Gain an understanding of the IE experience by reading what current International MBA student Jonathan Riskin has to say about IE after having become part of its family in November 2012. Don’t forget to also check out his other posts. 

Delivering on Diversity

Business school can often be perceived as a magical cure-all elixir, a quick fix to whatever we may be lacking in our careers. Students mistakenly believe that an MBA is a guarantee for a high salary, a replacement for work experience, or de facto expertise in every subject matter.  Unfortunately, this is not the case. As a general rule, business school is a complement to, but not a substitute for such professional experiences.

As a lawyer, I learned that there is always an exception to the rule.  In this case, the exception exists in the area of international business and diversity. IE has proven to be more than a substitute for international work experience, but actually a superior environment to develop the skills necessary for global commerce.  A six-month project in a foreign office or participation in a cross-border transaction could not possibly replicate the in-depth cultural knowledge that is transmitted every day here at IE.  The ability to communicate and achieve high performance with teammates sharing totally different cultural identities is truly a skill for the future.

Here, students are able 0to draw upon the type of knowledge that is only available from sources with real life experience in local markets. You want to learn about lean manufacturing? Three seats over is the Japanese student with five years experience at Toyota. And behind him is the student who worked at a Toyota supplier.  You want to understand emerging trends in tech? The Israeli student with two start-ups is to your right.  This type of network learning happens every day.

Additionally, this type of diversity creates personal networks that span five continents.  Need a supplier in Colombia for your family business? Your classmate from Bogota is an excellent place to start. Curious about consumer habits in Brazil? Call your former group member.  Lifelong connections across the globe are valuable no matter what area of business you may enter after completion of your MBA.

When my time at IE is done, I am certain that I will not remember every financial ratio or strategy framework. I am also certain however, that the implicit knowledge of international business transmitted through diversity will stay with me for many years to come.