Nikhita Giridhar (NG): What made you pick Barcelona?
Michael Teh (MT): Language played a critical factor in choosing where I wanted to go. I always knew I was going to do the exchange program in a country that allowed me to practice my Spanish. Spain and Mexico were my two choices. I was committed to getting better at the language and picked IESE in Barcelona for that reason.
NG: What was the highlight of your exchange at IESE?
MT: The most fun event that IESE organized was this big party called ‘multi-culti’. As the name suggests, this is a 700-person school-wide multicultural event. Everyone dresses up in their traditional clothes, performs dances from their home countries and sets up stalls of their national food and drink. We put together a traditional Aussie stall with food and frosty beverages and played games for people to learn our unique Australian lingo!
NG: What was the one main difference between Booth and IESE?
MT: One light-hearted difference that I noticed was that the Europeans dress really well! There’s a certain dress-code that most people follow, unlike in Chicago. No hats in class, either. Academically, IESE is 100% case-based which made for a unique experience and engaging class-environment.
NG: What would you recommend to those considering an exchange next year?
MT: Research matters. I researched the school really well and thought about my reasons for wanting to do an exchange – it’s 1/6th of your time at Booth spent elsewhere so it’s important to be sure. It also helps to speak with Boothies who have done an exchange program at your target school. Knowing how each school is different academically and socially is key to a good experience. There were 10 Boothies in Barcelona while I was there which was also great!
NG: What’s the final word on Spain?
MT: The cool aspect of being situated in Barcelona is the ability to travel easily and cheaply in Europe. I travelled around Spain, Paris and Israel while I was there. One highlight was going to a Barca game and watching Messi in action! I’m also a huge Nadal fan and wanted to visit his home island but it was unfortunately too cold to go. I guess I’ll just have to go back again in the summer!