An MBA in this era of globalisation demands knowledge beyond the textbook. It requires an individual to draw from his own personal experiences to find solutions to practical problems. Going on exchange from IIFT to one of the partner foreign universities is one such experience that creates memories for life. It’s an opportunity to meet different people, visit different countries, try new drinks, eat new cuisines and live a completely different life.
Ankesh Singh, went on exchange to ESC Rennes, popularly known as “Pehalwan” to his exchange group visited a different country every weekend. Learning from the cultures and personal experiences was the way for him. Classroom learning was a way to meet new people and experience the difference in the ways of teaching. He visited a total of 15 different countries, surviving mainly on milk and salads. Adjusting your palate to foreign tastes is a challenge for backpackers.
Utkarsh Modi, went on exchange to EM Strasbourg Business School, describes it as a once in a lifetime opportunity in his student life. A hectic schedule is what typifies any B School life. It wasn’t too different there either but with the liberties given in terms of selection of courses and designing your own class schedule combined with a unique experience of interacting with 140 exchange students from around 40 nationalities made it a remarkable journey for him.
Fun is best enjoyed out of your comfort zone. So while they did have a decent share of academic ‘rigours’ of a B school, they also managed to sneak in the best European destinations in their schedule. It was a unique challenge to dissolve the French culture as also the culture of several different nationalities that they backpacked to! (With Trains touching 320 km/hr and the geography, distances were not a problem) Staying in a youth hostel is an amazing experience in itself, particularly when you sit around exchanging traveller notes about your respective countries and in the process realizing your one dimensional perspectives in life so far…
One of the challenges for them was to work in group projects for different courses which required them to understand the understanding of students across borders! As Master Yoda said – Unlearn you must to learn. And certainly they did. The professionalism of the other students is what impressed them the most. They do like to party but when it comes to work they mean business! It is unfair to compare the course curriculum of our home university and theirs…essentially both are justified, apt and to an extent similar in their own rights.
As for the travelogues, each day of their stay was a journey in itself – from the metaphysical to spiritual to simply exhausting – each perched in the memory at their rightful places. The best part about travelling is that you get lost in unknown cities only to discover yourself and in the process discover the city in its true form as it was always meant to be. With City maps in hand – you invariably end up at unknown places – unknown of your location – but never lost! There is an invisible connection between the city and you – never felt in a crowd but often realized in the semi empty streets that you encounter. Experiences were vast and varied – from the snow of Switzerland to the strong winds in Amsterdam to the sunny day by the canals in Venice to the warm spring water bathes in Budapest – each one was equally thrilling experience for them.
To cut a long story short – it was a once in a lifetime experience for each one of them and possibly the best 3 months of their academic life!
PS: With inputs from Ankesh, Utkarsh and Thomas.
Ishan Arora is a student from IIFT who has had a very regular life- an engineer, an IT professional and now an MBA student. He is very passionate about writing and writes on a personal blog A Vent in the Delirium. He is also in love with music and plays an internet radio in his college.