After completing a coaching and leadership course a couple of years back, I began gravitating towards the idea of doing an Executive MBA Program. I remember writing to the Office of Admissions at the Hong Kong campus in October 2016 and from the word go, I could feel the professionalism and extremely warm demeanor exhibited by the Chicago Booth team. While I did apply to the other schools, I felt I was chasing them more than they wanted me. Chicago Booth was keen on my candidature, helping me with the application process at every step.
Having completed my under graduate and post-graduate education in India, with only a brief stint working in the United States, I had some trepidation about a global educational experience. I worried that my limited international exposure would be out of place amongst my classmates and that I wouldn’t add as much value to the classroom discussions. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Over the last one year, Hong Kong has become my second home. When missing in action back in India, my friends and family don’t take time to guess where I am. They know I am in the confines of the Booth campus, dishing out assignments with my group mates, writing exams or in awe of the lectures by the world-class professors. My study group is comprised of members from five different countries and we have made it a point to explore Hong Kong together outside of class. So far, I have experienced over 12 different restaurants with various cuisines like Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Italian. My fears over cultural dynamics have been allayed by the warmth and camaraderie shown by each one of my classmates hailing from different parts of Asia and all over the world. One of my benevolent classmates took me on a MTR tour so that I can use the public transport system and save some dollars on cabs. Another classmate who is an avid hiker took me to the famous Dragon’s Back Trail after a tough class week. A short hop from the bustle of the city, the trek provided stunning views of Shek O, Tai Long Wan, Stanley, Tai Tam and the South China Sea. I even went zorbing (bubble soccer) with my classmates after an exhausting six-hour exam and we replenished our sapped energies after a good game.
As much as the long class hours, assignments and exams can push us, our cohort, along with the support from the Hong Kong program office, have built a beautiful eco system we call the ‘Booth Family’ in Hong Kong. As we look forward to Electives Weeks in Chicago this August, I am saddened that we are left with only four more weeks together in Hong Kong but am determined to make the most of it by spending more time with my classmates, exploring the city further, making my learning experience richer and most importantly, creating memories of a lifetime.