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### Exploring the Intersection of Business and Society on an International Stage

For the last three months, I exchanged Yale SOM’s comfortable campus for the vibrant streets surrounding the London School of Economics. As a visiting student for the semester, I’ve enrolled in courses within the management and public policy departments, forged lasting friendships with fellow exchange students, and embarked on numerous adventures across Europe. This experience has truly been a standout moment of my MBA journey at SOM. If you’re contemplating an exchange program during your time at SOM, here’s what you should consider:

Is an Exchange Program Suitable for You?

One of the factors that drew me to SOM was the institution’s focus on global leadership—there’s even a graduation requirement centered on global experiences, with funding provided for overseas opportunities. An exchange program is a prime avenue to fulfill this requirement, and for me, it was a top priority.

Fostering a global perspective has always been a personal goal. Having lived and volunteered in Argentina for eighteen months, and aspiring to work abroad with my partner, I initially pondered pursuing business studies overseas. However, I ultimately concluded that it wasn’t imperative—Yale’s extensive global alumni network and partnerships with international business schools could offer the networking opportunities I sought, all while attending a business school renowned for educating leaders for both business and society.

In my first year at SOM, opting for an exchange program emerged as the most fitting choice to satisfy my desire for a comprehensive international experience, especially since my partner could work remotely abroad for a few months.

Anticipate Challenges—and Remarkable Experiences

Participating in an exchange program presents its own set of challenges:

  • Being separated from friends: Following a summer apart at various internship sites, readjusting to campus life and being away from close friends proved to be a significant challenge. Missing out on SOM traditions and feeling a sense of detachment from the community were also tough aspects to navigate.
  • Dealing with time zone disparities: Juggling two leadership roles at SOM while abroad meant attending late-night calls to stay engaged with team activities. Coordinating campus initiatives from a distance and limiting club involvement underscored the trade-offs associated with the semester.

Despite these hurdles, my time at LSE has been immensely rewarding. Here are the highlights:

  • Academic Rigor: LSE’s emphasis on theoretical frameworks, coupled with a lecture-seminar format that encourages in-depth discussions and debates, has been intellectually stimulating. Delving into topics and challenging existing paradigms over a full semester has been enriching.
  • Global Perspective: Interacting with classmates from diverse cultural backgrounds who offer insights from their respective countries has broadened my worldview. Embracing a less U.S.-centric viewpoint and exploring global problem-solving approaches have been enlightening.
  • Exploration: Immersing myself in trips across England, the UK, and Europe has made the exchange program immensely fulfilling. Discovering new destinations, creating lasting memories, and experiencing the beauty of the world firsthand have been invaluable.
  • Social Connections: Engaging with fellow MBA exchange students through lively group chats and weekly social gatherings has been a source of joy. Building relationships with students from various schools and programs at LSE has been a rewarding aspect of my exchange experience.

Maximizing Your Exchange Program

If given the chance to revisit my first year, I would eagerly opt for an international exchange opportunity. This semester at LSE has seamlessly complemented my SOM journey, fostering personal growth, instilling confidence in pursuing international work prospects, and broadening my horizons. For those considering the LSE exchange program in the fall, here are some tips to make the most of your experience:

  • Initiate a group chat with fellow MBA exchange students early on.
  • Organize weekly dinners where each member takes turns selecting a restaurant in their neighborhood. Establishing this routine fosters camaraderie and provides a structured social activity.
  • Arrive in London ahead of the semester start date (given the later September commencement) to explore Europe and its surroundings. Extend your stay post-semester or plan weekend getaways while at LSE, ensuring a balance between academic pursuits and leisure.
  • Prioritize self-care and allow yourself moments of respite when needed. It’s acceptable to take breaks and prioritize your well-being over social engagements.