I first learned about IE when they visited Manila during one of the MBA tours in November 2008, I attended the event because ever since I was at the University I always contemplated taking up a master’s program. However, I was just not sure which particular specialization or where. At that time as well, I had been barely working for half a year at Standard Chartered Bank. I heard the IE presentation and from that time I became active in attending MBA tours to see which schools there were and who was offering scholarships for Filipinos. I was also aggressive in school searches, reading MBA blogs and discerning rankings. In February 2010, I started to finetune my school search; literally there was a universe of schools offering just about everything. I applied to three schools, two in Europe, and one in Australia. I was especially leaning towards the European schools because I liked the concise method of teaching- the fact that you can finish in a year, as I do not want to be away from the job market too long and at the same time I wanted to learn a new language as well. I got admitted into all three schools, so the next question was affordability. Business schools do not come cheap and although I had savings, it was not enough to cover my cost of living expenses. All three schools offered me scholarships. With all of them seemingly on the same ground, I just had the rankings as a differentiating factor. Thanks to Financial Times 2010 MBA Rankings, which has been my bible and I know for most of my classmates too -based on what I have heard-, IE was tier one, while the other two were second tier. Still, I could not decide, so I searched for Filipino alumni, and they were so helpful and honest. At last! I had decided, IE it was. After accepting the offer, the first thing I wanted to do was to meet my future classmates. Thanks to social networks, particularly Facebook, I met people who were going to change my next year. Through the MIM February 2011 Group as well, I met my then future roommates, so flat searching from which I heard was the hardest became fun and easy.
In December 2010, I said goodbye to Standard Chartered Bank and my officemates there who had already become my family. This was the first time that I would be leaving my family as well as friends that I grew up with. I literally packed my life in two thirty kilogram suitcases and took a nineteen-hour flight to Madrid clad in my newly bought winter clothes, tagging along my Rosetta Stone. The next thing I knew, January 26, 2011 I was knocking on the door of my classmate’s -who I met, thanks to the Facebook group- apartment as I still did not have a place to live as she opened the door- I breathed in. This was it!
Hanna is a current MIM Student