Going Places

Student blogger Carissa shares about her MBA student exchange experience at UCLA Anderson school.

First of all, Happy New Year, friends!

I thought I wouldn’t get around to writing this final post, but here goes…

In my penultimate blog entry, I raved about the ‘year that was’- those first two semesters as NUS MBA students that at times felt slow and stressful (when we were swamped with projects, readings and exams—as the current batch would now know! 😉 but still, it was over too soon. Who wouldn’t want some more of those fun, memorable moments?

Anyway, this time around, I’d like to pay tribute to one of the colorful elements of the MBA experience—going on the SEP, i.e. student exchange program. The orientation will be held soon, and Zahira and Damon must be extremely busy these days. And so while I couldn’t be there personally, I thought I’d share a bit about my own exchange experience when I attended UCLA Anderson School this past fall term.

What the seniors before us said rang true. The SEP adds another dimension to our MBA life and makes it even better. Well, being in Singapore already gives us an international exposure, specifically an Asian business and cultural focus—but venturing out there rounds it up. The US and South American cases taken up in the classes I attended in Anderson gave me a better appreciation of those business environs. I enjoyed learning from and with the professors and students I met there. In the midst of different perspectives, you just really broaden your own way of thinking.

Venturing out of our comfort zone was both exciting and challenging. For some of us, it was a totally new environment—whether we found ourselves attending partner schools in the US, Europe or elsewhere in the Asia Pacific. You may not know anyone there as I was, going solo in the West Coast. But you discover new things. You become more independent. You meet new people and become good friends. You make good memories, unforgettable experiences. You go places.

I’ve worked with an American, a Mexican and a Thai in a class project. I’ve posed a question to the CEO of Twitter. I’ve shaken hands with Ashton Kutcher. I’ve learned about the ‘80s case surrounding the Death of a Princess. I’ve lost points and learned from MarkStrat. I’ve had interesting conversations about the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the Czech’s pride for their lager, and an American’s take on petty corruption. I’ve been mistaken for a Vietnamese, a Chinese, an undergrad even. I’ve been asked what makes me happy. I’ve nearly gotten lost on a road trip with classmates (with an actual physical map on hand lah). I’ve flown from one coast to the other and experienced a bit of a real winter. And I’ve gone back to share about this valuable SEP experience.

And on this note, I rest my pen, err my keyboard, and wish our fellow NUS MBAs the best of luck as you continue on with the semester and consider the SEP. Time for us seniors to concentrate on the job search front and then go places.

Student Blogger: Carissa Caparas
Nationality: Filipino
Full-Time MBA student, Class of 2013