IE Business School

Master in Management | Part 2

Rahimah · 2013 - 2014

Published: 1 July 2021 | by Rahimah

It is hard to believe how fast time is flying by – we have officially passed the halfway mark of the program. Just a few weeks away from final assignments and exams in the second term, I thought it would be useful to describe life as an IE MIM and reflect upon my experiences so far.

Life at IE

A normal day for an IE MIM student typically starts with a 9am lecture. Here, we sit with our section, one of the three in English or two in Spanish, in the same classroom (and seat!) every day. After finishing our first class, we have an hour break to work with our assigned group in order to complete our team’s work. In my section of 63 students (the largest of all the sections), groups consist of 6-7 members each. We are assigned these groups at the beginning of the term and work with them for most projects over the four month term. The groups are made to be highly diverse in terms of academic background, work experience, and nationality; truly embodying IE’s global environment. My group from last term consisted of an Italian, Canadian (me), New Zealander, Spaniard, German, and Kuwaiti, with academic backgrounds in everything from architecture to sports management to psychology. The diversity in the groups allows us to share our experiences and provides new ways to approach situations with a fresh perspective; one that we may not have otherwise known. The exposure to people from all backgrounds has enriched my time at IE and has been an invaluable experience—both in and out of the classroom. It is nice knowing that I can land in virtually any corner of the world and have a friend close by!

Afternoon Master in Management classes

After our group meeting and a quick lunch, we go back to our classroom to wrap up the last two classes of the day. While we always finish at 3pm, our class schedule varies from week to week. this means, for example, that we may have three competitive strategy classes one week, but might not have any the next. While this is not always ideal (ie. not having an accounting class for two weeks can sometimes make you forget what you learned last class), this is largely due to the fact that many professors are still industry professionals/executives in the discplines they teach, and therefore need their schedule accommodated as well.

The case-study method

In terms of our course work, IE predominantly focuses on the case-study method. This was huge selling point for me when I was choosing IE as it allows practical application of the subjects we learn in class. This is a sharp contrast from many other MIM programs that emphasize theoretical explanations (not that this is a bad thing, it just depends on your preferred learning style). Consequentially, we typically have a number of cases to prepare each day that we are expected to work through individually and then we come together and work through them via class discussion. This allows for a very interactive classroom experience, where once again, we get to hear not only from the professor but from our classmates’ perspectives as well.

Assignments, Grading & Classes

When it comes to coursework at IE, there is a heavy emphasis on group projects and presentations. IE does this to prepare us for life upon graduation as most of us will have to work closely with other over the course of our careers. While having six people working together all day for months at time can inevitably lead to stressful situations, it simultaneously helps you understand people’s strengths and weakness (and teaches you how you can use these to your advantage) and ultimately bring the group closer together.

When it comes to the all-important topic of grades, IE, like many other business schools, uses the Gauss Curve. This means that grades are assigned based on a pre-determined distribution. Essentially, the top 5% will receive A, whether they scored 90 in the class or 60, the next 10% will receive an A-, and so on. This means that your grade is not dependent on your exact score, but how it compares to your classmates. When I heard this upon arriving to IE, I was less than excited as I thought this would create a hostile and overly competitive environment; thankfully I’ve found the opposite of this to be true! Everyone is always very supportive and are willing to help each other, making the experience more enjoyable for everyone.

Some of the classes from this term include: Entrepreneurship, where as groups we are coming up with business plans from scratch; Supply Chain Management, which allowed us to go on a field trip to DYC Whiskey Factory in Segovia last week for a hands-on experience; and Competitive Strategy, where we have discussed companies like Amazon, Wal-Mart and Cirque du Soleil. As someone without a background in business, the variety in the classes has been a great way for me to learn about my own preferences, as well as strengths and weaknesses in different disciplines. I feel as though the program has allowed me to not only learn about the subjects we’ve been learning in class, but has also taught me a lot about myself.

Extra-Curricular Activities at IE

Just a few weeks ago we had our latest edition of what we call the MIM Cup. Organized by program management, the Cup divides us in to new teams (go khaki!) across the entire program, allowing us to interact with peers in the other four sections, while doing fun activities. Near the beginning of the year a football tournament was held, followed by a scavenger hunt around Madrid, and most recently, a full day of paintball and dancing! The fun competitions are not only a great way to interact with our peers, but they’re also a nice escape from the usual hectic pace of classes and assignments in the middle of the term.

Earlier in February, the school also organized a Career Immersion Week. Off from regular classes, we had numerous seminars, workshops (ie. how to effectively use Linkedin, salary negotiations, etc.) and company presentations (that brought people like the CEO of Burger King and managers of companies like Richemont and Accenture) to help us with our post-grad job search.

Finally, the school also has countless clubs for students to join, holds ‘Executive Insights Series’ talks every week with guest speakers from various disciplines, and regularly organizes company presentations; these types of opportunities allow all of us to be engaged not only within our classrooms, but with the greater IE community and our city.

Master in Management: Reflection

Now that five months of the course have passed, I think I’ve finally settled in to the routine of a MIM student’s life. While it hasn’t been easy, and has surely had its ups and downs, the program has been very rewarding overall. Taking courses on subjects I’d never even thought about before, meeting people from all around the world, and living on my own has been an incredible learning experience so far. I know that the friends I’ve made and experiences I’ve had will be with me for a lifetime, and though it can get stressful at times, its been completely worth all of the hardwork. While I know the next few months are going to go by even quicker than before, I’m trying to take in every moment of this wonderful experience that I feel so fortunate to have.


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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