Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Studying abroad: A Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience

Second-year MBA, Consumer Marketing Academy 

Me in between two new friends

When I signed up to study abroad a year ago, I didn’t realize what an incredible experience it would be.  I arrived in Switzerland on January 2, 2013 and have loved every moment of it so far!  I attend the University of St. Gallen, which is one of the most respected business schools in Europe.  It is located about an hour outside of Zurich, one of the main business hubs of Europe. 

I am taking six courses, four of which are considered “core courses”. They are taught by some of Europe’s most respected professors and business people. The biggest surprise has been just how similar the theories are to what I have been taught at Kelley. The only twist: culture. When one does business in Europe, she must take into consideration all the different cultures and languages of the company’s stakeholders and ensure she is tailoring products and services accordingly. 

Me, Dan Bracke from Kelley, and Jessica from UT
 I believe the last year and a half at Kelley has truly prepared me for this program.  With over 30% of my class at Kelley being International, I was exposed to diverse team dynamics from day one. Another helpful experience at Kelley was participating in the GLOBASE Ghana consulting project last year.  It taught me important global business skills.  Kelley has also taught me a lot about networking.  We have been visiting a lot of European companies here ranging from Roche Pharmaceuticals to BMW to Maestrani Chocolates, etc.  My networking skills have been very helpful during these company visits.  In fact, networking seems to be so ingrained in me these days, I seem to do it everywhere, even on trains (recently I met a gentleman who is a wine importer on the train and at the end of the conversation, I asked for his business card of course!).

Which brings me to one of my favorite parts of studying abroad: traveling!  I have loved traveling since I was a little girl. In the last month, I have visited 12 cities in 7 countries in Europe. I purchased a 3-month EU Rail global pass, which gives me unlimited first-class travel via trains to 23 European countries. I have really enjoyed the incredible history, culture and architecture each of these cities have. 

All in all, my experience studying in Switzerland has been amazing so far.  I am growing every day as an individual and expanding my horizons in every sense off the word.  I would highly recommend a study abroad program to all my fellow Kelley classmates as well as other business students across the country.


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