Posted on January 21, 2015

Interview of an IESE Student

Poonam, CEO and founder of  myEssayReview, is publishing interviews of  her successful students.  This is the latest in the series. Here is a chat with Daniel, second year student at the  Global EMBA program of IESE.

Poonam: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What do you do now?

Daniel: I am originally from Angola and for my undergraduate education I studied at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. I majored in Computer and Telecommunications Engineering and then pursued a Master’s of Science in Telecommunications Engineering and Networking also at Penn.Right now I am the General Manager of an IT services company that is based out of Portugal.

Poonam: When did you start thinking about Global EMBA? Why now? What are your post EMBA career goals and long term goals?

 Daniel: Doing an MBA was always a goal that I had set to myself after I finished my Master’s Degree in Engineering. My initial plan was to enroll in a Business School 5 years after finishing my degree in Engineering. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, when that 5th year arrived my career had really taken off. I had been promoted to a management position, and taking 2 years off to return to University was no longer an option.

I started thinking about the Global MBA approximately two years ago when I joined my current job. The possibility of working and studying full-time felt like the perfect option and I got to a point in my career where I felt that I really need to join a program that would hone my skills as a manager.Post EMBA, I intend to stay at my current job and consolidate and capitalize on all the knowledge that I have gained.

Poonam: What is your favorite thing about IESE so far? What part of this program you have enjoyed the most so far?

Daniel: The diversity of the program and the quality level of the class have been my favorite things so far. In a class of 40 people I have top managers from 35 different Nationalities that work in very distinct industries.

 Poonam: Is there anything you would like to change about the program? 

Daniel: I am overall extremely happy with the program and it has been such a journey of discovery that I would not change anything.

Poonam: Looking back, what was the most challenging aspect of the school admissions process? How did you approach that challenge and overcome it? How would you advise other EMBA applicants who are facing similar challenges?

Daniel: Getting back into the rhythm of studying after 10 years of being away from school was not easy. Preparing for the GMAT, writing those admission essays and at the same time devoting time to work and family required a lot of self-discipline. My one piece of advice would “be disciplined”; this is the one way to make it up this hill.

Poonam: How challenging it is to manage school, work and family at the same time? Do you have any time management tips for the prospective students?

Daniel: It is extremely challenging, particularly because the program involves flying every 6 weeks to a different country. Time management is extremely important and, again, self-discipline is essential. I would also add that having family support is paramount. There is no way that I would have been able to do this program if my wife had not been there for me all along.

Poonam: Absolutely!!! Do you have any admissions tips for applicants for IESE Global Executive MBA program (essays, résumé, recommendation letters, interview, adjustment to the campus) etc.?

Daniel: My greatest advice would be 1) Be yourself at your best, 2) Make sure that you submit your best possible application (this is where having a stunning essay reviewed by Poonam can be of great help) and 3) Make sure that you are joining this program for the right reasons. If you are pursuing an EMBA purely because you want a career promotion than you already started on the wrong foot. In a demanding program such as IESE’s if you do not have the right drive and incentive it will be a very long 16 months.

Poonam: What are your favorite non-school books?  What are you hobbies?

Daniel: I loved to read “Papillon” by Henri Charriére, “The Utopia Generation” by Pepetela and “100 Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I am an avid sports practitioner, and I very much enjoy personal fitness classes as well as travelling.

Poonam: Is there any other advice you would like to offer to the prospective MBA students?

Daniel: I would simply wish them the best of luck with their application process and business school experience.

Poonam :Thank you, Daniel for sharing your story with us. Good luck on your IESE experience and your future career.

      Note: You can connect with Daniel via