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06 Apr 2010, 10:03
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Hi all,

Most top MBA's offer the option of spending a semester at a different MBA school, often abroad. Has any of you taken advantage of this opportunity? Do you know anyone that has? What is your opinion on this experience and which semester do you consider best to spend away from your primary school?

I love the idea of going abroad for a semester, getting international exposure, and seeing what studying at a different MBA is like. However, the MBA program is so short and intense, with every month crucial to networking and career development purposes. In one semester at a different school, I will likely not form long-lasting attachments, yet I might miss out on some important stuff back "home".

Thoughts?
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06 Apr 2010, 13:09
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I did not apply for a semester abroad for my second year at Tuck. My 1st year just flew by and our second year is even shorter (only 27 weeks total!). I'm kinda sad my first year almost over and felt that I wouldn't want to miss any of my 2nd year at all. There is still a ton of networking I want to do and courses I want to take at Tuck, so I will be more than happy to stay in Hanover for my 2nd year.

However, many people are doing the exchange programs and from what I've heard from the 2nd years who have done them, they were really great.

I guess it all depends on what your priorities are!

RF
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06 Apr 2010, 13:13
Thank you for the response, RF!

I'm sure both choices to stay or leave have their merits and you will enjoy your second full year at Tuck (stay warm! ). Do most people going on exchange leave for the 1st semester of 2nd year?

refurb wrote:
However, many people are doing the exchange programs and from what I've heard from the 2nd years who have done them, they were really great.
RF
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06 Apr 2010, 14:03
snowinTX wrote:
Thank you for the response, RF!

I'm sure both choices to stay or leave have their merits and you will enjoy your second full year at Tuck (stay warm! ). Do most people going on exchange leave for the 1st semester of 2nd year?

refurb wrote:
However, many people are doing the exchange programs and from what I've heard from the 2nd years who have done them, they were really great.
RF

i'm curious too. I asked at Stern and it seems like most students do it their 2nd year. The only way I would consider is if I was set on working for the company I intern with (& was extended a FT offer). Otherwise alot of networking is lost.
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06 Apr 2010, 17:20
snowinTX wrote:
Thank you for the response, RF!

I'm sure both choices to stay or leave have their merits and you will enjoy your second full year at Tuck (stay warm! ). Do most people going on exchange leave for the 1st semester of 2nd year?

It all depends on where you want to go. Each school has exchange opportunities available during certain times of the year. For example, LBS is during the 2nd semester, INSEAD is during the 1st semester (I think).

Seanyc has a good point too. Recruiting for full-time jobs (on-campus) begins right when your 2nd year starts. So unless you already have a full-time job lined up or plan on doing your own job search, it's hard to do an exchange at the beginning of your 2nd year.

RF
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07 Apr 2010, 03:09
I exchanged from HKUST to Haas, Berkeley for 1 semester. Personally, I think it was worth it.. it all depends on your focus and career goal.

For me, I was focused on Tech Entrepreneurship in Asia.
HKUST gave me the focus on China and networks in Asia
Berkeley gave me access to mature and experienced tech & enterpreneurship resources and knowledge. Both complimented each other very well. I had the opportunity to speak to a few VCs (although quite a few have limited knowledge on what is happening in China) who are experienced with start-ups and tech. It also helped to contrast differences between schools and their focus/objectives, and allowed me to extend my network, as well as learn what's happening geographically...

e.g. Social games, virtual goods are the 'current big thing' in the USA, but it is lagging behind China and Asia ($1B USD revenue in USA,$5B USD revenue in China, \$7B in Asia (incl. China). But it was good to compare the evolution of the business models and how they change from one continent to another.. something I would have struggled to do if I had stayed in only 1 school.
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07 Apr 2010, 07:11
togafoot wrote:
I exchanged from HKUST to Haas, Berkeley for 1 semester. Personally, I think it was worth it.. it all depends on your focus and career goal.

togafoot,

Thank you for the reply - I'm glad to know the exchange worked out for you! Which semester did you take off - and were you gone for the whole half a year, or only 4 months?

It sounds like you were able to use that time to expand your network. Did you feel that the Haas students were welcoming to an outsider such as yourself, or they mostly stayed within the groups formed during the first year?

How did you find the course load as compared to HKUST?

Thanks again!
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07 Apr 2010, 15:50
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At Michigan you can only do an exchange in the second half of your second year. First year is out because you have core. Most people wouldn't want to go first semester of second year anyways because that's when on campus recruiting is. That said the programs vary in length. There are a couple that are just Winter A (7 wks). Although most are closer to a semester. Many students like the European school schedule where you go in early January and then are back in A2 in mid April for graduation festivities

I chose not to go abroad because I didn't want to be away for the last part of bschool. I took other opportunities through the school to travel internationally though. I went to Costa Rica before school on Mtrek, did Negotiation class in Bulgaria this summer and went to Russia for spring break. I do know some people, for example, wanted to work in Asia and so did the exchange to try and network with people there. There are pros and cons it just depends on your goals.
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07 Apr 2010, 22:17
I exchanged for 4 months. Haas students are definitley welcoming, I made some good friends there.. very helpful bunch.

