IESE Ranked #1 in the World for Executive Education for Unprecedented 5th Straight Year by Financial Times

Barcelona June 3 2019. The Financial Times has today ranked IESE Business School best in the world for executive education for a record-breaking fifth straight year. In this year’s ranking, IESE was particularly praised for its ability to provide new skills and learning to executives, the emphasis the school places on clients’ and participants’ needs, its outstanding faculty, and the follow-up given to participants.

Mireia Rius, Associate Dean of Executive Education and member of the Executive Committee at IESE, says: “We are enormously proud to reach this historic milestone, as it shows the confidence placed in us by our alumni, participants and corporate clients. It is a testament to IESE´s proven track-record in delivering outstanding programs that reflect the research-based thought leadership of our faculty and our ability to offer highly personalized programs focused on the personal and professional development needs of today´s executives, entrepreneurs and companies.” 

Rius says this is especially important as the world is moving fast and new types of leadership skills and capabilities are needed if organizations want to thrive in today´s business context. “At IESE we draw upon the rich intellectual capital of our faculty and a range of innovative teaching methodologies (whether online, face-to-face or blended) to craft programs that can achieve this,” she says.

The 2019 FT Executive Education ranking, released today, analyzes two types of programs for executives: custom programs (courses that are tailor-made for specific companies) and open-enrollment programs (open to executives from any company). The FT produces separate rankings for custom and open programs, and then produces an overall rating for all of executive education, based on the data collected for the two rankings. As well as coming first overall in the combined ranking, IESE also ranks first for custom programs, and sixth in open programs.

Regarding custom programs, IESE scored high marks across the board, placing in the top two spots in 11 of the 15 categories that the FT uses to rank programs. These include factors such as program preparation (where IESE stood out for its close interactions with clients and the ability to integrate cutting-edge research into its programs), the ability to impart new skills and learning through the program, the use of innovative teaching methods, as well as the diversity of its faculty and international reach.  

Recent corporate clients include:Abertis, BBVA, BMW Group, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Caixabank, ENAGAS, Enterprise Ireland, ERSTE, GRUPO CORREOS, IDOM, NATURGY, Nissan, Oracle, Rijkzwaan, Schneider Electric, Shiseido, Telefonica, Traton UNDP, United Parcel Service, among others.

For open programs, participants also valued how IESE´s programs encouraged new ways of thinking, and equipped them with new skills and perspectives that are directly relevant to their work. In addition, they appreciated the follow-up provided by IESE once they were back in the workplace, including providing numerous further learning and networking opportunities. IESE´s internationality and strong alliances with top business schools, such as Harvard, Wharton and CEIBS, also drew praise, as they allow rich opportunities for networking and help foster an international mindset. Open Programs are taught from IESE´s campuses in Barcelona, Madrid, New York, Munich and Sao Paulo, among other locations around the world.

More than 5,000 participants take part annually in IESE´s custom programs around the globe. There are also more than 30 open enrollment programs offered each year by IESE at its various international campuses, as well as its more than 40 short focus programs.

The Financial Times ranking is based on survey responses from custom program clients and open program participants, combined with data provided by the business schools themselves across a number of different criteria.

IESE Business School to take part in MWC Barcelona

  • Hosting sessions on business innovation at world’s largest mobile event

IESE Business School will take part in the upcoming MWC Barcelona, the largest mobile event in the world, hosting sessions on corporate innovation and corporate venturing with top executives. With IESE Business School’s partner program at MWC, its professors will contribute their knowledge and expertise on innovation to an event whose theme this year is intelligent connectivity. IESE Business School will also be a supporting partner of the 4YFN conference, the innovation platform of MWC.

Professors Mª Julia Prats, Thomas Klueter and Javier Zamora, thought leaders in entrepreneurship and technology, will moderate the sessions, coordinated by Josemaria Siota of IESE’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center 

In conjunction with Mobile World Capital, IESE Business School is also releasing the report Open Innovation: Corporate Venturing Success Cases. Through events such as MWC and other initiatives, Mobile World Capital works with the public and private sector to position Barcelona as a digital hub. 

