Current Master in International Management student Hanna Tantoco speaks about how she handled the preparation for the exams at the end of the first core period.

I was told by my friends and colleagues that business school is the best thing that ever happened to them, that it was the best years of their lives and would definitely advise their friends to try the same. Before coming to IE, I had the icing-on-the-cake image of MIM- Parties, networking events, case studies and of course Madrid! Nothing prepared me for first term.

The two-week pre-programme classes should have given it away- 9 am to 8 pm classes on anything and everything that may matter- cultural studies from the Arab world to Chinese and Japanese society, Communication and Entrepreneurship. A friend once told me to take advantage of the two-week pre-programme classes to explore Madrid, and I regret not listening. After being briefly acquainted with my class seat for the rest of the year, the real ball game began. Each day I met a new professor, in a week I must have been juggling 6 courses at a time. Each with their own demanding requirement, a 20-page case reading, group presentation, research, case papers, assignments et al. Slowly, my laptop became my best friend, the library the best place in the world, my groupmates my lunch, dinner (or midnight snack) buddies and sleep my enemy. The classroom is the court, where the professor is the judge and each one a witness to their own case. My class of 54, made up of 27 nationalities of diverse professional backgrounds came to the court everyday prepared with their coat of arms and aces. Despite seemingly attacking each other from time to time, during the 10-minute breaks, we would huddle in the vending machines –our source of nourishment and talk about how we were surviving and the plans for the weekend. Take note, it was still Monday. By the middle of the term, I experienced my first b-school finals. I did not know what to expect or how to start. Back in the university, I studied alone, but now I appreciate how we individually nourish our minds and share our thoughts to a group- where you discover that the knowledge you held on for so long as a dogma were a complete fallacy. Then you learn.

I say the weekend before the finals was the toughest- a part of you want to rest, drink a cup of tea and welcome the Spring breeze or go on a shopping spree to catch the last of the Winter rebajas, but you turn to your agenda and see that it is full- full of revision and tutoring sessions with your classmates. I had three tests the week that followed- Quantitative Methods, Financial Accounting and Financial Management (mid-term exam). After the three-day gruelling and torturous exam days, my now zombie-like body just wants to sleep and hopefully regain strength, but again I see my phone beeping, and I had an appointment, but this time I had an appointment to party. I look at the mirror and smirk to myself, I’m in!

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