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IESE Business School - Acceptance Rate & Admission Guide

March 1, 2024
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IESE Business School Acceptance Rate: 25%IESE Business School Admissions StatisticsWhat Is IESE Business School Looking For In Applicants?IESE Business School Admissions RequirementsIESE Business School Application DeadlinesHow to Improve Your Chances of Getting Into IESE Business SchoolIESE Business School Essay PromptsIESE Business School InterviewFAQs

IESE is one of the top MBA business schools in Europe and we’ve got you covered on everything you need to know to get accepted!

IESE Business School is considered one of the top business schools in Europe and the world. With campuses in Barcelona, Madrid, Munich, New York, and São Paulo, IESE offers a global perspective and worldwide network.

With a relatively high acceptance rate, IESE is very competitive across all its MBA programs. However, with thorough preparation and a strong application, it is possible to stand out and earn admission. This article provides key information and tips to strengthen your candidacy for business school.

IESE Business School Acceptance Rate: 25%

Out of over 3,000 applications IESE receives annually for its MBA programs, only around 750 students matriculate each year. This amounts to a highly selective 25% acceptance rate at IESE.

IESE Business School Early Decision Acceptance Rate

IESE has an early decision application option, with a deadline of September 19. The early decision acceptance rate is typically 5-10% higher than the regular round.

How Hard Is It to Get Into IESE Business School?

Given its low acceptance rate and exceptional rankings (Financial Times currently ranks IESE third in Europe for its MBA), IESE is undoubtedly one of the hardest business schools to get into.

Applicants need to showcase an outstanding MBA profile across academics, professional experience, leadership skills, global outlook, and contribution to the IESE community.

IESE Business School Admissions Statistics

Understanding the academic and test score averages among admitted students provides a benchmark to assess your competitiveness.

IESE Business School Average GPA: 3.6

The average undergraduate GPA for IESE's latest entering class was 3.6 out of 4.0. This demonstrates very strong academic performance is required.

A higher GPA can help offset other weaknesses in your application. However, those with a GPA below 3.0 will have difficulty getting in, even with exceptional professional achievements.

IESE Business School Average GMAT Score: 690

The middle 80% GMAT score range for IESE's latest entering class was 690. This is an extremely high score compared to other top MBA programs, signaling the need for intensive GMAT study.

IESE Business School Average GRE Score: 317

The average GRE score for recent incoming classes was 317, or 156 Verbal median and 161 Quantitative medians. While most applicants take the GMAT exam, IESE also accepts GRE scores. 

IESE Business School Work Experience: 5 years

On average, incoming IESE MBA students have around 5 years of professional work experience before beginning their studies. Experience in managerial roles or international settings is highly regarded during admissions.

What Is IESE Business School Looking For In Applicants?

IESE seeks candidates who pair intellectual ability with intangibles like drive, strategic vision, global outlook, communication skills, ethical values, and the capacity to motivate teams.

IESE Business School takes a holistic approach when evaluating MBA applicants, looking beyond just test scores and grades to understand each candidate's potential to excel in the program and as future business leaders.

Specifically, the admissions committee assesses applicants for qualities such as:

  • Academic Excellence - Proven through educational achievements and high GMAT/GRE scores.
  • Personal Ambition - Demonstrated drive to set and achieve meaningful goals.
  • Confidence - Self-assurance in tackling challenges and leading change.
  • Collaborative Leadership - Understanding people and processes to bring out the best in teams.
  • International Perspective - An openness to diverse cultures and the ability to operate globally.
  • Communication Skills - Listening, framing ideas, and connecting across backgrounds.
  • Team Orientation - Working collaboratively with others toward shared objectives.
  • Integrity - Committing to ethical action and positive impact on society.

Applicants who embody this full range of attributes show the potential to excel both during the IESE MBA program and as principled leaders driving positive change across global business.

IESE Business School Admissions Requirements

IESE requires the following key items for a complete MBA application:

  • A completed online application form
  • Completed Kira video essays
  • Application fee of 200€
  • Official transcripts
  • Professional CV/Resume
  • GMAT/GRE test results
  • English test: recommended score of TOEFL 105 | IELTS 7.5 | PTE Academic 68 (C1), and Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English minimum level B
  • One letter of recommendation
  • Mandatory essays (online form)
  • Military or Civil Service Obligation Passport-size digital photograph

The entire admissions process can be broken down into six steps:

Step Description Requirements
1 Apply Online Submit all the required documents online
2 Admissions Pre-Committee Once the application fee has been paid, the admissions committee will review your application
3 Personal Interview Articulate why you’re a great fit for IESE
4 Assessment Day Connect with your potential classmates and share your experiences in an original way
5 Admissions Committee Your application will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee
6 Admission You’re in! Welcome to IESE!

IESE Business School Application Deadlines

Unlike many top MBA programs which have just 2-3 fixed deadlines per application cycle, IESE Business School utilizes a rolling admissions process with four rounds throughout the year. This structure allows more flexibility but also requires some strategic planning regarding timing.