MWC Barcelona will be held Feb. 25-28 and is expected to draw more than 2,400 companies on the cutting edge of technology and innovation for four days of talks, conferences and networking. 4YFN will take place Feb. 25-27, serving as a hub for startups, investors and corporations. 

The IESE sessions are: 

  •  Feb. 28: IESE professors will moderate a session titled Leading Corporate Innovation that will bring together chief strategy and digital officers from companies such as Schneider Electric and Orange.

IESE Business School Offers Fellowships for Six Journalists

  • #1 Ranked Business School by the Financial Times to Award Fellowships to Elite Group of Journalists

With the media landscape in constant flux, whether it be through the proliferation of social media channels, the way content is created and consumed, or the attacks on mainstream outlets, journalists are finding it more and more necessary to immerse themselves in professional development programs that will help them navigate this new reality.

To this end, IESE Business School is offering six fellowships – three to Spanish journalists and three to international journalists – to participate in its highly regarded executive education programs. Through these programs, selected fellows will be given the opportunity to advance their career development, recognition and prestige within the journalism community.  The program will build a solid foundation of general management and business knowledge, which will help in analysis and reporting, and give fellows the opportunity to network with high-level executives and future business leaders. IESE fellows will gain access to a top-level business education and receive a diploma from one of the world’s top business schools. 

The fellowship is open to full-time editorial employees of newspapers, magazines, wire services and broadcast news organizations who have at least ten years of experience.  IESE will commend candidates whose work demonstrates high standards of journalism, ethics and responsibility in the media. In line with IESE’s mission, which focuses on having a positive, lasting impact on business and society at large, the school will favor journalistic works which have promoted ethical business practices and exposed or amended situations of social unfairness. 

IESE Business School will cover 80% of the chosen course fees of IESE’s highly regarded Executive Education programs – Driving Leadership Potential, the Advanced Management Program and the Program for Management Development.

IESE Business School, which has campuses around the world, including in Munich, Barcelona, Madrid, New York City, and Sao Paulo, has been rated the number one business school in the world for executive education by the Financial Times for 4 years in a row – 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015. In addition, the IESE MBA was ranked #1 in Europe by The Economist in 2018; #2 in the world for two-year international programs by Forbes in 2017; and #4 in Europe by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2018.

This year’s dates for the fellowships are:

  • Application deadline is May 20, 2019 (inclusive)
  • Successful applicants will be informed before July 31, 2019

For more details and how to apply, visit:




IESE launches Master in Management program

  • Aimed at recent graduates, the program will be taught from September 2019 at IESE’s Madrid Campus.
  • It follows news of IESE´s new look Madrid campus, already under construction, which has an investment of 52 million euros and will become operational in September 2020.

Madrid, November 13, 2018.- Today, IESE Business School has announced it is launching a new program, the Master in Management (MiM), which is aimed at recent graduates and young professionals. It is the only program of its kind offered by the school. The program will start in September 2019, and be taught out of IESE´s Madrid campus. A scholarship fund of half a million euros has also been made available for participants.

Aimed at recent graduates looking to take their first management role, the Master in Management (MiM), will have a duration of one academic year. The program will be an immersive experience, allowing participants to acquire the best business management tools (both theoretical and practical) in order to kick-start their management career.

The addition of the MiM to IESE´s portfolio of programs completes the schools business education offering, which now covers all the stages of development of a manager – from first entry role to CEO.

Franz Heukamp, Dean of IESE Business School, said: “This program is an important milestone for the school. IESE has a long, rich history of training middle and senior executives. Now we will also be able to help recent graduates gain the analytical tools and humanistic background needed to prepare them for their first job, and begin their journey towards becoming leaders who can have a positive impact on the world around them.”

