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  • Writer's pictureMalvika Patil

IESE Assessment Day 2023 - 2024: Everything you Need to Know

Updated: Feb 4




Getting ready for an interview at IESE? 


Great work on getting to this stage! IESE is one of the world’s top business schools, ranked #3 in the FT, #10 in QS, and Bloomberg’s #2 in Europe for 2023.  


This year’s IESE MBA class is composed of around 350 students, with an average age of 29 and approx. 5.4 years’ work experience. The class is 35% female and 85% international (non-Spanish). The average GMAT score is 670, with a score range of 580 to 750. The average GRE score is 317 (161 Quant and 156 Verbal). 


Applicants who are invited to the IESE interview may also be invited to an Assessment Day. 


In this IESE interview guide, we’ll help you prepare for the Assessment Day and the personal interview by priming you on their structure, the questions IESE has previously asked interviewees, and give you our top tips to ace the IESE Assessment Day and interview. 


Assessment Day


IESE candidates may or may not be invited to an Assessment Day. At your Assessment Day, you’ll simulate a classroom environment where you will work on a case discussion in a group setting.


This is a unique feature of the IESE interview which offers a taste of IESE’s Case Study methodology and gives applicants the chance to demonstrate their collaboration skills and fit with the school. The Assessment Day takes place one time per round of admissions, except for Rounds 3 and 4 because of the shortened window between interview and decision. 


If you are invited to an Interview but not to an Assessment Day, don’t worry: historically, IESE has admitted applicants who were not invited to an Assessment Day. Candidates who may have already interacted with the AdCom several times may be exempted due to limited spaces.  This also applies to those who are unable to attend the Assessment Day for other reasons; you are expected to inform the AdCom in advance if you are unavailable. However, if you are available and invited, it is encouraged for you to attend.


If you are located near an IESE campus in Barcelona, New York, or São Paulo, you may be invited to attend an in-person Assessment Day. Otherwise, you will likely attend your Assessment Day online. There is no difference in how you will be evaluated in either case.


The virtual Assessment Day will last 2.5 hours. The in-person event may be scheduled for longer. Reports indicate that participants’ pitches and demonstrations tend to overrun, so it is wise to block out extra time afterward to be safe. Here’s how the Assessment Day is structured:


  • Candidates receive the Case Study approximately one week in advance.

  • When the event begins, there is an introductory discussion

  • After introductions between students and facilitators are made, applicants start the group case discussion

  • Applicants are sent to smaller groups to discuss the case and make a decision as a team

  • Applicants return to the bigger group for the final case discussion

  • Ice breaker event and close


As mentioned, candidates will receive the Case Study being discussed approximately one week prior to the Assessment Day. The candidate will be expected to have read and analyzed the Case Study when they enter the group. In R1 2023, IESE provided the following preparation questions for their case study:


  1. Who is the main protagonist in the case? 

  2. What is the key decision being faced?

  3. How would you make that decision? 

  4. What data and information from the case support your decision?  

  5. How would your decision affect the other stakeholders involved?


The Case will come with a set of instructions that the candidate must follow. In short, the candidate is expected to present on the actions they would take if they were the protagonist of the Case. No additional research will be necessary as all information should be provided with the case. You may have to do some number-crunching depending on your decision. Again, this should all be done in the week leading up to the Assessment Day.


It’s useful to prepare a short pitch about who you are and what you do to make the introductory exercises go more smoothly; they often ask you to share something “unusual” about yourself. The assessment day will include two or three group sessions where candidates are able to share their work on the case study. Finally, there will be a group activity. 


Each group assessment will be overseen by an Admissions Committee or alumni evaluator, and students are advised to behave as they would in a normal Case Study class setting. Criteria for the Assessment Day aren’t released in order not to bias candidates toward or away from particular behaviors. Although it goes without saying, IESE is looking for skills that benefit a professional environment. It also helps to remember that diversity is a core value at IESE, so highlight what makes you unique!


That being said, previous attendees have noted that parts of the Assessment Day can be quite boring. Nevertheless, remember to stay attentive and professional. Just because you aren’t speaking doesn’t mean you aren’t being evaluated. Your goal is to showcase your teamwork, critical engagement, and decision-making skills. 


The Assessment Day is designed to be a space for you to share your thought process and experience. As is usual with Case Studies, show initiative and speak, help others out, and be firmly present without hogging the spotlight.


The IESE Interview


In addition to the Assessment Day, IESE applicants will have a personal interview. 


The IESE interview typically lasts for 45 - 60 minutes. IESE interviews are generally conducted by the Admissions Committee who are often IESE alumni themselves, and the school has, over the last couple of years, introduced a limited number of non-Adcom alumni interviewers as well.  


