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European Exchange Destination

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Joined: 02 Jul 2017
Posts: 2
European Exchange Destination  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jul 2017, 22:04

My first post! I'm joining a Queen's Masters program which encourages a semester abroad to a partner school. Since there's no degree to be gained, and the courses are all electives, the decision will be based mainly on the criteria of: Interest/relevance of course options available, career/internship/networking opportunities, the school's reputation internationally (how good it looks on a resume), and the city/student life.

In terms of career to date I have a finance degree from a non target, and 3 years work experience in commercial banking. For the future I would be open to the idea of getting back into a more quant/analytical banking role, but given recruiting norms hiring undergrads with internship experience I'm not holding my breath. My second option is to make a transition into consulting, I'm also exploring the potential to secure an internship with a multinational NGO (WTO, World Bank, UN) to gain some public policy/economic development experience before considering a move back to the private sector.

Exchange options in order of current preference but subject to change:
1) St Gallen
2) Bocconi
3) German School: Leipzig/Mannheim
4) Scandinavian School: Copenhagen Bus School/Stockholm School of Economics/Norwegian School of Economics
5) WU Vienna
6) University of Zurich

I would assume being in Switzerland would help for NGO internships, but I figured it should be St Gallen or bust given the higher standing of other schools above Zurich. There are also a few other UK options, but I'd rather get out of my comfort zone, and a few dutch (Maastricht/Rotterdam).

Any input is appreciated!
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Re: European Exchange Destination  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jul 2017, 11:02
Congratulations on your admit to Queens!

I have done an exchange (study abroad) program and it is a great experience. The best part is traveling, experiencing a new school/culture, and expanding your network. Often is is also a great way to get into a higher ranking school, take some cool classes, and beef up your resume. Some of the schools face a stiff competition for a few exchange spots that are available. Usually there is an application process that requires you to fill out a form and sometimes an essay. In addition, your GPA as well as GMAT are taken into consideration when applicants exceed the spots.

The disadvantage of the study abroad is that you get thrown out of the standard recruiting cycle that takes place between Oct and Dec.

Keep in mind that for an internship/job prospect, not all things you outlined will be possible. You may be limited due to local language proficiency and also work permit issues. This was an issue I ran into and despite my attempts to learn the local language, it was not really an option to get an internship during/after study abroad. Also, I was competing with local students who were better positioned for those internships.... esp since my visa/stay permit was only good for the duration of the semester and I would have to reapply/figure something out afterwards. At the end, none of my 22 or so international students found an internship during the semester, with an exception of one guy from Anderson who had some extended family and spoke the language. Just FYI.

I would definitely the higher ranked school that would allow you to also take the electives you look to pursue, and get other options. With the internship chances being slim, you should consider the value of this experience from multiple sides.

Good Luck!
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Re: European Exchange Destination   [#permalink] 03 Jul 2017, 11:02
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