The MiM will be taught from IESE´s Madrid campus, which has long been a center of excellence in managerial training for the school. IESE launched its first Executive MBA from Madrid. In addition to the Executive MBA, today it offers numerous other programs for executives, such as the PDG, PDD and PADE among others, as well as customized programs for companies, an area where the school is a global leader. In its 44 years of history in Madrid, more than 15,000 managers and professionals have been trained through its classrooms.


IESE bets on Madrid with new building and new programs


The launch of the MiM follows the news of the construction of a new look campus in Madrid for the school, further strengthening IESE´s presence in the Spanish capital. 52 million euros is being invested in this extension of the campus, which includes the construction of a new building whose completion is scheduled for September 2020.  

The development will increase the activity of IESE in Madrid by 50%, as well as the number of professors on campus, which will increase from 25 to 50. The new building will have the latest high-spec facilities, including: four new classrooms, a multi-purpose high-tech classroom and an auditorium for more than 500 people. In total, 16,300 square meters will be built, with a parking of more than 300 spaces in a landscaped environment of 6,000 square meters. This new space will allow the school to better serve its large alumni community in the area, as well as create more innovation and entrepreneurship projects from the Spanish capital.

IESE Business School launches New Research Program With Global Bank Citi

A new banking initiative by IESE Business School, with the support of Citi, plans to establish a group of first-rate researchers to study post-crisis developments of banking and financial markets, paying particular attention to regulation and competition policy and the impact on business banking models. The project aims to promote a rigorous and informed dialogue on current issues in the fields of banking and financial markets among academics, regulators, companies and civil society.


The origin of the initiative lies in the annual “Future of Banking Conference” that IESE launched in London in 2014 to help improve research on the governance and management of banks.


With an initial horizon of 4 years, the program will be a reference point in banking and financial studies and will focus on issues that will be crucial to understanding the evolution of these sectors. In particular, an annual report on the future of banking will be produced.


Examples of research areas include:


  • The transformation of business models in the different banking segments due to the impact of technological change, macroeconomic developments, and regulation.
  • The effect in financial markets of High Frequency Trading (HFT) and the optimal structure of competing exchanges.
  • The interaction of the market structure of interbank markets and loan and deposit markets, and implications for central bank policy.
  • The impact of resolution methods on the structure of the banking firm (e.g. SPOE vs MPOE resolution strategies).
  • The impact of the reform of banking structure (Dodd Frank, Liikanen, Vickers) on the provision of market liquidity.
  • The interaction of capital, liquidity and transparency requirements on the banking firm.
  • The potential effects of the post crisis increase in concentration in retail markets.
  • How does the ownership structure of banks effect competition in the market?
  • The interaction between new entrants, such as Fintech providers, established banks and the regulatory implications stemming from this.


IESE Professor Xavier Vives will be Academic Director of the program. He will lead the initiative alongside other IESE professors and an international network of distinguished banking scholars.


IESE Dean Franz Heukamp points out that “the generation of new ideas in a critical industry such as banking is indispensable for a dynamic society and the proper development of large, established companies and entrepreneurial ventures as well. With the support of Citi, we will put together a group of world class scholars thinking about this very important industry”.


Citi’s Global Head of Markets & Securities Services, Paco Ybarra, explains that “we are delighted at Citi to support IESE in the production of world class research and insights on the future of the banking industry. Building an informed dialogue between academics, regulators and the banking industry is critical to enhancing trust in the financial services sector and in shaping banks that truly enable growth and progress.”

IESE’s MBA is first in Europe and sixth in the World, according to The Economist

  • IESE Business School is the only non-U.S. school in the top ten of The Economist’s 2018 WhichMBA? Full-time ranking
  • The ranking highlights the potential to network and new career opportunities generated on IESE´s MBA program

IESE Business School´s MBA has been ranked the top program in Europe and sixth in the world, according to The Economist´s WhichMBA? 2018 Full-time ranking, released today. IESE is the only non-U.S. school in the top ten. The top five spots are occupied by the American schools Booth (Chicago), Northwestern (Kellogg), Harvard, Wharton (Pennsylvania) and Stanford. After IESE at no.6, the top ten is rounded out by Ross (Michigan), UCLA Anderson, Darden (Virginia) and Columbia.

