Day 45, an unusual exam…

320 more days to go…

6 exams in 6 days is what I have been faced with here at IE Business School, well… I have completed 4 already and one of these exams was absolutely an experience of a lifetime so despite that I should be sitting and preparing for my quant exam I feel that I must share this experience while it is still fresh…

I am not sure about you, but when I think of exams, I think of a large hall so quiet that you would hear the echo of your own breathing-if you dare to breath that is…, individual chairs and a small table in front of each chair which only has space enough for a an A4 and a pen and if you are lucky perhaps a bottle of water or a calculator.

As if the environment wasn’t scary enough, you would also have to deal with the pressure of miserable invigilators walking around and making you more nervous by suddenly appearing behind your back and making you forget everything that you had learned during the whole course! (or memorized the night before exam…)

On top of that, if you are clumsy like me and dropped your pen or made a stretch because you felt that your blood circulation had simply stopped by sitting on an uncomfortable chair for hours….then it would automatically be assumed that you were trying to cheat, so you would have the eyes of all invigilators on you during the entire exam which sometimes could last up to 4 hours!

Sound familiar?

Sad right?

Day before yesterday I had an exam which changed my whole perceptions of exams as it was absolutely nothing like what I just described! I actually had fun! Yes, you read correctly and I have not lost my mind…I had fun having an exam!!

This is how things are done here at IE…well, at least in my Information System class…

I recently had an exam in Information Systems,  which I must add…has been the BEST class I have had in my life! A little background to this class…

The class was taught by Enrique Dans who happens to be quite a public figure… a successful blogger with nearly 40.000 active readers and a public profile on facebook that is being followed by nearly 20.000 fans who actively post comments on his page.

A tall, dark, charming, typical looking spanol… hmmm maybe not typical looking… in fact he is anything BUT typical.

He started our fist class by playing a small video cut of the Matrix…the part where the red and the blue pill is being offered to ‘the one’. After really getting us into the mood of the whole Matrix thing, he gave us two choices…

“You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes…. Remember…all I am offering is the truth, nothing more…

The whole introduction was so impressive that I think the class would actually take the red pill if it was offered for real. As you can guess, we chose the red pill…

…and with the curiosity that he had stimulated in our minds we started learning about the world of information systems and technologies. I can say for a fact that I have never learned as much as I learned in this class. I wouldn’t call my self a geek (although my good friend might disagree) but I am not totally technology adverse either. Regardless of this, I was introduced to a world that I knew nothing about before. Taking the red pill has been the best thing I have ever done and I didn’t even count the calorie!!

As you might have guessed by now, the great exam experience was also held by Enrique. To me it was an illustration of how a person can think completely different and create ideas that really work. It does not have to be a new innovation or a technology breakthrough. Just a simple and great idea which makes you wonder why everyone is not doing the same??

The exam was a case study about an online company that was set up by two MBA alumnus from IE Business School. We were required to analyze the case and answer some interesting questions.

To my great surprise (or shock rather!), we were asked to bring our laptops and to ensure that we had connection to the internet!! Great or what??

Also, the questions was not given to us on a boring piece of paper and there was no one announcing ‘DO NOT turn the exam paper until we say you can’.  I mean seriously…what’s all the fuss about turning the page anyway?

Anyways, so instead of an exam paper the actual ‘exam’ was shown to us on power point slides and an explanation of the case and the questions was provided by Enrique. Enrique had also set up an email account specifically for this exam and the page (inbox) was up on the power slide.

So, once we had submitted our exam (by sending an email) we would be able to see our name  in the inbox which was basically the confirmation of our exam submission. Simple!

Great start…having your own laptop with connection to the internet, having an explanation of the company’s background by the professor… and last… but TRULY not least…knock knock!! who is there??


….visiting us at our exam and answering questions about their company (although they were very smart not to reveal any exam related questions)

This was absolutely AMAZING!!!  Everyone in the class were so impressed by what had been arranged for us and it was such a great start to our exam. For the first time in my life, I had no ‘exam feeling’ what so ever and I was really relaxed when I was answering the questions…ideas were flowing into my head so fast that I could not keep up with the typing… I also agree with the majority in the class who felt that seeing the founders of the company made a great difference to how they actually answered the questions. We were no longer just answering an ‘exam question’. We were consulting a real company set up by real people just like us. MBA students from IE…

24 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Daniel on July 1, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    I wish my next exam was with your professor.


  2. Posted by arnab on July 2, 2010 at 1:11 am

    very well articulated!! Enrique and IE rocks!! so glad to be a part of this experience…


  3. Posted by Charles on July 2, 2010 at 1:23 am

    Thank you for this post! I love reading MBA blogs but hadn’t really found any that discussed IE so it’s refreshing to see yours. Professor Dans sounds like an amazing guy. Merçi encore, au revoir.


  4. Posted by sherry bolor on July 2, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Wooow sounds amazing, I checked out your professor Dans, but unfortunately all his stuff are in Spanish but I wish he was my professor during my MBA and IE sounds amazing.
    Love reading your blog, specially this post…good luck with the rest of your MBA!!


