International MBA - The Program

An MBA Out Of the Ordinary
WORLDWIDE Global MBA | QS 2018 Global MBA in Europe | Financial Times 2018


The International MBA is a one-year intensive MBA Program that takes place in Madrid. Every year, we bring in students from over 75 nationalities and push them to succeed as they experience one of the most intense yet gratifying years of their lives.

The program is divided into 2 periods, it starts with a Core Business Period which is complemented with 5 disruptive Lab options, and once you are ready to turn knowledge into action, the Elective Period begins where you will have the opportunity to sharpen your career focus by choosing a cluster of courses with over ten Concentration areas.

Our International MBA works like a hothouse: we deliver an environment designed for those who can think outside the box and challenge conventional thinking. In just one year, the program helps you act upon your ideas, providing ongoing feedback that focuses on you and your individual career aspirations.

Alongside this, the program emphasizes the use of important universal skills, such as critical thinking, communication, interpersonal skills and collaboration.

The International MBA Structure

Not a one-size-fits-all approach.

Around 45% of the program content can be tailored to your needs. During the Core Business Period, you will choose between the Business Impact Lab, Start-up Lab, Tech Lab, Social Impact Lab and the International MBA in Practice. You will continue to customize your program during the Elective Period where we now offer the possibility to choose a Concentration area. This means that besides acquiring a 360º vision of the business world, you will have the opportunity to sharpen your career focus by choosing a cluster of courses from a specific academic area. The third and final customizable part of the program is International MBA Unplugged, which allows you to extend the length of the program.




































Get to know more about our International MBA placement in international rankings.

  • 6th

    International MBA

    Forbes 2019
  • 3rd

    Best Business School

  • 6th

    for Entrepreneurship

    BLOOMBERG 2018
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  • Not Your Average
    Core Period

    During the streamlined Core Period, you will acquire the business acumen of a regular MBA degree. In addition, subjects such as Innovation and Design, Critical Management Thinking, and Entrepreneurship, give you an edge over other MBA graduates.

    1. Developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset

    • Entrepreneurial Mindset

    • Entrepreneurial Venturing

    2. Mastering Business Fundamentals

    • Financial Accounting

    • Managerial Economics

    • Managerial Decision Making

    • Managerial Accounting

    • Corporate Finance

    3. Integrating General Management Perspectives

    • Marketing Management

    • Leading People & Teams

    • Strategy

    • Operations Management

    4. Thinking Beyond Business

    • Innovation in a Digital World

    • Critical Management Thinking

    • Business, Government & Society

  • Not Your Average

    During the Core Period, students can choose from one of our four labs or the International MBA in practice. Our highly innovative Labs mark a disruptive approach to business education by fostering integrative thinking and experiential, project-based learning. The idea is to enrich the core curriculum with uniquely packaged, relevant and hands-on material not commonly found in an MBA curriculum.

    In the Business Impact Lab, you focus on developing your integrative skills and cross-disciplinary management perspective to be ready to create real impact from day one in any organization you will join post-mba. You will acquire the tools needed to question the status quo and to implement transformational ideas in a corporate setting via the modules within the following knowledge streams:

    • Corporate innovation
    • Digital transformation
    • Effective execution
    • Critical management competencies
    • Corporate challenge

    In the Start-up Lab, you will be immersed in an incubator-like atmosphere together with other peers who want to start their own venture. Real entrepreneurs know that a start-up consists of a series of experiments, which lead to pivot, perish or persevere iterations. In this lab, we prepare you for this challenge in a handson, inspiring and safe learning environment that serves as a catalyst to help you excel later in the venture lab or in launching your start-up after the program. This carefully designed experience is taught through the following knowledge streams:

    • Start-up mechanics & entrepreneurial readiness
    • From zero to product: towards an mvp
    • Mastering the entrepreneur’s toolkit
    • Growth hacking & generating market traction
    • From bootstrapping to series a funding
    • Navigating the start-up ecosystem

    In the Social Impact Lab, you will gain hands on international consulting experience while also developing personal and professional leadership skills. This option is powered by emzingo, a company founded by imba students in 2008, whose mission is to provide individuals with transformational leadership experiences that focus on creating positive social impact..

