Simon - IE University

M Business Administration
Semester 1, 2019
UQ Abroad provides excellent support for international experiences!

Academic experience

Excellent professors and educators (through the MBA program research reputation was not obvious and pragmatic ideas are valued more than academic rigour.) IE MBA assessments tend to be narrower, requiring less integration of multiple insights/sources/ideas – but there is more encouragement for candidates to “make-a-case” and present compelling positions/presentations/recommendations. The MBA candidates are on the younger side of the age range of those doing MBA – you should expect the cohort to be aged between 24 and 34 (average age is probably ~29 years). Because of this professional experience brought to the classroom by the cohort is a little limited.

Personal experience

Madrid is an excellent city to spend some time. The time we spent in Madrid and traveling around Spain and Europe was very special. The UQ Abroad team are excellent, the support for Exchange students at IE is not as comprehensive. Unfortunately, exchange students get last choice of the electives on offer – this can make it difficult to confirm the UQ required study plan until the last minute and this study plan may require updating at the very last minute (as mine did).


Share housing is popular, and those who sought Spanish house-mates got more access to the Spanish life than those in English-speaking international share-houses. 
Entire apartment living can be expensive (the agent typically takes a 1 month fee) and competitive and getting a lease for less than 12months can be difficult.


We found living expenses in Madrid to be slightly higher than our equivalent lifestyle in Brisbane.


My study load was max'ed out - full days of class with multiple assessments due each week required good planning, robust and early communication with group-work peers, and prioritization of requirements.

Professional Development

Exposure to new ideas, a diverse and international network and experience working with high-calibre (albeit younger) candidates from with a broad range of backgrounds and nationalities. There was unfortunately a low percentage of the graduating cohort with job offers – it typically takes ~3months after graduation for the cohort to achieve high levels of employment.


The international cohort of the MBA at IE is the highlight – These people are clever, driven, entrepreneurial, and diverse.

Top tips

- Get in touch with the IE school administration staff early.
- Understand how the IE schedule, term, and place offers, may differ from the UQ timeframe.
- Make use of the messaging and academic platforms offered by IE – there are excellent extra-curricular seminars running multiple times a week.
- Get ready for late nights – Madrid doesn’t really open until 10pm in the evening. The bars and clubs are friendly and great fun.
- Learn some Spanish language before arriving – lots of people in Madrid are not able to/confident speaking English.
- Dealing with the spanish consulate in Sydney can be challenging - They respond to email, but do not answer the phone. Make contact with the consulate early and understand the requirements of the visa well in advance. It is possible the offer from IE will come late and leave very little room for error in the visa application.