About a month ago I did something what I could only dream about in my part-time MBA program at GWSB: I signed up for a short study abroad exchange program.
The GWU School of Business has a rather strong push for international exchanges/residencies. The University is offering these programs all around the world, from South America to Asia, and everything in between. I remember the director of Study Abroad Programs talk at the official opening ceremony at the start of my first year of study. He said something along these lines: “it might sound a little strange for you to hear what I am going to say, especially taking into account that you are just about to start your classes at the MBA program. But I am urging you to go away. I am urging you to take the opportunity of international exchange programs while you are in school.” That call to go away stayed with me ever since.
International residency is a requirement for all full-time Global MBA students at GWSB. For part-time programs there is no such requirement, but there are abundant opportunities offered. The only obstacles are the constraints of job schedules, family obligations, etc.
So after that “go away” speech I have been theoretically considering the possibility of taking an international residency since the start of my MBA program back in 2009. I was periodically browsing the Study Abroad web site of the University, and weighing the possibilities, but my personal circumstances have always prevented me from taking one of those courses. I saw a few of my part-time fellow MBA students go on some of those short-term international programs and heard great feedback about their experiences – this made me more interested each time, but again I did not see the way to make it happen for myself.
The real strong nudge came when I talked to my classmate Angela in December 2010. She managed to pack not one, but two international residencies in the curriculum during her time at part-time MBA. That made me really envious. I got a feeling that I would really miss a significant part of my total MBA experience if I did not go on one of those study abroad programs. I resumed looking at the possibilities, but still it did not work out for me.
By the beginning of the last term of my MBA program all the opportunities were gone – the deadlines for signing up for the Spring term study abroad all expired and I did not mange to overcome the hurdles between me and those programs. I shook off the disappointment and got content with the reality of not going on study abroad while in Business School. Little did I know that it was far from over yet.
At the end of January I reached out to some of my former part-time MBA classmates and asked them to write a post for this blog about their experience at GWSB MBA program. One of the people who responded with the post was Angela. In her posts ( Get the Most from Part-time MBA in 16 Months, Part-Time MBA in 16 Months – 5 Lessons Learned ) she, unknowingly to herself, rubbed in this international residency issue for me again
Around that same time when Angela wrote her posts, I received a letter from the Study Abroad office that deadline for one of the short study abroad programs was extended. For me it was like an omen. I decided to make one more final push to see if it could work out for me.
Long story short, after some deliberation and negotiation it all worked out! I signed up for the international exchange, which takes place during a week of a Spring break, completed all prerequisites for the program, and off I go to France!
This coming Saturday I am leaving for Nantes, France. I will take a course on Global Corporate Responsibility in France and European context. The course is taught at GWSB partner – Audencia Nantes School of Management. When I was making the final push for this to happen I reached out to another classmate who took this particular program in Spring 2011 to learn more about the program and get her personal feedback. She wrote me back: “Oh I LOVED my trip to Nantes. … Interesting material, awesome professors. I wish they taught at GW. I would do it again in a heartbeat and I know everyone else on the trip would say the same. … Go!”
I am very excited and have high expectations for this week in France. I cannot promise to write extensively on the blog while I am there, but I am planning to at least have brief posts and put some pictures of my travel. Stay tuned!