The British magazine´s ranking highlights the new career opportunities that are opened for IESE Business School MBA students. The school´s Career Development Center organizes numerous activities, resources, support, career forums and fairs throughout the year for students. Earlier this week, some 700 MBA students and 48 companies took part in IESE´s largest ever career forum.


As well as career opportunities, the potential to network, especially among the school´s active international alumni community (IESE is the no.1 ranked school for the number of its international alumni chapters), also stood out as key to IESE´s good position.


The Economist ranking is based on a combination of surveys of MBA students and alumni, as well as data provided by the various schools. The survey gives special weight to four factors: the creation of new career opportunities, personal development opportunities and educational experience, salary enhancement and networking.


When IESE Business School launched its full-time MBA program in 1964, under the guidance of the Harvard-IESE committee, it was Europe’s first two-year MBA program. Since its inception, it has continually innovated. In 1980, the program became the first bilingual MBA program in the world. Today, the program offers students a unique international experience, with roughly 85% of students coming from abroad, as well as the option to study intensive overseas modules in New York, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Nairobi. For the first time, the school is now also giving students the option of completing the full-time MBA in either 15 or 19 months, offering even greater flexibility and choice to participants.


Link to full ranking:

IESE Hosts Its Largest-Ever Career Forum

  • Connecting some 700 students with 48 companies

IESE’s Career Forum this week connects more talented students to more recruiting companies in more varied sectors that ever before.

“This is the biggest Career Forum in our history,” said Patrik Wallen, executive director of IESE’s Career Development Center. Some 700 students have the opportunity to connect with four dozen companies during the three-day event on the Barcelona campus.

The recruiting companies range from large consulting firms to leading investment banks to cutting-edge tech companies to top-brand retailers.

Events like the Career Forum ensure that students find the professional opportunities they are looking for post-MBA. According to figures on the MBA Class of 2018, 94% of students have at least one full-time job offer within three months of competing their degree. The sectors they went to work in were consulting (31%), industry (30%), technology (20%) and finance (19%).

The forum includes corporate presentations, networking events, coffee chats and interviews, in addition to a fair with booths of dozens of companies.

More Career Events in the Pipeline

But it’s only the start of this year’s recruiting events organized by the Career Development Center.

On Nov. 3, IESE will also host on its Barcelona campus the Asia Career Forum, organized together with the London Business School, HEC and Rotterdam School of Management. The event matches talented MBAs interested in Asia from four top European business schools, with companies looking to hire for the region.

And in February, IESE will hold another Career Forum on campus.

Reinventing the Classroom

  • New virtual classroom connects up to 80 participants at a time for discussion and interaction

IESE and audiovisual technology company Barco have launched a new generation classroom that combines the interaction of a physical classroom and the convenience of virtual learning.

This new space on the Barcelona campus allows up to 80 people to connect in synchronized sessions from anywhere in the world, in high quality and with an audiovisual production similar to a football match. This recreates the face-to-face learning experience students can have in on-campus sessions, and adds features that are only possible thanks to the technology.

“The virtual classroom allows us to overcome some of the more common obstacles in executive learning: namely, the time and expense involved with travel, which limits the use of face-to face learning,” says Giuseppe Auricchio, director of IESE’s Learning Innovation Unit. “With the virtual classroom, we can now extend learning experiences over time, by blending face-to-face with online learning.”

To take part, students need only to connect via their browser and a computer with a camera and speakers. In exchange, they are submerged in a comprehensive classroom experience in which they can see and converse with the professor and their fellow classmates, take part in surveys and shared exercises, and save content from the whiteboard.

