It can be hard to decide if studying abroad is worth the time and money. Especially considering the limited resources most college students have. After returning from my Winter Europe MBA seminar, I can confidently say this is one opportunity that you can’t miss out on. My IBS experience has impacted me in different ways before attending, during the seminar, and even after returning as I write this blog. I made lasting connections and memories I won’t soon forget.
Before the program:
• The program may fulfill an elective credit at your university. For me, this allowed me to focus my energy on my core classes in the semester following my seminar.
• There is nothing like the anticipation before a trip. Packing, possibly planning independent travel before and after the seminar, and the slightly less fun task of budgeting all contribute to the pre-seminar experience.
• On the topic of budgeting, I would recommend allocating a large portion of your money to meals. You will probably be eating out for lunch and dinner in a restaurant every day, which in Europe can be $20-30 per meal. This amount will be less in Asia but will still be an important consideration. Setting aside money for excursions and souvenirs is also recommended.
• In order to offset these costs, apply for scholarships both at your university and through IBS. IBS offers a number of scholarships, internship and alumni positions, and photo contests to program participants. Look into these opportunities because there is something for everyone depending on different strengths and interests.
During the program:• The opportunity to visit France and England in the middle of Brexit, an unprecedented political, cultural, and social change, was invaluable. We heard from professionals in various seminars in both companies who are directly involved in the process of predicting and adapting their firms’ strategies to prepare for the implementation of Brexit.
• Since IBS is nationwide, there are students from universities all across the country. We had many chances to network and connect socially with these colleagues throughout the seminar.
• In addition, we worked together in groups to prepare short presentations before each visit. This gave us a chance to develop our teamwork, presentation, and leadership skills.
• Sticking to a budget is always difficult but can be almost impossible during the seminar. If a meal was more expensive than you planned for, don’t sweat it- get back on track the next meal by stopping by a fast-casual spot for the next meal rather than sit down restaurants that are more expensive.
• Utilizing public transportation such as the Metro in Paris and Underground in London is much more economical than taxis or ride-sharing services like Uber.
After the program:
• An IBS Seminar is a valuable addition to your resume and LinkedIn profile. International experience sets you apart from other applicants and shows potential employers that you have ambition and a global mindset.
• You will never forget the once in a lifetime excursions to landmarks such as the Palace of Versailles in France or seeing a musical in the West End of London. These experiences with new friends from the seminar will stick out in your mind long after returning back to your university.
• IBS offers opportunities for alumni to become ambassadors to promote and spread the word about IBS programs. This is a great way to gain marketing and business experience as well as help other students find the right program for them.
For those of you who are on the fence:• I recommend comparing this opportunity to others offered at your university. It’s likely that IBS offers the best value for the experience.
• If you are curious about a future in business in other regions, the company visits certainly are not job interviews or recruiting opportunities, but they do give you an idea of what kind of positions are available abroad for potential future career transitions.
• Traveling with IBS gives you the confidence to travel on your own in the future. It’s true what they say about the travel bug; once you go abroad, you can’t wait to explore the next destination.