Travel broadens the mind - doing an MBA in Spain

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The Independent Culture
Mark Paviour is an Oxford graduate in English who studied an MBA at IESE in Barcelona, in 1989-91. He had been working in the City for six years for Saudi International Bank, an affiliate of JP Morgan, and then Goldman Sachs. Since his MBA he has worked for the head-hunters, Egon Zehnder International.

"Because I had trained with JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, the concept of the MBA was familiar. I wanted to retool myself because I was going down a route I wasn't sure I necessarily wanted to pursue long-term. I decided my business education to date had been US-oriented. Therefore I was looking for more of a European sensibility. The reason for IESE was that I looked coldly at the world and thought gaining exposure to another culture would be a very beneficial thing. If one considers globalisation and what that means, a multicultural perspective is very important. That's why I went for Spain, even though I didn't speak a word of Spanish.

IESE is a very professional MBA school. It is the best in Spain and a really well hidden secret in Europe. The opportunity to spend two years with an international peer group on a well-structured programme in another country and gaining another language was an enormously enriching experience. Professionally, you walk out with a toolkit, which is what the MBA gives you. But there was something which many of the non-Spanish speakers took from it which was about operating in another country. Barcelona is a fantastic city and the Catalans are very interesting people.

I couldn't have got the job with Egon Zehnder without a second degree. For me, that second degree was my MBA. Joining an international peer group, competing with them on the programme and performing well, building up a new life in a foreign country, and so on, gives you greater confidence. You feel like you've really achieved something."

Lucy Hodges