In terms of course load, well at electives stage, its up to you how much you wish to load yourself and how you manage your time. There is never enough time for everything, so it depends on your priority. Both schools are about the same in this respect.
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06 May 2010, 12:41
refurb wrote:
I did not apply for a semester abroad for my second year at Tuck. My 1st year just flew by and our second year is even shorter (only 27 weeks total!). I'm kinda sad my first year almost over and felt that I wouldn't want to miss any of my 2nd year at all. There is still a ton of networking I want to do and courses I want to take at Tuck, so I will be more than happy to stay in Hanover for my 2nd year.

However, many people are doing the exchange programs and from what I've heard from the 2nd years who have done them, they were really great.

I guess it all depends on what your priorities are!

RF

Had you lived abroad prior to Tuck? I have never lived abroad, so I feel like I should take the opportunity to do so, but given how much I already love Tuck just from attending ASW, I suspect I will be wary of leaving for a term as well.
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06 May 2010, 17:16
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MeowKat wrote:
Had you lived abroad prior to Tuck? I have never lived abroad, so I feel like I should take the opportunity to do so, but given how much I already love Tuck just from attending ASW, I suspect I will be wary of leaving for a term as well.

No I never worked abroad prior to Tuck. The thing is, my target industry is centered in the US. If I want to land the right job in my region of geographic preference, I'm going to have to do some serious networking this summer and in the fall. It's pretty tough to network with US companies when you're not in the US.

The decision for semesters abroad have already come out at a Tuck. I know of a few people that turned down some offers because of the recruiting issue.

All I can say is that your time here just flies by. I've got 2 weeks left in my first year. The second year is only 3 x 9 week periods! A few of my friends are doing semesters abroad (looking for jobs in their host countries) so the time I'll have to spend with them is pretty limited too. I couldn't imagine my second year being only 18 weeks at Tuck!

RF
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10 May 2010, 07:11
Most people that do it, like it. The only downside is that it takes you out of the domestic fulltime recruiting cycle a bit. If that is not an issue (e.g., you have secured a job w/your internship company, you are looking overseas anyways, etc), then it can be very rewarding.

Good luck!
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26 Nov 2015, 21:51
Studying abroad during business school, but I think it is not very practical. Business school is very short when you think about it. About 16 months. It is very much a sprint filled with networking, classes and looking for a job. Taking a few months to go study abroad can cause quite a disruption in that process. Really the only time it makes sense to do it is second semester of your second year, but what if you don't have a job yet? Do you really want to be out of the country looking for a job in the US? It is quite difficult. My suggestion is to travel after graduation, but before job starts.
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19 Feb 2016, 13:43
Yes, definitely do the semester abroad if you have the chance to. Some reasons:
1) Double your network. If you are doing your MBA at an European School, exchange to the US. If you are doing your MBA in a US school, exchange to Europe (LBS, INSEAD, ESADE, IESE, IE, etc), or Asia (HUKST, ISB, etc)

2) Double the experience. Spending time abroad helps you to put things into perspective, distance yourself from the norm, and get creative!

3) Double the learning. Learn a new language or learn about a new market. Why not? It can turn into an internship or job opportunity that is very unique and refreshing.

Don't be afraid to travel due to recruiting concerns...most of these exchange schools allow you to take advantage of their own recruiting platforms and networks. If anything, you will be doubling your recruiting chances with an additional sources of employers and recruitment center resources. In the long run, work and job will always be there as a part of life, so focus on investing in yourself and your experience while you take time off from work.
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28 Feb 2016, 15:37
Just a note on the comment about doubling your network. That is true, you can create a larger network, but I'm not sure it will be an effective one. I'd rather have a smaller network, that I have deep relationships in, versus a big one where someone says, "oh yeah, I think I remember you from that one class we had together." It's like people on linkedin that have thousands of connections, but none of them can get you a job. What's the point?
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29 Feb 2016, 00:14
VeritasPrepMike wrote:
Just a note on the comment about doubling your network. That is true, you can create a larger network, but I'm not sure it will be an effective one. I'd rather have a smaller network, that I have deep relationships in, versus a big one where someone says, "oh yeah, I think I remember you from that one class we had together." It's like people on linkedin that have thousands of connections, but none of them can get you a job. What's the point?

Mike, I understand your point, and I think to a good extent it is a valid one, but I am going to respectfully disagree. For the following reasons:
1) Oftentimes, in networking, we actually get the most opportunities and open doors from our weak ties. Why? Because we are usually already familiar with the network of those we have deep relationships with, while those weak ties are oftentimes connected to many people and organizations beyond our reach. Hence, it helps to double your network coverage, even if some of that is going to be "weak ties".

2) Related to point 1, unless you are 100% focused on settling in 1 particular geography and job/function for the rest of your life, you will need a broad network, with good geographical and industry/functional coverage. Don't just hang around the same clique of people at school. Don't judge your investment in relationships based exclusively on who you think at the time will help you land that job offer.

