This semester is done! After an exhaustive group project for M&A (you're not supposed to work on weekends if you're on exchange!!), an exam for Managerial Decision Making, another project for Media & Entertainment Marketing (about Shortbus
, you gotta see this movie!), and another group project handed in yesterday about YouTube, I'm over with studies for this year. Now I have one week left to enjoy this great city, to do some Christmas shopping and to say farewell to the fantastic friends I've made.
So this is the right time to think about the last few months and come up with a list of the best and worst things about my exchange at Columbia.
1) Friends. Mainly the other exchange students. What a fantastic bunch. Hope we'll keep in touch, guys!!
2) New York. What can I say about this amazing city? I loved it! The people, the skyscrapers, the glitz, the movement, the frenzy, the shops, the museums, the celebrities, the constant police sirens, the pretzels, the bagels!, the pizzas, the sushi, the nightlife, the rooftop bars, the cheap prices, the pastrami at Katz's, the yellow taxis, the central park, etc, etc, etc... Although it's not a secret that I do love London, New York has conquered a small part of me. I'm sure I'll be back. Hopefully, the photo above will help you to understand why.
3) Las Vegas. Oh yeah, baby! Fantastic place, impossible not to have fun. I had such a great time there that even the money I lost won't make me change my opinion about Sin City. Every one should go there at least once in their life.
4) The campus. I love the energy around it, the student life, the big buildings. This is the kind of place where revolutions are made. And where great parties take place :)
5) The courses. I had two of the best courses of my whole MBA. The first, which shouldn't be a surprise to you, is Strategic Management of Media
. Excellent professor (Bruce Greenwald), very interesting subject, eye-opening ways of looking at the industry. The other WAS a complete surprise, mainly to myself: M&A
. Everyone knows I'm not that fond of Finance, but this course was excellent! Again, I'd say that the main reason was the professor. Donna Hitscherich was superb. This is the kind of course where it can easily be so bad, so boring that you reaaaally need a good professor to make it interesting. And she definitely did it. Lots of work, though. But excellent learning experience.
6) Happy Hours! Improved version of hour own Sundowners. Why are Happy Hours better? It has free food and goes until 10.30pm-ish. Enough said.
1) Columbia facilities. I will never ever again criticize LBS! :) We have amazing facilities back in London, but I guess I had to see another school to realize that. The ridiculously useless library, the few study rooms, the inexistent computer labs, the chalk boards..... They really need a new place for this school.
2) THE COLD!!! During last Happy Hour, on one of my many smoke breaks, I noticed that I could barely feel my fingers. They were turning purple. Temperature: -5ºC!! Not even in London we have this cold! And then the building where I'm staying has an heating system that makes industrial ovens pale in comparison. You go from -5 to 45 in one second!
And that's it. There's not many negative points about this experience (and I really had to struggle to come up with these two). All in all, I had an excellent time here. I strongly advise every MBA student to take this unique opportunity and do an exchange somewhere. Not necessarily in NY, because the range of choices is amazing. Shanghai, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Barcelona, Cape Town, Milan, San Francisco, Paris, Sao Paulo, etc..... I'm sure you'll find something for you.