Why ESADE? Interview with an Admitted Student

Check out our free copy of Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right OneThis 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.

Download our report that will help you navigate the MBA Maze


Top 10 International 1-Year & 2-Year MBA Programs in 2013

We recently posted the Forbes’ top 20 American MBA programs – now it’s time to turn our attention to the global b-school scene. Below are Forbes’ top 10 international MBA programs for 1-year and 2-year programs in 2013.

1-Year MBA Programs:

1. IMD – Switzerland $196,300 $84,000 $211,000
2. INSEAD – France/Singapore $168,700 $71,000 $175,000
3. SDA Bocconi – Italy $155,800 $57,000 $165,000
4. IE Business School – Spain $114,700 $53,000 $144,000
5. Oxford Said – UK $102,500 $58,000 $135,000
6. Warwick – UK $102,800 $43,000 $124,000
7. Cambridge Judge – UK $99,000 $62,000 $146,000
8. Cranfield – UK $94,500 $59,000 $127,000
9. Lancaster – UK $86,700 $41,000 $159,000
10. City U. Cass – UK $76,800 $60,000 $116,000

2-Year MBA Programs:

1. London Business School – UK $120,700 $77,000 $214,000
2. NUS Business School – Singapore $95,900 $14,000 $92,000
3. Hong Kong UST – China $91,000 $31,000  $131,000
 4. Manchester – UK $84,500 $48,000 $141,000
 5. IESE – Spain $80,300 $56,000 $146,000
6. Ipade – Mexico $78,100 $20,000 $75,000
7. CEIBS – China $73,100 $27,000 $121,000
8. Esade – Spain $65,500 $55,000 $127,000
9. HEC-Paris – France $61,700 $54,000 $140,000
10. York Schulich – Canada $54,400 $39,000 $115,000


Financial Times’ 2013 Global MBA Rankings

B-School Rankings

Harvard Business School

Drum roll please…The Financial Times ranks the top 25 global b-schools as follows…

1. Harvard Business School
2. Stanford Graduate School of Business
3. University of Pennsylvania – Wharton
4. London Business School
5. Columbia Business School
7. IESE Business School
8. Hong Kong UST Business School
9. MIT Sloan
10. Chicago Booth
11. IE Business School
12. UC Berkeley Haas
13. Northwestern Kellogg
14. Yale School of Management
15. CEIBS – China
16. Dartmouth Tuck (tied)
16. Cambridge Judge (tied)
18. Duke Fuqua
19. Switzerland (tied)
19. NYU Stern (tied)
21. HEC Paris
22. ESADE Business School – Spain
23. UCLA Anderson
24. Oxford Saïd (tied)
24. Cornell Johnson (tied)

(You can read about the FT’s ranking methodology here.)

A few points of interest (from the FT’s lead article)

  • 51 of the top 100 schools are located in the U.S. including 6 schools in the top 10.
  • 26 of the top 100 schools are located in Europe. London Business School is the top school in that region.
  • 14 of the top 100 schools are located in Asia (up from 12 last year). Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is the top b-school in that region.
  • Since 1999 when the FT began publishing MBA rankings, only four schools have ranked in first place: HBS, Stanford GSB, Wharton, and London Business School.
  • The male-female salary gap this year has narrowed for the first time. Instead of the traditional $20,000 pay gap (three years post-graduation), the gap is down to $10,000 at $126,000 average salary for women and $136,000 average salary for men.

FYI: Poets & Quants published a critique of the 2013 FT ranking in “Stanford Alums Make the Most Dough.” In this article, John Byrne, rankings savant and designer of the original BW rankings, points out anomalies and weaknesses in the FT results.

MBA50 provides additional analysis in “The FT Full-Time MBA Ranking 2013 – Winners and Losers.” Its final line sums up all the hub-bub about rankings – any rankings – beautifully: “Only you can work out the best business school in the world…for you.”

Accepted.com Accepted.com ~ Helping You Write Your Best

Current Student Interview – Daniel from ESADE

ESADE graduate - Daniel Helmhold

ESADE graduate – Daniel Helmhold

Here’s a talk with Daniel Helmhold who just graduated from ESADE Business School in Barcelona (with one semester at UC Berkeley Haas). Thank you Daniel for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us!

This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.

Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself: Where are you from? What and where did you study as an undergraduate and when did you graduate? 

Daniel: I was born and raised in Cupertino, California, in the heart of the Silicon Valley. My first job in high school was as a computer salesman at CompUSA and ever since, I knew that my career would be within the technology industry. I went to the University of California at Davis and after spending a semester abroad in Sevilla, Spain I very happily changed my majors to Spanish and International Relations, in which I ultimately earned my BA.

Accepted: Why did you choose to study at ESADE? Why go so far from home?

Daniel: ESADE’s draw was very clear – an extremely diverse student body and a focus on learning the nuances of international business in a location where I could continue to grow my Spanish language skills.

Accepted: What was your favorite thing about living in Barcelona? Least favorite?

Daniel: My favorite thing about Barcelona was the constant opportunity to improve my Spanish. My least favorite part was probably the lack of high quality, diverse food options other than Spanish food.

Accepted: Since you’ve spent time at MBA programs in the U.S. and abroad, can you share some insight into the different approaches these two institutions took?

Daniel: Comparing the two programs, ESADE clearly had a more global focus. International case studies enhanced by astute discussions by an equally international student body led to a wealth of viewpoints and very engaging debates and discussions. Haas, on the other hand, had more of an emphasis on U.S. businesses, focusing on technology and business in the Silicon Valley in particular. I think both specializations were very valuable, but unique in their value proposition to potential students.

