, can be advantageous.


Getting Ready for the Big Day

Preparing for an IESE MBA interview goes beyond rehearsing answers. It’s about understanding the types of questions you might face and crafting stories that reflect your personality and align with IESE’s values.

Key Preparation Strategies

  • Know the Standard MBA Questions: While each interview is unique, certain questions are staples in MBA interviews. Familiarize yourself with these to build a solid foundation for your preparation.
  • Master the Art of Storytelling: Your interview is your storybook. Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) format to narrate experiences that highlight your background and answer questions like “Why do you want an MBA?”.
  • Understand the Assessment Day: If you’re invited to the Assessment Day, expect to engage in group activities like case study presentations. This is your chance to showcase how you interact with others, handle pressure, and approach problem-solving.


Understanding the types of questions you might encounter in an IESE MBA interview can significantly boost your confidence and preparation. Here’s a glimpse into some frequently asked questions:

  1. Personal Insight Questions:
    • Tell me about yourself.
    • Walk me through your resume.
    • What are your short-term and long-term goals?
  2. Motivation and Aspiration Questions:
    • Why an MBA and why specifically IESE?
    • How do you see yourself contributing to the IESE community?
    • What are your plans if your post-MBA goals do not materialize?
  3. Behavioral and Situational Questions:
    • Describe a challenging situation at work and how you handled it.
    • Give an example of a time you showed leadership.
    • Have you ever faced an ethical dilemma? How did you deal with it?
  4. IESE-specific Questions:
    • How do you align with IESE’s values of diversity and ethics?
    • Have you interacted with any IESE alumni or visited the campus?
    • What aspect of IESE’s curriculum excites you the most?

Remember, these questions are not exhaustive but should serve as a primer for the kind of thoughtful, introspective responses IESE is looking for.


Despite thorough preparation, you might encounter questions that catch you off guard. Here’s how to handle them:

  1. Stay Calm and Composed: A surprise question isn’t a trap; it’s an opportunity to demonstrate your critical thinking and composure. Take a moment to gather your thoughts.
  2. Structure Your Response: If the question is complex, break it down. Address each part methodically to ensure you’re providing a comprehensive answer.
  3. Be Honest and Reflective: If you don’t have an immediate example to share, it’s okay to say so. You can discuss a hypothetical scenario that illustrates how you might handle a similar situation.
  4. Use the Pause Wisely: A brief pause to collect your thoughts is perfectly acceptable. This shows that you are considering your response thoughtfully.

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