What’s This Fuss About Student Exchange Programs At B-Schools?

“If you can find your footing between two cultures, sometimes you can have the best of both worlds.” I can’t seem to agree more with this quote of Randy Pausch except for the fact that sometimes it’s not just confined to two, but can very well be many, for both cultures and worlds! There are not many real – life examples of this but the foreign exchange program of a b-school that typically takes place during the term 5 of any two-year MBA course.

I lucidly remember mentioning student exchange in one of my articles that got published right before I took admission at IIM Indore as a top item in my to-do list while pursuing MBA. Staying true to my year-old commitment, I’ll be supposedly living the best 3 months of my life starting from this September. I’ll be attending classes at SKEMA Business School, France.

Traveling back in time to term 1, I can say with an aplomb that for a fellow who’s pretty sure of making a career in only and only marketing, student exchange programme is probably the only incentive to score big in term 1 exams. That’s because the process of allocation of universities to the aspirants is akin to that of any undergraduate entrance examination where the person with the highest CGPA gets to block a seat in the university of his/her choice from the buffet of universities that is laid out in front of him/her.

However, students of other IIMs/non-IIMs should be wary of the variations that exist across B-schools in terms of allocation of universities. So, for instance, a student of IIM Ahmedabad should give equal importance to his extra-curricular escapades as much as he/she does to the academics since both count in weighing a candidate’s claim to a particular seat at IIM A.

Getting out of the nitty-gritty of the seemingly boring selection process, let’s leap onto the exciting side of the things. So, you’ve made it! That long-pending dream of a European vacation is now next to being a reality and let alone a standard 15-day vacation, the exchange programme is going to offer you a 3-month long vacation bonanza! You start digging your eyeballs into some random documentaries/travel clips that introduce you to the grandeur of the country/area that you’ll be travelling to. The world seems utopian. But for how long?

Comes term 4 and comes with it a host of tasks/formalities that are to be imperatively completed by every applicant. And trust me, these are no less than a pain in the arse, so much so that I’ve actually seen people giving it a second thought to the programme altogether. A slew of never ending processes keep you engaged throughout the term 4 and before you know you’re hardly a month away from flying off to your exchange university.

But isn’t everything supposed to have a happy ending? Well, I suppose it is because that’s what seems to be gradually happening with me. Now that I’ve finally fared the storm of completing innumerable formalities and payments, the thought of kicking off my exchange programme at France excites me like anything. And I’m pretty sure that my time there will amaze, amuse and teach me tins more than I’m able to anticipate at this moment.

Sure, I’ll be back with my how my experience panned out to be

Abhinav Bansal

I'm a participant of the PGP 2016-18 batch at IIM Indore. Stuff like brands, blogging and dramatics interests me a lot! I aspire to launch my post MBA career with a typical Sales/Marketing job. In line with this goal, I've been a part of the Marketing club of IIM Indore and interned at a leading FMCG firm during the summers of '17.