Name: Sahaj Garg
Pre-MBA: EY, technology consulting, Hong Kong
Post-MBA: Siemens, controlling and finance assurance, Germany
As I near the end of my IESE MBA, I can’t help but reflect on the incredible and transformative journey that the past two years have been.
There is no down-time in the MBA and this taught me the importance of prioritising from the very beginning. The MBA academic experience has been an unforgettable one, which taught me the real meaning of the word – commitment. IESE has also given me exposure me to a diverse and multicultural pool of smart individuals, who are coming from 50+ countries and varied backgrounds. As one can imagine, living and studying in Barcelona offers an enriching and holistic experience in itself, given the rich cultural heritage, stunning architecture, lively nightlife, and delicious food.
“Triple jump” in the MBA community usually means switching industry, function and geography after the MBA, but I believe we also realise a triple jump during the MBA – the academic jump, the career jump, and the social jump.
The Academic Jump
Studying at IESE has been one of the most academically rigorous experiences of my life, but after going through hundreds of cases and countless hours of team meetings (shout-out to my team, New York-7!), I can confidently say that it really prepared me for the future – not just for 2023, but even for twenty years later in our careers. Over the last two years, we were faced with numerous workshops, simulations, class exercises, assignments etc. that just became part of life, and going through it all prepared me better to think about the real-world implications of everything that we studied.
In my opinion, one of the best learning experiences at IESE was the Executive Simulation course in second year, where we as a team assumed C-suite roles of a company operating in a real-world-like business environment against other teams, for us to practically apply everything we have learnt, from finance to operations, and marketing to strategy. This experience taught me for the first time what it was like to see how a full-fledged company works from within, things which few get to experience before the MBA. I also participated in an overseas module and got to attend a few classes at the IESE campus in São Paulo, Brazil, which was an enriching experience. Having lived in Asia for most of my life, I got a chance to get acquainted with a new culture and learn the nuances in marketing and doing business in Brazil and Latin America.
The Career Jump
“Trust the process” is something we hear every day at IESE and rightfully so, we just need to go with the flow. While it sounds easier said than done, there are certain steps that I took to better prepare myself for the opportunities available after the MBA.
I took time to introspect and know what I really wanted, in terms of industry, function and geography. Early on, I marked down the important dates for recruitment events, application deadlines and interview timelines. I went on a career trek to London with the Consulting Club in 2021 so I could visualise what the positions and companies would have in store for us if we join them. I participated in multiple case competitions at IESE, which also enabled me to apply some of the concepts we had learnt in the MBA. I continuously engaged with my classmates to know more about their interview experiences and utilised the resources available from the respective clubs and CDC. Finally, repetitive practice and having a clear grasp on both, the fit interview as well as the technical portion was very important for me.
The Social Jump
Right from the onset of the MBA, IESE pushes us to be more collaborative and communicative. We started the MBA with the Business Spanish Program (BSP), which eased my everyday life coming into Barcelona and soon after, we were divided into six multicultural sections and into diverse teams of eight or nine members per team. By working together daily and solving cases in class in participative and engaging discussions, we re-learnt the meaning of teamwork and curiosity. The best thing about being in a batch of 380 classmates is that there are 380 unique perspectives on everything, and these perspectives foster learning more than anything else. This also means that I have 379 other first connections, who will soon be working in the best positions all over the globe.
The parties at IESE are non-stop, be it events like Multi-Culti or Spring Games or Bar of the Week (BoWs) every week or Asado or Diwali and the list goes on. Amidst all this, I learnt so much about so many countries and their cultures that it is now an indispensable part of my life.
There is a big familial sense at IESE. Networking within the batch and among alumni is very easy, and people are very responsive and helpful. Be it to talk about academics, career or even just about the city in general, the alumni always make it a point to give back to IESE. When they say networking is a big part of the MBA, they are not kidding! After getting used to 300+ new names at the start, how quickly we went from strangers to classmates to friends was phenomenal, and this is just the start…
To conclude, the amount of stuff packed into these two years is so enormous that it will probably resemble what the next ten years together have in store for us, so the pace and rigor of the MBA definitely took time getting used to. But this is the journey where I learnt a lot, made lifelong friendships and achieved several goals that I had coming in.
The graduation for IESE MBA Class of 2023 will take place next week, congratulations to all our MBA 23 graduates!
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