Shweta blogs about her MBA Exchange programme experience at the Johnson School at Cornell University, Ithaca.
I’m half-way through my fall semester at Cornell and already, I feel enriched with my academic, travel & cultural experiences. Not to forget the varied climatic conditions I have experienced so far- and it’s not even snowing yet!!! I’m taking five NUS equivalent modules for 3 days a week, so my long-weekends (every week) leave me with enough time to travel around & unwind.
Academics: Cornell would be ‘the’ place if one is interested especially in finance courses, though the other courses are just as good. Most of the instructors come with 15-20 years of professional experience and/or are well-renowned in the academic field. For instance, my favourite course has been Equity Derivates- which is being taught by a Prof. who started & co-leads the Equity Derivates desk at Goldman Sachs for 20 years. So the class is really filled with real practical examples & material. It’s as close you can get to being in ‘Sales & Trading’ without having a Bloomberg screen at hand. It also helps when the Prof. takes students out every week after class to some of the classiest restaurants in Ithaca!
Leisure: The Business School community is very active & there are parties/ events every week. For example Hispanic, Mediterranean, Bhangra & Hip Hop, Pie-in the face, Halloween and Diwali nights. Given the town is small, & unlike Manhattan- there’s not a lot you can do but these events keeps one quite busy on the weekend. It’s the fall season & being in upstate New York, its really quite beautiful- there are scenic areas & lots of vineyards & wineries around Ithaca. In a 4-5 hour driving radius from Ithaca are Boston/ NYC/ Vermont/ Toronto/ Montreal etc and are easy to visit.
Weather: It’s quite lovely & a treat for the eye till mid-October.
Summing it up, Cornell’s been a great experience so far. The school & academics are excellent, the CSO is available if you choose to use it (though one is not spared from networking here either- in fact I have heard you need to do a lot more!), and most important- east-coast USA is at your disposal. I highly recommend the first-years to opt for an exchange program. It’s a good way to meet lots of new people, explore a new country & a different way of education!
Class of 2007