2013-04-12 17.29.03Gain an understanding of the IE Experience by reading what current International MBA student Jonathan Riskin from the USA 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. 

Choosing a Direction

It is undeniable that the IE’s use of a 13-month framework has its advantages. The intense focus, the shorter gap between work experiences, and the lower overall cost are all benefits directly related to shorter program duration. But, as my classmates and I are finding out, the 13-month framework is unforgiving to those who enter without direction.

Let me elaborate. You don’t need to come to IE with an exact job function or a sole industry as your target employment. IE still provides room for growth and career change. There are many options to explore different industries, to develop new skills, and to learn how to transfer past experiences into new functions. But it is this same wealth of options that causes problems. As Term 2 nears an end, I am selecting between an internship, a long exchange program, a short exchange program, the Emzingo project, case study competitions, the Venture Lab, the accelerator program, the IE Consulting Project, and over 100 potential elective courses in English or Spanish.  And that’s my point- the choice is overwhelming for those students who approach business school without self-awareness around career choice.

In 13 months, it is not possible to do it all. For me, this limitation is a positive feature- it forces the student to decide upon a course of action and prioritize which activities and classes will be most beneficial to achieving career goals. The IMBA isn’t a liberal arts degree- we’re here to gain depth in subject areas and make real world contacts.   So for me, I’ve decided on an internship in the sports management world. Of course I feel some regret that I cannot spend two weeks in China or participate in Venture Lab, but this choice is a powerful investment in my career. By eliminating the experiences which are not essential, I strengthen my commitment to my true professional goals. Besides, China isn’t going anywhere.