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Entrepreneurship at IESE

At Menlo Coaching, we’re fans of the IESE Barcelona MBA program located at the University of Navarra. Our co-founder, David White sat down with Pascal Michels while he was then, the director of IESE MBA Admissions (now he’s a senior admissions consultant here at Menlo Coaching!); they discussed entrepreneurship at IESE and talked about the resources and opportunities for MBA students as well as the benefits of the program’s Barcelona location. 

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Entrepreneurial Risk, Resources and Opportunities

One important caveat that we regularly make is that, even with brilliant and business savvy founders, the majority of startups fail. As a result of this stark fact, it is important to remember that in order to have a chance of success at your own entrepreneurship endeavours, and to get critical resources from your business school, you need to have some sort of proof of the viability of the project. Even with an MBA from a top program, entrepreneurship is always risky and uncertain. 

Especially important in this assessment of the viability of one’s entrepreneurship is remembering the high cost of getting an MBA. With a tuition total of around €90k, Michels says that he often asks potential applicants why they don’t start their venture now, when they have more cash flow to pour into it. This is the crux of the kind of question the IESE Admissions Committee will consider during your application. Entrepreneurship might sound like a positive, high energy way of representing yourself as a candidate, but it usually ends up being a poorly thought out fallback plan. You might want to focus on a more feasible post-MBA strategy.

But, if entrepreneurship is actually your focus and you have a viable plan, IESE business school does have resources and opportunities for would-be entrepreneurs. IESE is aware that entrepreneurs are the ones who implement the breadth of the general management MBA, directly after graduation.

Entrepreneurs are the first ones out of the program who are going to experience the effect of the general management learning. You can almost say that what we teach is what people in the corporate world will need ten years after graduation–except for the entrepreneurs […] The one type of graduate who will immediately implement the general management mindset and skill set is the entrepreneur.

–Pascal Michels

What IESE Offers Entrepreneurs

With their Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center, IESE truly fosters entrepreneurship by bringing together faculty, students and alumni to connect on all things business innovation and growth. The school provides guidance for students in the very early startup stage, into the more developed steps of an entrepreneurial journey like scale up and expansion. What’s more, they even have a mentoring program called WeGrow which matches alumni startups with experienced executives.

Central to IESE’s entrepreneurial offerings is a dedicated investment fund at the school which only invests in ventures run by IESE students and alumni. Michels admits that while there are other opportunities available, the school has yet to streamline and catalogue them efficiently. That said, you can find out more information on IESE’s entrepreneurship page.

The Benefits of the Barcelona Location

In our previous article, we discussed the fact that Barcelona is a fairly economically undeveloped location when compared with places like London, Paris, New York, and Chicago. But there are some distinct benefits to the Barcelona location for would-be entrepreneurs including a multilingual workforce and a relatively low cost of maintenance.

It is also, however, a hub of entrepreneurship itself and emerging as a competitive city for that market. The founders are a mix of business school graduates as well as people who have done some time in corporate careers and have relocated to the city because of the lifestyle benefits. In addition to entrepreneurship and venture capital, Barcelona also has a vibrant pharmaceuticals industry and a large business education sector.  

Of course, Barcelona also is not so very far from London, Paris, Berlin, and Amsterdam which are other great cities for startups. Either way, entrepreneurs will find opportunities at IESE that go beyond what the school itself offers.

Pascal Michels and Menlo Coaching

If you are considering applying to an MBA in Barcelona, one important thing to keep in mind is the experience of someone like Pascal Michels and his role at Menlo Coaching. An important part of researching a school is getting in touch with alumni, faculty, and staff. If you read our article on impressing MBA AdComs, you’ll find that crucial information can make all the difference when it comes to your application. If you are considering applying to IESE, a resource like Pascal Michels could be equally invaluable.