Benefits for Participants as Well as Professors

IESE has enhanced the advantages offered by the technology of this classroom with sophisticated audio-visual production (four person-operated cameras), ensuring high-quality interactions and avoiding the mental disengagement common in other virtual learning formats.

“It has been shown that attention levels in courses and webinars offered with a fixed camera and without production decline after a few minutes. Many students combine the screen with other activities and abandon the sessions,” Auricchio says.

Professors also benefit from this technology, given that they see all the participants of the virtual classroom close-up and have highly intuitive tools to interact with them. Among other features, they have statistics and surveys available and the possibility of posting documents on an electronic board.

“The surprise is that we’re participating in a conversation, and that conversation is flowing, that conversation is natural, that conversation involves many different people, and these are all the characteristics of an interaction that we would expect only from a face-to-face experience,” says professor Evgeny Káganer.

IESE is planning to use this new technology in many of its programs to reinforce the face-to-face teaching that goes on at its five campuses.

According to Dean Franz Heukamp, “At IESE we have always emphasized the case-study method, centered around the discussion of business problems. We believe that this methodology must continue being the focus of our way of teaching and learning. But we want to make the most of the potential offered by digitalization to meet the ever-present demands in new ways. Technologies like the virtual classroom are a major step forward in providing continuity to physical participation in the classroom.”

A Mosaic of Learning Methodologies, Formats and Contexts

The virtual classroom is just one more element within the IESE learning ecosystem called mosaic, which combines distinct methodologies, formats and contexts to optimize learning.

The mosaic of methodologies, contexts and formats allows IESE to design programs depending on learning objectives, the participant location and the best channel.

According to this vision, executive education can be individual, peer to peer or in a team. The methodologies used vary in each situation: for example, the case-study method works better in a team, but mentoring can only be done peer to peer.

The context also conditions the type of education that can be imparted. The IESE ecosystem includes five basic contexts:

  • Case classroom: classroom in the form of an amphitheater, central to discussion methodologies.
  • Flat classroom: flexible modular space, designed for active and game methodologies.
  • Team rooms: designed for collaborative work in small groups or for personal feedback and coaching sessions.
  • Virtual campus: information center for online access to all the resources and to interact with professors and students.
  • Virtual classroom: new generation classroom that reinvents the simultaneous virtual learning experience.

For more information see

Global Executive MBA Ranked Top 10 Worldwide By FT

  • Highlights quality of participants, global scope and CSR focus

IESE’s Global Executive MBA is among the top 10 programs in the world, according to the Financial TimesExecutive MBA Ranking for 2018. IESE takes ninth position overall, and fourth in Europe.

The strong result of IESE’s Global Executive MBA in the ranking was due to the quality of its participantsand the international scope of the program, which spans four major world cities (Barcelona, New York, Silicon Valley and Shanghai) on four continents.

This year the FT also included a new category in its ranking – that for corporate social responsibility, which looks at course content dedicated to CSR, ethics, and social and environmental issues. IESE ranked first in the world on this measure, according to the FT.

For Julia Prats, associate dean of IESE’s MBA programs, “Ranking first for corporate social responsibility is recognition of the importance we place on making sure participants understand how every business decision, however small, must include a consideration of how it will impact people and wider society.”

The IESE Global Executive MBA is an international blended program with two tracks, one starting in New York and one in Barcelona. It combines residential learning on-campus with online learning to better match the demands of today´s business executives. It is truly international because it is taught in five strategic business hubs across the globe, which helps to foster a global mindset in participants, and helps them learn and experience how personal relationships in business are directed in each region.

The participants in the program come from more than two dozen different countries, are on average 40 years old and have around 15 years of professional experience. Approximately 35% are women.

This result comes after the FT also ranked the school first in the world for Executive Education, which IESE reached for the fourth consecutive year in 2018.

For more information, see the FT’s full ranking.