    During the five intense weeks of the TechLab you will sharpen your business skills as you immerse yourself in the world of technology. After completing the TechLab not only will you be able to have high-level conversations about technology as it relates to business, but also truly be able to put the latest technology solutions into practice. You will discover the most disruptive trends and apply them to strategic decision making.

    The TechLab will cover these critical aspects:

    • Hack the gap: how new technologies work (and what’s behind them)
    • Scrap the cycle: real life examples of these new technologies
    • Cut the edge: advanced development and implementation of technology products
    • Connect the dots: analysis and interpretation of the data and patterns that predict future technology trends

    In the International MBA In Practice, you will have the opportunity to participate in a minimum 7-week internship. This option has been created for those who wish to gain specific hands-on experience that will help spark a desired career change in an industry, sector, region and/or role. Students may perform an internship anywhere in the world, earning credit towards their IMBA for the associated academic deliverables.

  • Elective

    Do you want to keep studying or do you want to act?
    Do you want to keep working on an inner transformation or do you want to keep exploring? During the elective period, you’ll find:
    •  Initial choice of 120 Electives Courses: Cluster your electives based on your individual interests and career focus.
    • International MBA Concentrations: Complement your MBA core courses and pave the way to your dream job. Students have the possibility to choose between the following Concentration areas:
      General Management
      Family Business
      Organization Behavior & Leadership Skills
      Technology & Innovation
    •  Long Exchanges: Complement your learning at one of our partner schools around the world for 3 months. Please keep in mind that the January intake offers a greater variety of exchange options to date.
    • Global Network Week or Short Exchanges: Learn sideby-side with students from other elite business schools as part of the Global Network for Advanced Management convened by Yale University (only available for the January intake) or of a short exchange of one week. Past trips included Singapore, Brazil, China, South Africa and the USA.
    • Social Innovation Trek: Undergo an inspirational leadership development program for one week while gaining consulting experience in South Africa.
    • Venture Lab: The Venture Lab provides you with the opportunity to take your degree project, or a business opportunity you have envisioned, to the next level by making your project investment ready. Among other things, Venture Lab teams receive training, mentorship and access to IE’s Area 31 co-working space.
    • After the Integrative Exercise, students can apply for IMBA Unplugged, which includes, long exchange options, a postacademic internship or dual-degree and 1+1 options at Yale, MIT, Brown, Tufts and other IE master programs depending on the intake.
  • Additional Program Elements


    The pre-program will be available online about one month before the program starts. Pre-program courses include Careers, Financial Accounting and Quantitative Methods.

    Spanish Classes

    You have the option to attend a free, four-week intensive Spanish course just before the program, and you may continue with optional language classes throughout the program.

    IMBA Unplugged

    After the Integrative Exercise, students can apply for IMBA Unplugged, which includes, long exchange options, a postacademic internship or dual-degree and 1+1 options at Yale, MIT, Brown, Tufts and other IE master programs depending on the intake.

    Integrative Exercise

    Your learning culminates in a final Integrative Exercise in front of a faculty jury. You may choose between a final case study, an Impact Project with a company or your Venture Lab Project.


To focus on your individual career aspirations, you will be enrolled in a Professional Fitness program once a week, mainly during the Core Period. Professional Fitness contains two unique elements: Career Fitness and Behavioral Fitness. These two elements are vital to work on your post-graduation plans from all angles as, besides an effective career strategy, highly developed behaviors and soft skills will further increase your competitiveness in the business world.

Career Fitness

To equip you with the necessary toolkit and career strategy to succeed in an increasingly complex and competitive job market, we developed a unique Career Fitness program. It focuses on a variety of complementary workshops and info sessions to help you understand what you want, design your life and land the job of your dreams.

Behavioral Fitness

The Behavioral Fitness training is designed to turn your time in the International MBA into a “gym” where you practice new and more productive workplace behaviors. It is about transforming yourself, and learning how to lead others to do the same.

No one becomes physically fit by going to the gym for a few days, and no professional should expect to be behaviorally fit by spending a few hours learning about skills like listening, teamwork, or decision making. It takes focus and practice day after day.

Entrepreneurial Thinking

The program is recognized for its focus on entrepreneurship, and for bringing together a truly diverse cohort of individuals. Our out-of-the-ordinary students are unconventional thinkers that have gone through a rigorous admissions process to join our star program. During their time in the program students will discover their shared values and collective strengths as a global community by embracing unconventional thinking.