Application Step Deadline Final Decision By
Round 1 September 19 November 20
Round 2 January 9 March 18
Round 3 March 21 May 20
Round 4 May 13-31 June 3-17

The initial rounds have fixed deadlines, while Round 4 accepts applications on a rolling basis until May 31.

IESE provides admissions decisions within around 2 months of each deadline. So applicants can expect to hear back on their outcome by late November, mid-March, late May, and mid-June respectively.

Later rounds still provide the opportunity for admission but have more limited spaces available.

IESE Business School Early Admissions Deadline

The early admissions deadline for IESE Business School is September 19. Applicants who apply early and are accepted can take advantage of early tuition discounts and scholarship opportunities.

IESE Business School Regular Admissions Deadline

The final deadline to apply to IESE through the regular admissions route is May 13-31. Applications submitted after this date will be considered on a space-available basis.

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Into IESE Business School

Gaining admission into IESE Business School’s prestigious MBA program is incredibly competitive, with only around 25% of applicants accepted each year. But by going above and beyond the minimum requirements, you can significantly improve your chances of securing one of those coveted spots. 

Here are six insider strategies to help your application rise above the rest.

Tip 1: Showcase Leadership and Teamwork Skills

IESE values applicants who can demonstrate leadership, collaboration skills, and emotional intelligence.

  • Highlight experiences where you led major projects and teams. Quantify results achieved.
  • Provide examples of working effectively within diverse groups.
  • Take on leadership roles in extracurriculars or volunteer work.

Tip 2: Demonstrate International Exposure and Cultural Sensitivity

Given its global focus, IESE looks for candidates who align with their mission through an international perspective and openness to other cultures:

  • Study or work abroad if possible. Fluency in other languages is a major plus.
  • Be active in multicultural clubs or activities.
  • Show a deep understanding of regions you have exposure to.
  • Discuss global topics and trends in essays.

Tip 3: Excel in Your GMAT or GRE

With IESE’s high average test scores, a competitive score should be your top priority:

  • Aim for a GMAT score of 700+ or a GRE score of 325+
  • Take the exam multiple times if needed until you hit your target
  • Show improvement over time. Trend matters, not just the highest score.

Tip 4: Craft a Compelling Essay

IESE’s essay prompts allow you to bring your candidacy to fruition:

  • Respond to prompts creatively to stand out from other applicants
  • Tie essays back to IESE’s core values like leadership and global outlook
  • Show how you will contribute to the IESE community
  • Have others proofread extensively and provide feedback

Tip 5: Secure Strong Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation from managers or professors carry significant weight:

  • Choose recommenders who know you very well professionally or academically
  • Meet with them and discuss your candidacy so they can personalize their letter
  • Provide them plenty of lead time - at least one month
  • Send them your full resume and IESE essays so they can tie back to qualities highlighted

Tip 6: Prepare Thoroughly for the Interview

If invited to interview, intensive preparation is essential:

  • Reflect on your goals and how the IESE MBA connects to your aspirations
  • Review IESE case studies and sample interview questions
  • Practice with a friend peppering you with questions about leadership style, weaknesses etc
  • Research your interviewers on LinkedIn to personalize your discussion

If offered an interview, IESE clearly sees you as a competitive applicant. The interview is your chance to seal the deal!

IESE Business School Essay Prompts

IESE requires all MBA applicants to complete one written essay, two video essays, and an optional short answer response. By showcasing your background, goals, and purpose creatively yet succinctly within tight word limits, you can make your application leap off the page.

Here are the full essay prompts, with 300-word limits per response:

  1. Required: What are your short-term and mid-term post-MBA goals? How will the IESE MBA program help you achieve them? (word limit 300 max)
  2. Optional: What would you like to highlight about yourself or your journey which may have not been captured in your application? (word limit 300 max)

The tight word limits require you to make every sentence count. With thoughtful preparation and strategic messaging, your essay can become one of the strongest components underscoring your candidacy.

IESE Business School Interview

The IESE admissions interview is a critical part of the application process, allowing the school to directly evaluate your communication abilities, critical thinking, leadership potential, and overall fit. Interviews last around 30 minutes and take place either in person at one of 50+ global hubs or via videoconference.

While each interview varies based on your background and materials, common questions assess motivations, fit, skills, and potential, including:

  • Walk me through your resume and career progression.
  • Why pursue an MBA? Why IESE specifically?
  • How will you add value to the IESE community?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years post-MBA?
  • Tell me about a challenging work situation or conflict and how you resolved it effectively.

IESE takes an interactive, experiential approach to interviews, at times presenting applicants with a business scenario or case study. You'll need to logically analyze the situation and propose data-driven solutions, similar to IESE's in-class case methodology. 

Preparation should involve reviewing sample IESE cases to practice responding effectively despite the high-pressure oral environment.

IESE Business School Interview Tips

Securing an interview invitation to the esteemed IESE Business School is a significant milestone in your MBA journey. Now, it's time to convert that invitation into an acceptance letter.