  5. Posted by Samira on July 2, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    I just can say I envy you, I am always afraid of exam papers and I have never had such an experience and when I read this, it seems like a dream, say thank you to your professor, hope one day all the exams become as sweet as urs 🙂


  6. Posted by farideh on July 2, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Excellent choice!


  7. You have been examined by a complete IT “tecnico-less” (as we call this blogger), so imagine what you have learned in this class… This is just a mere critic of Microsoft products and technologies and an Apple-funboy and Google-er.
    Just a charlatan, living of talking about IT things, without any knowledge at all of what is behind the real IT aspects of the companies.
    Claim back your 40.000€ or more from IE, just to meet this tecnico-less charlatan.


    • Myname, I am sorry to hear that you feel this way…
      I don’t know what makes you write such a comment as everyone I know would most definitely disagree with you… but then again, I guess one cannot possibly keep everyone pleased!

      You don’t need to be Eisenstein to know what electricity can be used for…right? In which case, you don’t need to be a complete techno freako to know what benefits technology can provide and how to utilize the possibilities.

      In fact, I think the real art is in exploiting the possibilities and being able to find new opportunities where others fail, not to dig deep into the root of everything without even knowing what the root is good for!

      In any case, I can assure you that what I have learned in his class, I will put into practice very soon… and it will be worth much more than you could ever imagine… I might even motivate you to take a few of his classes yourself 😉


  8. Parisa, thanks a lot for your post. Extremely motivating! However, let me tell you I’m not the one to “blame” for the experience: your group is truly great! Extremely diverse, with a positive attitude from the very beginning, easy-going, clear, direct, communicative… the type of group where any professor would feel compelled to try new stuff, put together new experiences or launch new initiatives. It was a real pleasure to teach this course!


    • The pleasure was all ours…
      No doubt that A3 is one of the best classes 😉 but you sure did bring out the best in all of us. Thank you!


  9. Posted by Luciano on July 7, 2010 at 5:36 pm


    I am a former student from IMBA 2007, arrived here through EDans twitter.
    I agree with you, the guy is incredible.
    One thing about the red pill. Enrique started our class the same way in February 2007, I guess he did not have the time to change the ppt….


  10. Posted by Guerson Meyer on July 7, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    This is without doubt MBA 2.0!
    Best class ever!


  11. Posted by Shovik Banerjee on July 7, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Wow , now that was quite an interesting read ! I have been through quite a few examinations in the Indian education system and none have been like this ! I hope some of my exams at B school ( I am currently pursuing an MBA at IIM Bangalore after a couple of years of working with Microsoft ) are going to be like this. This is truely quite innovative , perhaps I can get a taste of the IE experience for a term during exchange !


  12. Posted by Abijith on July 7, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    I am planning to take up my MBA and came across this post through a friend. Its truly unbelievable , its good to see technology taking such a vital role. I am really impressed with the university , its definitely a paradigm shift for me to see the kind of teaching here. I will definitely consider applying to this university .


  13. Posted by Tamal on July 7, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Parisa, I got to say this is quite exciting! I have worked with Oracle earlier and right now doing my MBA right now at Middlesex University in London. We did have a real case study in the exams (in the sense it was about a start-up which we got to visit couple of weeks before the exam!). But this sounds even more dramatic! I would love to have an exam like that!

    Best Wishes,


  14. Tremendamente, deliciosoo….


  15. Posted by Arindam on July 7, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Amazing post !!
    Never thought that MBA can be so interesting and so real. The kind of feedback I had from some of my frnds studying in some other premier management institutions is completely different, where people are more interested in gaining bookish knowledge sometimes even forcefully sidelined to get the real business world experience. But IE seems to be a college with difference. I heard from others about IE’s famous case-study based approach towards management education and that is why as an MBA aspirant I have always kept IE among those colleges that top my wishlist. But this kind of approach to an exam is really unbelievable and it shows how serious IE is about to impregnate its wish to discover the power of entrepreneurial thinking in its students.
    Another reason this post exceptionally compelled me to comment on it is its subject matter Information Systems. Presently as I am working with Oracle Corporation as a Senior Software Engineer, my inclination towards Information Systems does not comes as surprise. Additionally I want to be in the hi tech industry in the product management side. So this kind of teaching approach to my one of the most favorite subjects is literally titillating my willingness to study MBA in IE.
    I wish I can be a part of this class !!
    Just few days back I took my GMAT and scored 740. I am seriously considering to be part of the IE fraternity. I hope I shall be able to prove myself to be capable enough to be part of the IE family.
    Also, thanks for your nice post. It is only from the students from whom outsiders like me can try to assess any program. And you did just that!


  16. Posted by manodipto on July 8, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Sounds interesting… never had such an exam but will definitely want to be a part of it… IE sounds like a dream school for any MBA aspirant…
    Thanks for such a nice composition, almost like I was in the class with you guys…


  17. Posted by Gaurav on July 8, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I am currently doing my masters in computer science and planning to take up my MBA some time in the future. I am really impressed with IE, I wish we had things like these here…


  18. […] The day of the exam, Parisa changed her own perceptions of a typical exam as she actually  ”had fun having an exam!!”  They had to analyze some questions about ”an online company that was set up by two MBA alumnus from IE Business School” and submit their answers through an uncommon and very interactive way.  Parisa comments in her blog post “Day 45, an unusual exam…” […]


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