Students at business school in Barcelona enjoy the best of both worlds: a year or two in one of the world's greatest cities, and excellent job prospects.
Despite the gloomy economic news globally connected schools such as IESE, currently ranked seventh in the world by the FT, and ESADE, ranked 22nd, continue to open doors for their students in top firms, and give them an unforgettable experience. We caught up with some of them to find out more!
Whether it’s the Gaudi architecture, Barcelona FC or seductive Mediterranean culture, there are many reasons MBA students refer to Barcelona as “our adopted home,” as IESE student Olga Nikiforova put it.
After-class tapas and wine at restaurants like Paco Meralgo or Cerveceria Catalana are a favorite activity for IESE MBA Gonzalo Bataller Jauma. Bataller, who is a Barcelona native, said just enjoying the city’s weather and atmosphere never grows old.
But these top MBA students don’t just enjoy their city: they also have strong employment track records, despite an unstable economy.
IESE Business School's two-year programme boasts a 95 per cent employment rate three months after graduation according to the FT. It was ranked the sixth business school in the world for career progression, which looks at how many grads achieve improved seniority and work in bigger firms after their MBA.
Similarly, ESADE grads enjoy a 92 per cent employment rate three months out and their school, which offers a one-year MBA - was ranked an impressive third in the world for career progression.
IESE’s great employment record, in addition to its location is what drew Bataller to the school.
A former Deloitte consultant, he said the career services’ ongoing relationship with MBA students has been the most positive aspect of the programme. IESE helped him do an exchange at London Business School and land an internship in New York City with Santander Investment Securities.
“In terms of job-related opportunities, IESE has been the bridge,” Bataller said. “I couldn’t have accessed the international market without IESE.”
Access to work experience in Europe is also the reason Nikiforova came to IESE after previously working in finance in the US. And international work was just what she got: last summer.
Nikiforova interned in Morgan Stanley's Investing Banking Division in London, which led her to a full-time offer with the firm in New York this fall!
“When I was thinking about applying to schools, it was a pretty easy process: I only applied to IESE,” Nikiforova said.
As Nikiforova’s classmates are ending their time at IESE, she said many have been offered full-time positions from their summer internships, or are entering MBA rotational programs at large corporations like Adidas.
Over at ESADE, Amazon has named it its number one "Go-To School" for recruiting purposes, hiring 10 of its students within one year! It's February career forum welcomed Microsoft, American Express, L'Oréal, The Boston Consulting Group, Morgan Stanley, McKinsey & Co, Credit Suisse Private Banking, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Clinton Health Access Initiative, Desigual and Johnson & Johnson to its new modern campus.
ESADE has also found a great balance between the cosmopolitan excitement of Barcelona on its main campus and space on its Sant Cugat campus near Collserola National Park. The Sant Cugat campus is home to ESADE Creapolis, which is a creativity park where over 50 multi-sector companies are housed, so students have access to real companies and can also take advantage of Barcelona’s beautiful surroundings.
From organized social outings every weekend to volunteering as consultants at local small businesses, IESE students are also well-integrated into city life.
Nikiforova said that it is hard to separate her experiences in Barcelona from her experiences at IESE. Bataller agreed that the perks of attending business school in Barcelona stem equally from the great career opportunities and the lively city.
“The people are great, the temperature is great and the architecture is even better,” Bataller said. “The sea is three kilometres away, the mountains are one and a half hours away. In the end, it’s a match: you are in a top business school and in the city of Barcelona!”