Key Focus Areas

IESE values well-rounded candidates who demonstrate self-awareness, strong leadership potential, and alignment with the school's mission. Your interview preparation should focus on:

  • Knowing Your Story: Be ready to articulate your background, motivations, career goals, and why an MBA from IESE is the right path for you. Practice your "elevator pitch" until it feels natural and compelling.
  • Why IESE?: Go beyond the school's rankings. Deeply research IESE's programs, faculty, culture, and unique offerings. Identify clear reasons why IESE stands out for you and how it connects to your goals.
  • Behavioral Questions: Reflect on critical professional experiences that demonstrate your skills, decision-making, teamwork, and adaptability. Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure concise, impactful answers.
  • Contributions to the Community: IESE values students who contribute to the vibrant campus life. Think about your interests, skills, and experiences and how you'll enrich the IESE community.

Mastering the Interview Experience

  • Clarity and Authenticity: Communicate clearly and honestly. Showcase your personality while remaining professional and focused.
  • Prepare for the Unexpected: While some questions will be familiar, expect some off-beat questions designed to reveal your thought process and personality.
  • Engage in Dialogue: The interview isn't a one-sided interrogation. Ask insightful questions about IESE, the program, or the interviewer's experience, demonstrating your genuine interest.
  • Enthusiasm and Passion: Convey your excitement about the opportunity to join IESE. Let your passion for your goals and IESE's potential role in achieving them shine through.
  • The Assessment Day: If invited to Assessment Day, expect group exercises and possibly a case presentation. Brush up on your case analysis skills and approach group tasks collaboratively while showcasing your leadership style.

Additional Tips

  • Review Your Application: Be prepared to discuss details from your essays and resume. Ensure your interview answers are consistent with your written materials.
  • Mock Interviews: Practice answering questions aloud with a friend or mentor. This helps with nerves and ensures your responses are articulate.
  • Professional Attire: Dress professionally and make sure you're comfortable in what you wear. Confidence boosts performance.
  • Take a Pause: If you need a moment to gather your thoughts, don't be afraid to take a brief pause. A well-thought-out answer is better than a rushed one.

Remember, the interview is a two-way street. It's your chance to assess if IESE is the right fit for you. Prepare thoughtful questions and don't hesitate to ask them.


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about IESE admissions:

What Is The Average Salary Of IESE MBA Graduates? 

The average salary for IESE MBA graduates is €87,613, or around $99,000 USD. The highest-paying industry is consulting, with an average salary of €93,981 (around $106,000 USD).

Is the employability of their MBA high? 

Yes, the employability of IESE MBA graduates is very high. According to the career report, 94% of IESE MBA graduates secured a job offer within 3 months of graduation

Do I Need To Speak Spanish To Apply To the MBA Program? 

Spanish is not a requirement for admission to the IESE MBA. The official language of instruction is English. 

All non-native Spanish speakers are encouraged to enroll in IESE's Business Spanish Program (BSP), which offers courses from beginner to advanced levels. Students can earn a bilingual MBA by completing the highest BSP module and passing an exam.

Does the IESE MBA Program Offer the Possibility of Participating In an Exchange Program With Other Universities? 

Yes, the IESE MBA program does offer students the possibility of participating in an exchange program with other universities. This sends around 90 MBA students per year and is seen as a highly enriching element of the overall IESE MBA experience.

Do I Need A Visa To Study At IESE? 

Yes, you do need a visa to study at IESE if you are a non-EU citizen. The visa should be applied for in advance through your nearest Spanish embassy or consulate.

Does IESE Accept Transfer Students From Other MBA Programs? 

IESE does not allow students to transfer into its MBA program from other business schools. The MBA is a self-contained program that students must complete fully at IESE over the 15-19 month duration.

Are Student Loans Available For the IESE MBA Program? 

Yes - loans are available to IESE MBA students through the school's own global loan program, partner banks, and third-party lenders like Prodigy Finance. Both loans and scholarships can be used to fund an IESE MBA.

Do I Need To Be Catholic To Enroll In IESE? 

IESE does not require students to be Catholic or religious to apply to or enroll in its MBA or other programs. The school welcomes diversity in its student body.

Final Thoughts

With thorough preparation and a competitive profile, you can overcome IESE’s acceptance rate and earn admission. Focus on showcasing leadership impact, global outlook, academics, and alignment with IESE’s community. Mastering the essay, recommendations, and possible interviews are also essential.

While the process requires effort, the exceptional ROI of an IESE MBA makes it worthwhile. By emphasizing your strengths and following these tips, you can position yourself among the elite group accepted each year.

About Inspira Futures

At Inspira Futures, our sole focus is to get you accepted at your dream business school. Our team of experts consists of former admission committee members and alums from Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB, and other M7 schools. Our goal is to help you write great essays, ace interviews, and win scholarships. Without any stress or hassle. Our clients have gone on to secure admits at the world's top business schools while also being winners of some of the most prestigious scholarships like Stanford Knight Hennessy, HBS Baker Scholars, and many others.
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