María Eugenia Sánchez-Lozano, Alumni of the International MBA, class of 2014, shares her secrets on entering at Imperial Tobacco’s MBA Graduate Program.
How did you find out about this job opportunity?
I found out about Imperial Tobacco’s MBA Graduate Program through the CMC. It was featured in one of the “Call for application” emails that the Career Advisors sent me.
How did the CMC and your IE experience help you during the recruiting process?
- When I found out I would be interviewed by Imperial Tobacco, I told the Career Professional in charge of this opportunity as well as my section’s Career Advisor who emailed back with some tips regarding how to prepare for the interview and provided me with documents to give structure to my preparation and research.
- They also told me how many more students were being interviewed at this stage of the process which gave me a better idea of the scope of first stage interviews.
- Unfortunately, it was the first year that Imperial Tobacco were recruiting from IE so there was not a lot more information regarding the process per se they could provide me with but Imperial Tobacco have very friendly recruiters who really guide you through the process so this was not an issue at all.
How was the recruiting process: stages, tests, interviews, etc?
- It started with an online application form (CV + cover letter).
- The second phase was a set of tests (level of English, maths… I don’t remember anymore!).
- Then the first round of interviews came, and this took place at IE. It was not hard as questions were very typical (What are your strengths and weaknesses?, what has been your biggest mistake?, give me examples of teamwork, leadership….) but they also asked some specific questions such as: “What steps would you take to globalize a local brand?” so you need to prepare for that.
- The next step was the assessment center that took place at the Imperial Tobacco office in Madrid. It was quite nerve-wracking because they give you a difficult case to solve in a group with very limited time, and then they put you under a lot of pressure to challenge all your assumptions and conclusions. The biggest learning out of this is that the solution to the case doesn’t really matter, it is more about how you interact with the group and how you react to the pressure they put you under.
- During the same day, there is also a role play for which you have very limited time to prepare. You have to ensure you keep calm, you look like you have things under control and you give a good enough solution!
- There is an additional round of online tests that comes after the assessment center which are intended to assess your behavior and preferences at work (personality tests like MBTI and similar ones…).
- Although they say it is a formality, there is a final interview with the head of HR whose main purpose is to meet you and decide whether you are a good cultural fit with the company or not.
Would you want to share any tips, advice with current student interested in applying to Altadis – Imperial Tobacco?
Throughout the process, i was confused as to the type of candidate they were looking for because I was competing with architects, engineers, marketing people… and so, in the last interview I asked what was it they were looking for exactly. The answer was “personality and cultural fit”.
I think this is relevant to share because they are not looking for technical skills (they assume we have those because they recruit MBAs) so although you need to prepare for the process I wouldn’t worry too much about performance (particularly in the assessment center), instead they are looking for people they would like to work with on a daily basis so just be yourself!
Imperial Tobacco Spain is in charge of recruiting for this program worldwide, so don’t rule it out if you are not interested in staying in Spain because you may be given the chance to go abroad.
In addition to this, I have to say I am already impressed by the structure of the program, the amount of time and effort they exert in ensuring our training is optimal for us & the company and that the quality of people I have already met is excellent. I am looking forward to starting and learning a lot from this opportunity!