When Francois-Xavier Bonneville relocated from Canada to begin an MBA at IESE Business School in 2015, he struggled to carry a conversation in Spanish.
He decided to pursue IESE’s bi-lingual MBA. Alongside the traditional MBA curriculum, he enrolled on IESE’s Business Spanish Program (BSP), a 12-module course designed to empower first-year MBA students to engage fluently in Spanish in a variety of business situations.
By the end the year, Francois-Xavier was working as an intern for Amazon in Madrid. He graduates in 2017, but he’s already landed a full-time role.
“The BSP’s focus on being able to verbally carry our ideas across in a business environment really sets it apart from any other language program I’ve heard of,” he says.
“At Amazon, I had to speak Spanish with associates on the floor. Without my newly-acquired language, it would have been much harder to obtain an offer at the end of my internship.”
IESE’s bi-lingual MBA has a global reach, drawing an eclectic mix of international students, and welcoming both beginners and more experienced Spanish speakers.
Students take part in an intensive, two-week BSP course on-campus in Barcelona before the full-time MBA program and the semi-intensive format BSP starts. Those who complete the BSP earn the right to obtain a bilingual MBA degree and can take second-year electives taught in Spanish.
“I believe that the IESE bilingual MBA will unlock new opportunities that I otherwise would not have,” says IESE MBA student Carson James, who moved from the US to gain more international exposure in Europe.
“Its value proposition is second to none,” he continues. “And learning Spanish has made my time in Barcelona truly unforgettable. It helps you build stronger relationships with the locals and grow in your appreciation for the subtleties of a unique culture.”
The BSP includes case studies in Spanish, demanding simulations and role play activities. As MBAs’ oral skills develop, they are equipped with ability to not only communicate in every day challenges but in complex professional situations.
While Carson acknowledges that the BSP is tough to undertake on top of the usual pressures of an MBA, he’s adamant that the extra hours are worth it.
Through the program, MBA students can become fluent in a second language while obtaining a top-ranked degree and adding an extra edge to their professional profile.
“IESE MBAs are committed to becoming global leaders who leave a positive, deep, and lasting impact on people, business and society,” explains Carlos Schmidt Foó, head of the business Spanish for communication unit at IESE.
“The bilingual MBA sharpens their ability to pursue this goal in English as well as Spanish. Students enjoy the chance to access larger professional markets and establish deeper personal and professional relationships with millions of people in an increasingly globalized world.”