This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current and future MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now, introducing Manuel Alvarado Amado……
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What is your current job?
Manuel: Thank you for having me, it’s a great opportunity to share my admissions experience. I’m from Maracaibo, Venezuela. I studied Civil Engineering as my undergraduate major at a local university called Universidad Rafael Urdaneta, one of the few universities in Venezuela that teaches Civil Engineering.
As a civil engineer and deputy project manager for four years at the Puente Nigale project, I have helped the company successfully plan and initiate operations of a three-billion USD fixed link spanning over 51 kilometers of highways and bridges, coordinating teams of workers and consultants from different areas around the world.
Accepted: Congrats on your acceptance to ESADE! Why did you choose ESADE — what were some of the things that drew you to the program?
Manuel: Thank you! ESADE was one of my top choices based on the criteria I followed for deciding where to apply: Location, international recognition, teaching method and networking opportunities. I felt ESADE embodied all of the characteristics I was looking for as one of my top three choices and decided to apply first, then stopped all other applications once I got in.
One of the most appealing features was ESADE’s focus on leadership within a teamwork frame, which I believe is a characteristic that can set ESADE MBA candidates apart from others when entering the corporate field.
Finally, while applying I noticed the admissions committee’s attitude towards applicants was really warm and forthcoming in every step of the application, striving to help and prepare those who were interested in knowing anything about the school, something I must say was a huge advantage over their closest competition.
Accepted: Do you plan on staying in your current industry after you receive your MBA or heading into a new field? What’s your post-MBA plan?
Manuel: My long-term career vision is to found and lead a geoenvironmental consultancy firm to operate on a global level providing services for international construction players like Odebrecht or ACS.
In the short-to-mid-term, I plan to support my long-term goal by obtaining a business development position on one of the top established global geotechnical-environmental firms, bringing forward the name of ESADE as a highly reputed business school to the biggest players in the geoenvironmental business such as Fugro or GEO, establishing contacts and increasing management skills and responsibilities, to grab a firm hold on the nuances of the industry worldwide, while fine-tuning the business plan that will enable me to start my own firm.
Accepted: What do you most look forward to in living in Barcelona?
Manuel: Barcelona is an amazing, vibrant environment to study, work and live. It’s a diverse, multicultural wonder full of great places to enjoy and people to meet. I believe being in one of Europe’s main cultural hubs will enrich my international view and experiences. Oh, and I’m a huge FC Barcelona fan, so that’s always a plus.
Accepted: Did you only consider European b-schools? Which other programs did you consider?
Manuel: I did, for a number of reasons. Having intermittently lived in the US while I was a child and having visited Europe since, I felt more identified with the European culture and way of life. Another reason was the lengthy visa requirements and admissions procedures top business schools in the US apply.
Because of work obligations, I felt more at ease with the rolling admissions or multiple-stage process most European schools apply, I also considered London Business School, IESE and SDA Bocconi, though having a stronger background and interest in entrepreneurship finally drove me to choose ESADE.
Accepted: What do you believe are the advantages of attending a one-year program like ESADE compared to the two-year programs that you find in the States?
Manuel: I believe one-year programs are better for professionals who are interested in quickly rejoining the job market without sacrificing an education of the highest quality. The great thing about ESADE is that it allows you to study a 12, 15 or 18 month program and get the most out of each, including a student exchange with many top universities around the world, including some of the best from the US, and an internship for the 15 and 18 month programs.
Accepted: Can you share your top three admissions tips with our readers?
Manuel: Definitely! I think the most important piece of advice someone can give you is to prepare your story through. Write down ten accomplishments or experiences that make you unique, in order of importance. Those will be the foundation with which you’ll work to impress the AdCom. Remember, we all have a great story to tell, just find yours.
Another suggestion would be, if you’re having a tough time, to get in touch with admissions consultants who can and will help you shape up your profile. Linda at Accepted, among others, has been amazing in helping me pinpoint the details for preparing a successful application.
Finally, INVESTIGATE. Besides the fact that there is a lot of amazing information that’s free on the Internet for you to prepare, you must always know exactly where you’re applying and why. Identify with your future Alma Mater. As someone once told me, you must not apply to the best school. You must apply to the school that’s best for you.
For one-on-one guidance on your b-school application, please see our MBA Application Packages. For specific advice on how to create the best application for ESADE see: 2013 Virtual Panel: Exploring European B-Schools with IMD, HEC Paris and ESADE.
Thank you Manuel for sharing your story with us! You can stay current with Manuel’s MBA adventure by following him on Twitter – @manualvarado.