Accepted: How central to ESADE student life is club involvement? Which clubs or extracurricular activities were you involved in and what did you gain from the experience?

Daniel: Club involvement was very central to student life and a part of the MBA that I was very involved in. I was founder and President of the ESADE Technology Club, an activity that I took great pride in and poured a great deal of time and effort into. Being involved in the club scene at an officer level gave me the chance to mold the Club, maximizing the value for its members. I worked with school administration, 3rd party organizations, alumni and students to plan events and create a healthy forum for discussion around a shared passion of many students: technology.

Accepted: You worked at Google for many years before pursuing your MBA. Can you tell us about your experience?

Daniel: I was amazingly fortunate to spend 5 years at Google prior to attending ESADE. Starting right after undergrad, I joined the company just before it went public. At Google, I was able to observe just how successful a company can be when based on a great product and driven by intelligent, highly competent, extremely motivated young people. I learned a lot about online marketing, sales and how to succeed in a high tech company. Although I’ve moved on to new opportunities I am and always will be an unapologetic Google fan-boy.

Accepted: What role did ESADE play in helping you secure your current job at Kabam?

Daniel: ESADE helped me to secure my internship at IBM which gave me the experience I needed to successfully transition into Product Marketing from Sales. That combined with interview skills gained through various Career Services activities and the general business expertise acquired in class provided me with the knowledge needed to succeed in my interviews with Kabam.

For one-on-one guidance on the ESADE application, please see our ESADE Business School packages. For specific advice on how to create the best application for UC Berkeley Haas, see Linda’s 2013 UC Berkeley Haas Business School MBA Essay Tips.

Accepted.com Accepted.com ~ Helping You Write Your Best

2013 Virtual Panel European MBA Admissions Adcom Interview Available Online

International Experience

Some of the benefits of pursuing a European MBA.

Thank you so much to Marie-Laurence Lemaire, HEC Paris Senior Development Manager, Jeroen Verhoeven, ESADE MBA and Executive Masters and Associate Director of Admissions, and Lisa Piguet, IMD Assistant Director of MBA Admissions and Marketing for an outstanding panel discussion about the European b-school experience.

In the following excerpt, our panelists discussed some of the benefits of pursuing a European MBA.

Linda Abraham: Diego asks “Why choose a European MBA instead of a U.S. MBA? What is the main difference/advantages?”

Marie-Laurence Lemaire
: Yes, this is a tough one…Well, a simple question, what do you want to do after your MBA? If you want to work in the U.S. and be happy with your job…stay in the U.S. and you will be happy. You will get a great education, because you have great schools there, highly ranked and so on, so that’s fine. But if you want to have a really strong diversity, get mixed up with different cultures, people coming from all over the world to have a very rich sharing of experience from people coming from countries that are so remote, sometimes you don’t even know where they are on the map, an MBA in Europe is really the place. I’m sure in Spain, in Switzerland, as well, this is happening, but really the major difference between doing an MBA in Europe or doing an MBA in the U.S., [is] if you want to make that jump into becoming international and to have that experience, an MBA in Europe would be the big difference that it will make on your CV.

Lisa Piguet: Sure. I’m American, I actually can relate to the person who asked that question….The one thing about the U.S. is that you have a different kind of…education process there. But [regarding the] international focus of Europe, the programs here, it’s very different…for example, I would be sitting in a class of 90…but everybody spoke like me. They might have considered themselves Mexican, for example, or Argentinean, but in fact, they were born and raised in the U.S. just like I was. But in the European schools…you’ll actually see the true international diversity that is represented worldwide. So in our program this year, we have 46 nationalities with 90 MBAs, and they’re true…we have one Swiss….There are still a lot of multinational headquarters here and a lot of people want to work in those companies, with the hopes of going elsewhere. I think Europe is one of those places you can do that. Like Marie said, if you really want to stay in the U.S., you’re probably going to attend a 2-year program and you probably will end up staying in the U.S., more likely than not….If you want a global career, my advice is to go to Europe.

Jeroen Verhoeven: I’m completely in line with Lisa and Marie…but I would also link that somehow to back home in the United States, [you] somehow have a differentiating factor. There are a lot of top, top schools in the U.S., but there’s also a lot of different people who go to those schools. If you can present yourself in front of a group to having said, “Okay, I’ve done my MBA in Switzerland, in France, in Spain,” it is definitely something different. It will make you stand out. Standing out, I think, is very important when you’re looking for a job….Competition comes from anywhere, anytime.” So in order to be successful in that fast-changing, interconnected world, having that cultural savviness, hopefully with some additional languages, as well, that can really give you the added advantage to land a job also back home, not even including all the interesting options that we might offer in Europe…I think there are a lot of additional advantages, apart from the cultural richness that you can have, studying here in Europe…from a business perspective, there’s also a clear added value to considering European options.

For the complete discussion, please see the 2013 European Virtual Panel transcript and mp3 audio file.

Still not sure where you should apply, or even if you should apply at all? Check out our B-School Zones for detailed info on individual MBA programs (in Europe or anywhere else) and our Why MBA special report for tips on answering the big “Why MBA?” essay question.

To automatically receive notices about these MBA admissions chats and other MBA admissions events, please subscribe to our MBA event list. To listen to the Q&A recordings on-the-go, please subscribe to the Accepted Admissions Podcast.

Accepted.com Accepted.com ~ Helping You Write Your Best