October 13, 2010

Perspectives from an International MBA Student

Post by:
Juan J Estrada
International MBA 2011

It’s a really nice day out today. Much better than the past days at least. It’s great to have a nice Friday after a week of gloomy weather and a very intense schedule, especially as the starter of a three day weekend.

I am an international MBA student at BU. The international comes along because we do our first semester in China, from May 1st until the last week of July. I arrived to China from Colombia, after a long trip that lasted two days. The first month or so we spent in Beijing. Beijing is a huge city where the first thing that impressed was the size and modernity of its infrastructure. I now regret that during that first month I put a bit too much time into my coursework without really having the need to do so. I didn’t go out as much because I thought I was too busy but it wasn’t until we moved to Shanghai, for the remaining two months of our stay in China, that I really got to know what a busy summer was. Shanghai was very different from Beijing. The courses we took in Shanghai where mostly quantitative, and although I’m an engineer, getting the homework done was very time consuming. Shanghai is also very different from Beijing in the sense that its more international, its infrastructure is even bigger and more impressive and you get a sense that the business world is moving at an incredible pace. Nine years ago I used to live an hour away from New York City, and I couldn’t help but relate both cities. The skyscrapers, the diversity, the size and the rush all gave a me a déjà vu. I liked that feeling in Shanghai but I also realized that Beijing offered a bit more of an authentic Chinese experience. Beijing’s hutongs, lower density of foreigners, and historic landmarks all made me feel I was in a very different place. It was similar to the sense one gets when getting lost and it opened up a personal interest for Asia, for how big and different that side of world is from ours.

After China, I came straight the US to get rest and prepare myself for Orientation in Boston, which takes place in mid-August. I had heard lots of good things about Boston but I didn’t expect to actually like it as much as I do. Students are everywhere and the city is compact enough so that I can use mi bike to get anywhere. Public transportation works very well (sometimes too well, because there are segments where the stops are pretty much next to each other) and the architecture and the urban design of the city are splendid. It’s really busy around here though, my iMBA ends in May and my course load is pretty heavy. I am also involved the BioBussiness and Latino MBA clubs, I attend networking events and I’m an MBA ambassador. This means the time I have to enjoy the city is limited and I’ve got keep focus if I want to get free time on the weekends, but I do get the feeling everyday that I made the best of it.

I have to get going now but I look forward to posting here again- I’ve got more to say. Alright, be good – and if you can’t be good, be careful!

About the author:

Juan is a first year International MBA student. Before coming to BU he worked coordinating a project on the development of a medical device in Madrid, Spain. Through this European Commission sponsored project, Juan had the opportunity to inmerse in a variety of European cultures both in professional/organizational and in social terms. Prior to his experience, Juan had obtained a Biomedical Engineering bachelors at Georgia Tech, in Atlanta. Having grown up in Colombia, Juan enjoys experimenting in the kitchen with tropical ingredients, dancing -specially latin music- and keeping up with the news and what is going on in the world.

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