The interviews are non-blind. That means that the interviewer will have read all your application material and watched your video essay. Given that IESE’s questions range from standard MBA questions to questions based directly on your application, it’s important to know what to expect. You will be asked follow-up questions, so review your application in depth before your interview. 


The interview may be conducted online or in-person, depending on your location and the preference of the interviewer. In-person interviews are more likely in places where IESE has main campuses: Barcelona, New York, and Sao Paulo. 


What IESE is Looking For


IESE is training future leaders with a vision to create a positive impact in the world. For IESE, the responsible leader has the following qualities: 


  1. Drive

  2. Confidence

  3. Academic skill

  4. An international viewpoint

  5. Excellent communication skills

  6. Can work well as a leader or a member of a team

  7. A clear set of values


Think about how you can demonstrate one or more of these skills during your Assessment Day and the interview itself.




IESE Interview Schedule (2023 - 2024)

Rounds

Application Deadline

Interview Decisions

Final Decisions

Round 1

September 19, 2023

October 03, 2023

November 20, 2023

Round 2

January 09, 2024

January 26, 2024

March 18, 2024

Round 3

March 21, 2024

April 08, 2024

May 20, 2024

Round 4

May 13 - 31, 2024

May 21 - June 05, 2024

June 03 - 17, 2024

IESE Interview Questions


Here are selected questions that previous candidates have been asked in the IESE interview.    


Initial Questions


  1. Describe an event from childhood that stood out to you.

  2. Tell me about your undergraduate experience.

  3. Tell me more about yourself.

  4. Tell me more about your previous jobs.

  5. Tell me why you chose your university. 

  6. Describe your short- and long-term career goals.

  7. What three firms would you like to work at, if possible, after your MBA?

  8. Tell me about your backup plan if you are not admitted to an MBA program.

  9. Tell me why you want to do an MBA. Why now?

  10. Why have you chosen IESE?

  11. Tell me about the extracurriculars you’d like to pursue at IESE.

  12. Tell me about what you anticipate from IESE.

  13. If you got into every school you applied to, how would you choose where to attend?

  14. What experience do you have with IESE? Campus visit? Discussions with alumni?


Leadership and Teamwork


  1. Describe a situation where you didn’t get along with your team. How did you resolve this situation?

  2. Describe your vision of leadership. 

  3. Tell me about your leadership style.

  4. Describe the leadership style of a leader you admire.

  5. If you have ever disagreed with your boss, describe the situation.


Behavioral Questions


  1. Describe a situation where your performance did not meet its expectations.

  2. Describe a time that you were severely challenged at work. 

  3. Tell me how your friends would describe you.

  4. Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.

  5. Is there a time that you have used your network to help you achieve something?

  6. Describe yourself in one sentence.

  7. Is there one previous experience that shaped you more than others?

  8. Tell me about a book you are reading right now.

  9. One thing you would like to stop doing, one thing you would like to start doing, and one thing you would like to continue doing.


Closing


  1. Tell us anything you would like us to know about you. 

  2. Is there anything you would like me to have asked you?

  3. Do you have any questions for me?


Tips to Ace the IESE Interview


Here are a number of IESE-specific tips that we have developed in working with hundreds of clients. 


  1. Be prepared with ideas, stories, etc. that aren’t directly picked out from your submitted application material. You may also need to prepare a new perspective on the stories you have already discussed. Keep IESE’s principles of leadership in mind. 

  2. When you answer behavioral questions, keep your core narrative in mind at all times. You are presenting yourself as a whole; your stories need to be consistent with your goals and why you are interested in IESE. 

  3. The interview is really to see how you can fit into IESE’s fairly small cohort. Diversity is celebrated at IESE, so focus on how your specific strengths will benefit the cohort and the school. 

  4. Even if your interview or Assessment Day is online, dress well. Wear socks and shoes. You can apply our tips about making your video essays perfect.

  5. In case you receive an unexpected question, pause before you answer. You can even ask for a moment to think. If you don’t have a suitable example, you may use a hypothetical scenario and explain what you would do (although real life is preferable when possible). 

  6. Don’t forget to send the interviewers a follow-up note! You’ll learn the interviewers’ names before the interview, so you can find their email addresses with little difficulty. 


Writing and rewriting your answers to the interview questions is one thing. To really prepare for the interview and Assessment Day, make sure you do mock interviews to simulate the real-life thing! Book a free 20 minute chat with one of our expert consultants to get started. 

 

You can find more interview advice and practice at the Interview Guide course on MBAConsultant.com.

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