New research shows why the human brain struggles with “plenty of choice”

New research developed by Elena Reutskaja, an Associate Professor of Marketing at IESE Business School and colleagues from other universities uncover how human brains work when having to make a choice among an array of different options. For example, how, when doing our shopping, we choose from 25 or 30 different types of milk or 50 varieties of ice-cream.

The research, published on Monday in Nature Human Behaviour, shows that although the human  brain finds the concept of choice – or even an abundance of choice – attractive, too many options make it difficult for the brain to process, evaluate and compare these choices. This phenomenon is called choice overload and it explains why we often walk away from a well-stocked shop or supermarket empty-handed.

Reutskaja says: “In Western cultures we like to have choice, we enjoy freedom and choice makes us feel that we are in control of our decisions.”

Beyond a certain point, however, that choice becomes overwhelming and decision-making is impaired.

“If given too many alternatives people can delay decisions, and this might have serious consequences.  For example, when a person must undergo medical treatment but has to choose where to do it from a set of different hospitals. The decision might be delayed as a consequence, which could mean putting their health at risk.”

These findings have implications for a broad spectrum of sectors and fields: from businesses (retail) and policy-making (pension schemes), to web design (how to present many options on the screen), education (choosing a school for your kid) and healthcare (choosing hospitals on the NHS website).

The Human Brain at Work

The paper, “Choice overload reduces neural signatures of choice set value in dorsal striatum and anterior cingulate cortex,” examines the processes that happen in the human brain when it assesses different sets of options.

The researchers found that the brain made “mini calculations” weighing potential rewards against the costs of having to choose from these options – costs being the time and energy spent choosing A over B.

“We found that activity in some areas of the brain reflect the “cost of choice”. These costs increase with the number of options and so does the activity in those areas, “Reutskaja explains. 

Reutskaja and her colleagues used MRI scanners to study brain activity of people choosing from different-sized assortments. They found two regions that encode choice overload: the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), where the potential costs and benefits of decisions are weighed, and the striatum, a part of the brain responsible for determining reward. They found that both areas were more active when presented with an “intermediate” number of choices.

Participants were given sets of 6, 12 and 24 options. The researchers observed that for both sets of 6 and 24, brain activity in striatum and ACC was lower than when given 12 options.

 “Too few or too many choices generate less value for people than sets with an intermediate number of options – in this case, 12. These medium-sized sets, however, have enough variety to satisfy our needs but they are not too “costly” for our decision-making process,” explains Reutskaja. “12 is not a magic number though. An optimal number of choices for our brain depends on many factors such as the context, personal characteristics, type of products we choose and so on.”

Critically, the researchers found that when a preferred alternative was added to the choice set, the human brain was automatically able to handle more alternatives and not feel overwhelmed. This suggests that even when confronted with too many options, decision-making can still be simplified.

Reutskaja and colleagues’ research offers new and important insights into the internal mechanisms that are activated during decision-making.

It clearly points to the importance of capping the number of options available in terms of the perceived value to the decision-maker.

Only a starting point

Prior research into choice overload has traditionally been undertaken using participant surveys and self-reporting mechanisms.

This new paper leverages inter-disciplinary collaboration, incorporating neuroscientific methodology, to shed greater light on the complex neural processes involved in decision-making and opens the door to future research in this fascinating area. For business leaders, public sector leaders and policy-makers, these findings will have real value in terms of optimising services and offerings.  

About the authors

The paper titled “Choice overload reduces neural signatures of choice set value in dorsal striatum and anterior cingulate cortex,” was written by IESE Business School Associate Professor of Marketing Elena Reutskaja; Colin Camerer, the Robert Kirby Professor of Behavioral Finance and Economics at the California Institute of Technology; Axel Lindner, Group Leader of the Neurobiology of Decision Lab, Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research; Rosemarie Nagel, an ICREA Research Professor at Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Barcelona GSE Research; Professor; and Richard A. Andersen, the James G. Boswell Professor of Neuroscience at California Institute of Technology.