IE Business School

Master in Management | Part 3

Daena · 2012 - 2013

Published: 1 July 2021 | by Daena

The second period has past and it’s only during the holidays that I find I truly have time to reflect on everything that has happened in the last 8 months. I have met amazing people from all over the world, found some fantastic friends who I will keep in my life for a long time to come, learnt so much about myself and where I want to go to that I can scarcely believe it... But most importantly, I have realised how important being open minded is.

Defining oneself as a person

When I arrived at IE, I would have characterised myself as being open minded. I believed that I could understand most perspectives and be open to new experiences and attitudes and it has only been recently that I have realised that whilst that may have been true, I still held firm to the things that I thought I was interested in and how I defined myself as a person. Now, the end of a corporate finance exam is a strange place to have an epiphany and yet I found myself realising that at some point in the last 3 months, I started to enjoy finance. Maybe it was our wonderful lecturer who managed to grab my attention and hold it but maybe it had more to do with me.

Personal development within a master in management

This term has been more about personal development than professional, I think. While the courses at face value seem to be more challenging, as a student you also have a period of experience under your belt. At first, everything was overwhelming and everyone tried to do everything, this term I learnt to work to my best advantage and in order to do so, had to learn exactly where my strengths lie in this arena. I really enjoyed competitive strategy and corporate finance this past term. Both of these were courses that were completely new to me, but I think what appealed was that it pooled knowledge from different points in my education and turned them into a single holistic course.


The new period meant that my group changed. My new group was comprised of Portuguese and French girl and Spanish, Palestinian and Lebanese boys. With a new group, came a new group dynamic. My new group bared very little resemblance to my first group, but I think that is the point really. The transition between my old group and new proved to be challenging for me. I had gotten very used to working with my period 1 group and this group was made up of entirely different personalities and strengths. As the period progressed, I learnt how to work with yet a different group of people and navigate that professional terrain. When I fully consider period 2, I think what resonates the most is the fact that it drew the core period of the programme to a close. It pulled together so many of the dangling strands from period 1 and we start to see just how integrated management education can be when considered holistically.

New students coming

I think that period 2 provides an extended knickpoint in the lives of students. When we all arrived in Madrid, a few short months ago, we were bright eyed and bushy tailed, but today we are completely at ease in our surroundings, at school and with each other. We have seen 3 new intakes arrive in Madrid, in IMBA and MIM, and at times I feel a bit like an old hand at this. It has been wonderful to see new students integrating themselves into student life and I have had the pleasure of getting to know some of them, and feel like a sage at times pointing people in the direction of dry cleaners and green grocers.

Learning from debating

I have learnt that the best debates happen over dinner or drinks with friends when opinions fly freely and we can really engage. I have found myself having discussions about religion on more than one occasion, and had you asked me a few short months ago whether that was a good idea, I would have vehemently denied it. Yet, I remember evenings spent with Leah debating, asking question after question about everything from South Africa and the US to Judaism and Christianity. Inevitably, we lose track of time and thus a few hours of sleep but I wouldn’t change that for the world. This term, it was from these debates that I learnt more than I ever thought I would.

The reality of grades

This period also brought the reality of grades to the fore as our first period marks and rankings were released. The Gauss Curve, which is employed at most business schools measures relative performance rather than absolute and this takes some getting used to. You may get 94% and that may still be a B, if half of the class gets 95%. Arguably, the gauss curve minimises subjectivity in grading but it does at times feel as though it presents an environment that is not a meritocracy. You can’t simply be your best; you need to be the best. For me, this took some getting used to, but I do think with time you develop your own list of priorities.

Work-life balance in Madrid

When I look back at the reasons I came to IE, one of the most significant was its location in Madrid. I enjoy being a part of the city and exploring the place that has been home for the last 8 months. The programme management are strong proponents for doing just this, especially now that the weather is improving after a cold and rainy winter. This term was a great learning curve for work-life balance. We explored parts of Madrid that we had not in the term before, and spent more time getting to know the Spanish MIM class. We went on a wonderful trip to Monaco and took full advantage of how easy it is to move around Europe once you have a NIE card. This was especially amazing for me carrying a South African passport. The sheer fact that I was able to book flights and hotels with my friends and just being able to go without the necessity of a visa was such a foreign concept at first but now is a way of life.

Birthday away from home

I had my birthday this term – my first away from home and family. Leah, Kimberly and the rest of my friends made it such a memorable celebration that lasted the entire weekend. My bedroom was filled with daisies and tulips; and I am now the proud owner of stuffed animals, but more than anything I am so blessed to have met these people. I think this best shows just how wonderful the relationships you will get to build here in Madrid are. These people are wonderful and I really do believe that we will be spending the rest of our lives flying across continents to mark major events in each of our lives.

Entering the specialization period

I have 4 months left here in Madrid and I intend to take full advantage of them all. I am about to enter into my specialisation period, where my class will change and all 4 sections from periods 1 and 2 will get combined to create the different specialisation classes. I am looking forward to the new class and the new classes that will now take the form of strategic management courses. In a few short weeks we have our networking event with the new February intake and I can’t help but wonder if any of you are part of that class or will be part of the February/ September networking event this coming September.


Your Contact at IE Business School

Cristina Bejarano Ricaurte is your person of contact for Masters in Management at IE Business School in Madrid. She would be happy to answer any of your questions regarding IE’s Master in Management program and why IE can help you go beyond your own limits.

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