Every year, around 50 Boothies make the decision to escape the cold of Chicago and spend their winter quarter elsewhere. Currently, Booth has partnerships with 33 MBA partner schools in 20 countries through the International Business Exchange Program (IBEP). We spoke to second years Alex Sukhareva and Boris Askenov to get the inside scoop on a quarter abroad.
Alex Sukhareva (Class of 2017) - IESE Business School (Barcelona)
Studying at IESE in Barcelona has absolutely been one of the best choices I've made as part of my MBA. I built a professional network for myself in Europe and developed friendships with students from business schools worldwide. My education here has opened my mind to new styles of learning and allowed me to appreciate my Booth experience. One of the things that struck me most is how international the education here is. For example, IESE offers two week learning opportunities in Sao Paolo, Shanghai, Nairobi, and New York. I got the chance to experience both an 8-week quarter in Barcelona and a 2-week intensive program on business practices in Shanghai.
Also, the class here is incredibly welcoming. With only 280 people per year, they all know each other and people actively come up to me to introduce themselves to the new exchange student. As exchange students, we are encouraged to go to cohort dinners, "SkIESE", and Bar of the Weeks (a TNDC that ends in the early morning).
Of course, I'd be remiss not to mention the opportunity to explore Europe. Many exchange students visit a different country every week! I really enjoyed my study abroad experience and I am more than happy to talk more about the experience to anyone considering studying abroad!
Boris Askenov (Class of 2017) - The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
I wanted to study abroad for a number of reasons: to travel, to escape the Chicago winter (after all, my top three choices were Hong Kong, Cape Town, and Melbourne), even to recruit. I had fallen in love with Hong Kong in particular after spending one night there on the back end of Japan random walk: it had a vibrant culture, great food options, was centrally located in Asia, and had fantastic nightlife (sorry Social 25, you’re not cutting it anymore).
The study abroad experience has lived up to every expectation and in many ways exceeded it. There are about 50 other exchange students at HKUST from all over the world and they all share a common interest in exploring the city, traveling, and going out; I’ve already made lifelong friends in just a few weeks here. Other than the regular nights out in LKF and Wan Chai or weekend trips to Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Burma, and just about every other place imaginable, Hong Kong has some great hiking right near the city, and HKUST offers some great classes for those interested in learning about business in Asia (because I guess it’s called “study” abroad). Biggest challenge that didn’t involve the over-consumption of alcohol? Probably finding a place to live – Hong Kong makes NYC look cheap. Overall, it’s been an incredible experience and one I’d recommend to any first year considering it.