Entrepreneurial Thinking is the combination of action, passion and vision—values that are necessary for dynamic leaders, whether that means creating a new company or creating change in an existing one. At the end of the program, our students will know how to connect these principles and find the right balance in any situation.

What are entrepreneurial minds like? They…


… seize opportunities
… sacrifice in order to solve problems
… manage risks with discipline


… imagine possibilities
… see business as a fluid and adaptable process
… want to expand their world


… love what they do
… strive for self-actualization
… desire to make a difference

Women in Tech Mentoring Program

We launched a leadership online mentoring program to accelerate our emerging International MBA digital leaders’ development.

During these sessions the mentor, usually executive digital female leaders, acts as a sounding board, catalyst and role model with the objective to train participants in areas such as:

  • Career Planning & Preparation for Target Companies
  • Resume Development
  • Interview Training
  • Networking Skills
  • Professional Use of Social Media Outlets

FAQs about our International MBA

Q: Is the International MBA recognized by the Bologna Agreement?

A: Yes, the International MBA is recognized by the European Framework of Education and students will acquire 90 ECTS credits.

Q: Are there fewer internship opportunities in the September/January intake?

A: No, it will depend on the sector in which you would like to do the internship. Please keep in mind that different sectors have different timings and some of them take summer internships very seriously. You will need to be aware of these deadlines and timings so you know which intake would benefit you most. Take into account that in the September intake the internship during the program will take place approximately between February to April and in the January intake from August to October. There is also the option of doing post academic internships (after the program).

Q: Is it possible to take part in the Venture Lab and also to do an internship?

A: The Academic Department will inform you about all the options available at the beginning of the program. As it is a very intense 1 year program some opportunities will overlap so you will have to decide what your priorities are, what you want to get out of the masters, and what you want to focus on in career and you will need to take decisions that will help you to achieve your goals.

Q: When do I choose my Lab? When do I decide on how I will customize my Elective Period?

A: You will get the chance to choose your Lab during the core period. During the Elective period there are many customization options available (international exchange programs, dual degrees etc.) and so this is something you should start thinking about as soon as you start the program from the Academic Team.

Q: Can I customize my International MBA?

A: Around 45% of the program content can be tailored to your needs. Customizing your program begins with the Lab Period where you will choose between the Business Impact Lab, Start-up Lab,  Tech Lab, Social Impact Lab and the IMBA in Practice. You will continue to customize your program during the Elective Period, where you will have a wide range of options to choose from, such as elective courses focusing on specific trends, exchange programs, internships, the Venture Lab, etc. The third and final customizable part of the program is IMBA Unplugged (for a select number of students) which allows you to extend the length of the program.

Q: Do the same professors teach in the International MBA Spanish track and English track?

A: The faculty is assigned according to functional area not by language tracks or programs, therefore, it will depend on the area they teach but professors tend to be the same in many occasions. Please note that more than 50% of our faculty is bilingual.

Q: How is the September intake different from the January intake?

A: The programs are designed to deliver exactly the same content, meaning it’s the same program for both intakes. The main difference lies in the elective options available. Please make sure you ask your admissions advisor or regional representative about the differences in timings on specific elective options if you have any doubts.


More info

International MBA + Master in Business Analytics and Big Data

Across the business world, a data-driven revolution is emerging.

While this may seem obvious, it is only recently that companies have begun to invest deeply in understanding how to capture value through Big Data and analytics. What companies need are dynamic and specialized professionals from different backgrounds such as business, engineering, technology, economics, mathematics, or applied sciences who are able to identify, collect, analyze, interpret and use data to drive value and innovation.

Discover the Dual Degree!


"IE International MBA was the perfect tool to allow me to make a huge career change. The international students board and the high-class faculty has contributed to my professional growth and professionalism in entrepreneurship in just one year, and as a result I have moved from an oil and gas consultant to a Portfolio Manager of an investment group."
"By being exposed to hundreds of real life situations and issues, the MBA program has equipped me with a holistic view on company functions, which enables me to tackle problems through different angles, better assess the implications of decisions made, and identify key drivers to come up with better rational and sound solutions."
"The saying "Change is the only constant" appears to be more relevant to the current digitally evolving Global market than ever and IMBA through its practical approach prepares the professionals to dexterously deal with the unforeseen hurdles that are part of such a dynamic transformation."
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