5 questions (and answers) on the IE University graduate application process

Planning on applying to one of the world’s top business schools? MBAGRADSCHOOLS spoke to IE University’s Head of Admissions & Enrollment, Elizabeth Hutchinson, to get the inside scoop on the IE University application process.

In short

1. There’s so much choice: How do I choose what to study at IE?

When it comes to choosing an MBA, you need to be sure you’re going for the right option. For example, IE Business School offers a wide range of MBA programs from the Tech MBA and Executive MBAs to the Global Online MBA and dual degree options. Aside from each curriculum providing a different focus, you can choose between online and on-campus as well as part-time and full-time options.

If you’ve just discovered IE, you’ll be happy to know that many of their MBA programs consistently rank as among the best you can find. For example, the Global Online MBA was placed #1 in the world according to the QS Online MBA Rankings.

With such a big decision to make, it’s a relief that before starting the IE University application process, the team will guide you on which pathway will work for you. As Elizabeth Hutchinson says, “We have a team here in the Madrid office whose entire role it is to consult with you and help you understand which program is actually right for you.” (03:52) At the bottom of each program’s webpage, you have the option to book a call with the IE admissions team. Elizabeth recommends having this individual conversation to discuss which program options would work best for your purpose and your career. At IE, the focus is on you as the individual with personalized career conversations even before you apply!

IE boasts a massive network of graduates who have gone on to do great things. It’s both this glittering history and the course content itself that the team uses to guide prospective students. 

2. When can I apply?

IE has rolling admissions for all graduate programs. Hutchinson says concisely, “You can apply throughout the year and you usually get a decision within three to four weeks.” (08:08)

As opposed to other business schools, there are no deadlines involved in the IE University application process. Therefore, whether you know what you want to study a year in advance or if you’re making a quick decision, the school can accommodate your needs.

However, due to the popularity of the courses and of IE itself, we strongly recommend applying as soon as possible. Those applying within a few months of the course beginning may find that classes are already full and if accepted, they will either remain on the waitlist or have to defer to the following intake. 

3. What kind of students apply for the MBA courses at IE University?

The demographics of IE students are vast and varied, covering 120 nationalities and a plethora of professional backgrounds, spanning finance and logistics to media, technology, and energy. A key takeaway, therefore, is that there is no “ideal profile.” 

That said, a common thread among successful applicants is that they want to make a change in their professional life. As Hutchinson says, “When students are applying to our programs, they often have a career vision in mind.” (03:10) In addition to wanting to make an impact, some of the attributes that tie together IE’s MBA cohorts are an interest in sustainability or entrepreneurship, an appreciation for a diverse student cohort, and a desire to have international perspectives and experiences.

If that doesn’t sound like you, don’t let it put you off. IE’s International MBA is designed for people with future ambitions, not just those with a meticulous five-year plan. At IE, the team will help you craft your career vision to help you become the “Next Best You.” You can find Dean Lee Newman explain how IE Business School focuses on each individual student in the video on this page.

4. How will my application be judged?

Like most business schools, the IE admissions team takes a holistic view of documents when making a decision. Although it certainly isn’t a box-ticking exercise, certain standards are maintained in order to ensure a high-quality intake.

Here’s a brief rundown of the areas that the IE University application process assesses:

  • Academic transcripts
  • GMAT, GRE, and ieGAT test scores
  • CV/resume
  • English language certificate
  • A personal statement, presented in any format

Based on your on-paper performance, the admissions team may invite you to an in-person (or video) interview. The interview serves to give a fuller picture of you as a person and there is no single answer for what to expect. However, as Hutchinson tells us, “It really tends to be a little bit more information from what’s missing from the rest of your application.” (15:56)

As an example, if you concentrated on past work experience in your personal statement, the interview may explore situational behaviors. This helps the admissions team better understand your profile as a whole and thus make a more informed decision.

5. What is the ieGAT?

The IE Global Admissions Test (ieGAT) is what sets the IE University application process apart from other institutions. It was one of the first incarnations of specific tests created by schools – something that has become increasingly popular in recent years. 

It is an exclusive admission test that challenges three overarching skills:

  • Verbal reasoning
  • Numerical reasoning
  • Logical reasoning

The ieGAT is not designed to be a test of memory, so consequently, you cannot study for it in advance. Hutchinson explains, “This is really meant to be an examination that’s quite flexible, that helps us in understanding your ability to process information quickly, to understand and read data – numerical literacy essentially.” (11:17)

The fact that applicants can’t specifically study for the ieGAT evens the playing field. The reasoning behind this is that those who are in full-time work in the lead-up to their application do not miss out on valuable study hours that those out of work can take advantage of, as is the case with the GMAT.  Additionally, the test is free and offered multiple times in multiple time zones throughout each week. This optionality helps remove additional barriers for those applying to IE, such as limited testing times or high financial costs associated with other tests.

There’s no need to be nervous about the ieGAT. Hutchinson adds, “It’s a lot more like playing a game than it is taking an examination.” (10:39)

We hope this article has helped to clarify some of the most common questions about the IE University application process!

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