Our MBA Student Vivek Ramadas shares his Exchange Semester Experience in Neoma Business School in France
As an MBA student, I am always fascinated by how interconnected our world is and how businesses play a major role in bringing humanity together. During my MBA programme at the Institute of Management Technology, Dubai, I was elated to get the opportunity to spend the final fall semester at Neoma Business School in France.
Neoma is a triple-accredited business school formed in 2013 by the merger of Rouen Business School and Reims Management School in the cities of Rouen and Reims respectively, with a campus in Paris as well. The Reims campus — where I studied — is nestled between lush green parks and rivulets, and walking to college every morning was a delight.
Neoma’s international office had organised an orientation week with presentations and outdoor team activities that had us explore Reims city centre. This helped us meet and bond candidly with both local and international students from diverse nationalities. There were also many Indian students on exchange programmes from top B-schools in India. Together, we bid goodbye to homesickness and even organised a fun Diwali party at an Indian restaurant.
The courses focussed on marketing and strategy; it was particularly enriching to have viewpoints on global business from a culturally diverse peer group. The courses were offered in English by faculty that comprised professionals from around the world, with rich experience and proven ability in their fields. They made classes enticing through meaningful discussions and debates on real- life cases built on theoretical concepts. It was essential to prepare well before each class started. In the brand management and marketing communications courses, our group work was a real-time consulting project to build a brand and communication strategy for a local entrepreneurial venture. In the end, we presented our results to the owner.
The icing on the cake was the opportunity to travel and spend five months in the scenic splendour of Europe. I backpacked across 10 countries, learning about cultures and traditions. Reims is home to the iconic Notre-Dame cathedral. The city is a part of the Champagne-Ardenne region, where champagne originates, and is surrounded by vineyards and a complex underground maze of chalk cellars, caves, and tunnels. Its central location — just 40 minutes from Paris — coupled with Europe’s excellent public transportation system meant that almost every weekend was spent travelling. Besides marvelling at the majestic Eiffel Tower and cruising through Germany, I spent a fairytale Christmas in a cottage surrounded by the Julian Alps in Slovenia — the experience of a lifetime.
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