Brook Hardwick Associate Director IESE Global Executive MBA

What do you tend to notice first when meeting a candidate?

I pay close attention to their motivation for taking on a large personal challenge. Why are they doing it? What do they hope to gain? Are they life-long learners who are always looking to improve themselves, do things better, absorb more knowledge? Those who are truly motivated communicate this easily and immediately through their enthusiasm. A part-time program where a participant needs to be on at work, home and at school requires a special dedication that only those who are convinced of the value can take on.

Any advice you can give on making a good first impression?

I would encourage you to send your CV, let me familiarize myself with your background, and then be yourself. We are looking for real people with real and diverse experiences and eagerness to share. I am accustomed to seeing high-achievers, but those who are able to connect on a personal level and explain where they are in unassuming layman's terms are normally the ones that have the best experiences in the program.

Any typical questions you could offer advice on? Do's and don'ts?

I find that candidates often have questions about company support - when to get their company involved, how to present the idea to their employers etc. My advice would be, wherever possible, to get the company on board as soon as possible. Find someone you can trust (a mentor, a supervisor, a client) who will support your studies, at least in terms of allowing you the time away for the residential sessions. Start empowering your employees to deal with issues that may come up while you are away. Make building a stronger support network at work part of your preparation for the MBA.

Your company will have to feel like your partner in this process so focus the argument for pursing your MBA not just in terms of the lifelong network YOU will be creating for yourself, but also the immediate impact that the program will have on your ability to view business issues, read the bottom line, see things from a global perspective, and help your company to grow.

All candidates for the Global Executive MBA are assigned an Admissions mentor who is by their side as they explore the ins and outs of the Global Executive MBA, and how it will fit in their personal and professional lives. No matter how typical the question, it will always receive a personalized response so candidates should take advantage of this resource!

In what way can prospective students also play the role of client of your program?

Let us make applying for the program easy for you. We try to cater to the needs of busy executives by handing you the information that you need on a silver platter. We will even help you to present the program's advantages to your employers if you are still working to get corporate support for participation in the program. If you show us that you are motivated to do the program and that you have what it takes to do it well, we will work with you to make your participation feasible.

How important is the GMAT for an EMBA candidate?

The answer to the GMAT dilemma is it depends. If, for example, you have an engineering background and have been reading the P and Ls and doing cost analysis for your company for the past 10 years, you may not even be required to take the GMAT. We would require the GMAT in cases where there is neither an academic background in quantitative areas or on the job quantitative analysis. The GMAT provides us with the assurance that a participant has the ability to keep up with the academic rigor of a highly analytical program. For those without a quantitative or analytical professional background, a solid showing in the quantitative areas of the GMAT is important. It demonstrates ability to keep up in a fast paced and analytical learning environment.

Any 'insider' tips you might be able to offer our readers?

It may seem like common sense, but keep in mind that we are looking for your candidature to demonstrate the following 3 things:

1) Ability to get through the academic rigor of the program: Some participants have a steeper learning curve than others but all are there to learn. A fast paced learning environment requires that all participants have the proven ability to master classroom learning, digest advanced arguments and add to the debate.

2) A proven professional track record: Our participants bring an impressive network, industry knowledge and a portfolio of diverse experiences into the classroom. Case discussions start on the executive level, assuming that participants are ready to study business from the CEO perspective. A highly interactive learning environment builds on the experience of every participant.

3) Future Potential: We are prepared to partner with our participants as they move forward in their careers. While the program helps to bring past experiences into perspective and solidify skills that our participants may already be using, we want to be part of a learning curve and an upward progression. Professionals with a plan who know how the MBA is going to help them grow into future challenges make the best  participants.

4) Something else... What else can you do? Outside of business, where can you connect? People with initiative who have the motivation to make things happen in all areas of their life create opportunities not just for themselves but for those around them. We aim to help you grow personally as well as professionally and build a dynamic and active network to help you grow in sometimes surprising directions.