It was important to choose the right program for my aspirations. After nine years in finance, I was looking for an opportunity to break out of the bubble, to go back to the drawing board and explore different areas – all the while enjoying a vibrant urban environment. IE’s diversity, the program’s focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, combined with the appeal of Madrid, were just the right recipe for a fantastic year.
The choices I made throughout my MBA year shaped my experience. As a student at IE you fast realize that time is the most precious commodity and that juggling schoolwork, extracurricular activities and personal life is a constant prioritization game. In my case, when an email with a “call for applications” for the MIINT Impact Investing Competition landed in my inbox in the first month of the program, I chose to spend 30 minutes answering questions about my motivation and background, instead of meeting my partner for a drink in the sun. What followed was an invitation to join the IE MIINT team, meeting the four other team members – who would become my closest friends in the MBA, a multi-months process to source a start-up funding deal and complete the investor due diligence for the competition, trips to London and Philadelphia to meet with impact investment professionals, countless hours of work and fun – overall a learning experience that was at least as valuable as all the mandatory courses of the MBA program. If I had chosen to ignore that email on the sunny afternoon back in September, I am sure my MBA year would have turned out very differently.
I also found that doing the MBA opened up a multitude of choices for my future. Did I want to set out on my own to build an idea into a business? Should I work with a classmate on a venture that they had been developing throughout the MBA, reaching MVP stage? Should I do some freelance consulting work in my “old” sector while I try out a new direction and explore opportunities in fintech? None of these considerations occurred to me in my prior safe corporate career, and this opening up of new horizons and opportunities is probably the most valuable gift of the MBA.
So, my advice to future MBA students is: choose wisely, make the most of your choices and stay open to the opportunities that will come up throughout the year!