Masters Insights: Brussels and Brathay

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I’ve just now boarded the train at Manchester Piccadilly station headed to London, where I’ll be transferring to the Eurostar high-speed train to Brussels. This weekend I will be competing in a business case competition in the capital of Europe with a friend whom I met on exchange in 2013. Being back in Europe has given me the chance to reconnect with some friends I made during my semester abroad. Coming from such a huge country as Canada, I’m always shocked by how I can pass through three world class cities in just a few hours, without boarding a plane!

While second semester is already underway, I wanted to take this blog post to talk about the course orientation held back in September. As I mentioned before, I had been in Manchester for a couple of weeks by the time orientation started so I was excited to finally get things underway.

Brathay climbingThere were a couple of information sessions and social activities to meet other students in MBS and the postgraduate community in general; however, the Brathay excursion in the Lake District was, of course, the highlight. My new friends and I were the ones singing at the back of the bus (a throwback to primary school) but during the weekend we were randomly allocated dormitories and teams for the activities, which gave me the opportunity to meet loads of other students very quickly. My dormitory room consisted of five nationalities and it was during this trip that I started to get an idea of what this year was going to be like.

Admittedly, throughout the past few months, being in such an international environment has exposed some of the cultural and linguistic barriers that separate us; however, Brathay easily takes months off the adjustment process by making teamwork necessary and many new friendships are the result. Some of my teammates during the Brathay activities ended up being my group partners for the major assignments so this served as a good start in getting to know them better.

The first class (Building Strategic Capabilities) went exactly as I had hoped: hand hurting, brain spinning. I knew I was going to be learning something during this course and it was going to be the challenge I was paying for. I attempted to introduce myself to the professors which I would encourage doing, though presentations, meetings with the professors, and participation in discussions will be your best opportunity to show your motivation and develop a rapport with the lecturers. The rest of the classes that week went similarly and I was confronted with an expectation from the professors to complete a high volume of readings. It was definitely a challenge at the beginning but something you get used to – you get better at it as time goes on.

Thanks for reading and I’ll be back next month to talk to about the course projects and working in teams.

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