3) Sometimes, you can develop stronger post-MBA relationships with "weak tie" acquaintances at school. For example, after business school, I spent a year and half in the East Coast, and became closer with quite a few former classmates who I got along but was not very close with during my MBA. It could not have happened if I had no acquaintance with these classmates beforehand. This is especially relevant if you end up taking a job offer abroad and the alumni in the area are weak ties during school.

4) Having a large network coverage does not conflict with developing strong relationships with some classmates - these are not necessarily mutually exclusive. You can develop strong relationships with certain classmates while still being able to High Five a broad range of classmates.

5) You probably wrote in your essay that you are looking to broaden your experiences by meeting new and interesting people - do that!

6) It's great to have a place to crash in when you need to book a travel ticket to country X.
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29 Feb 2016, 22:06
I think studying abroad would add value. I wouldn't worry too much about not making deep connections. If you're a charismatic person, and you really want to make good connection at the host institution, it will not be hard to do so. Especially for programs in Europe that are already only one year, you'd be there 50% of the time those students are there anyway. Which I think is plenty of time to connect. And if you spend three out of four semesters at your home institution, and you're unable to make or maintain that network, you've got a bigger problem to think about. you're classmates aren't going to forget about you unless you're forgettable. Besides, some b-school programs in the US are so darn huge, you would inevitably end up having potentially hundreds of classmates whom you don't really know all that well. But I bet everyone at programs of 700+ still adds each other on LinkedIn, and might have had one elective together.

That said, I'd actually be in favor of doing study abroad during the first semester of the second year, which is an unpopular choice. Yes you would have to worry about recruiting, but with it being 2016, it isn't impossible to interview remotely, and companies may find you more dynamic. And you'd get to come back for your final semester with all your friends at your home institution.
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29 Feb 2016, 22:47
I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree. But I can tell you as someone who does recruiting for a Fortune 50 company, I would not see you as more "dynamic" for having done a study abroad program during business school. I think study abroad programs vastly oversell the value recruiters place on these programs. 3 months in Europe as a MBA student does not make you an expert in international business. I also would not be able to accommodate someone who wants to interview remotely. My company has a two day long interview process where you meet dozens of employees and fellow candidates. Impossible to do over video.
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29 Feb 2016, 22:55
pinecrest515 wrote:
VeritasPrepMike wrote:
Just a note on the comment about doubling your network. That is true, you can create a larger network, but I'm not sure it will be an effective one. I'd rather have a smaller network, that I have deep relationships in, versus a big one where someone says, "oh yeah, I think I remember you from that one class we had together." It's like people on linkedin that have thousands of connections, but none of them can get you a job. What's the point?

Mike, I understand your point, and I think to a good extent it is a valid one, but I am going to respectfully disagree. For the following reasons:
1) Oftentimes, in networking, we actually get the most opportunities and open doors from our weak ties. Why? Because we are usually already familiar with the network of those we have deep relationships with, while those weak ties are oftentimes connected to many people and organizations beyond our reach. Hence, it helps to double your network coverage, even if some of that is going to be "weak ties".

2) Related to point 1, unless you are 100% focused on settling in 1 particular geography and job/function for the rest of your life, you will need a broad network, with good geographical and industry/functional coverage. Don't just hang around the same clique of people at school. Don't judge your investment in relationships based exclusively on who you think at the time will help you land that job offer.

3) Sometimes, you can develop stronger post-MBA relationships with "weak tie" acquaintances at school. For example, after business school, I spent a year and half in the East Coast, and became closer with quite a few former classmates who I got along but was not very close with during my MBA. It could not have happened if I had no acquaintance with these classmates beforehand. This is especially relevant if you end up taking a job offer abroad and the alumni in the area are weak ties during school.

4) Having a large network coverage does not conflict with developing strong relationships with some classmates - these are not necessarily mutually exclusive. You can develop strong relationships with certain classmates while still being able to High Five a broad range of classmates.

5) You probably wrote in your essay that you are looking to broaden your experiences by meeting new and interesting people - do that!

6) It's great to have a place to crash in when you need to book a travel ticket to country X.

1) agreed, but you can develop plenty of weak tie relationships with people without having to go away for a semester
2) the industry coverage doesn't matter because we are talking about geographies. a vast majority of US born, business school students will stay in the US and never look for a job internationally
3) i thought we were talking about study abroad, not the same thing as knowing someone on the east coast of the US when you live on the west coast
4) Agreed
5) you can do that without leaving the country
6) airbnb?

See my comment above, but agree to disagree on this. I'll just never see the ROI of study abroad for b school students.
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01 Mar 2016, 12:07
Fair points. But I do know students who studied abroad and interviewed with American companies that flew them in for the interviews, so I guess that much depends on how much the company likes you in the first place. And I agree that you might not necessarily be all that much more dynamic, but perhaps my cynicism towards the necessity of an MBA at all makes me disagree. I don't think a semester abroad weakens someone's career outlook, but then again I am not a recruiter either! It's probably best for people who have secured the job offer or don't think they'll need recruiting all that much

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