Before coming to ESADE I had never thought that it was possible to create so many memories in such a short span of time. The following article is an account of a few special moments picked out of an ocean of memories.With a lot of enthusiasm and some apprehensions, on August 26th, 2016 I started my ESADE journey from New Delhi, India.
To truly submerge myself in the Catalan traditions and attain a conversational level of Spanish, I decided to live with a local Spanish family that didn’t speak any English whatsoever. When I landed in Barcelona, all the Spanish I could speak was “Me llamo Chhavi. Soy de India.” (My name is Chhavi. I’m from India.)
The family not only opened the doors of their house but also the doors of their heart and treated me as one of their own. I was a part of all their celebrations big and small. With their help and the Spanish classes at ESADE, I was also able to improve my Spanish to a level where I can now comfortably have conversations in Spanish.
Since my Undergraduate Studies were not in Business, I was a part of the Business Integration Path (BIP) where I took some courses in Business to support my Master’s in Marketing + CEMS courses. In this way, I not only meant people from Master’s in Marketing but other Master’s programmes like Finance, International Management and Innovation and entrepreneurship. This also meant that I got to Barcelona 3 weeks before the main programme was due to start and had extra time to go around Barcelona and meet people. 2 opportunities that I took during this time were: First, going for La Tomatina, the biggest tomato fighting festival in the world in Buñol, Valencia. You can read all about my experience here: http://www.hoponandhopoff.com/2016/09/la-tomatina-by-chhavi-naswa.htmlutm_content=buffer4b639&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.
And second, going for a one day excursion to Montserrat, a multi peak rocky range near Barcelona ideal for a short hike.
During all my classes and excursions, I was surrounded with students from all around the world, making the experience truly international.
Finally, the main Master’s programme kicked in and I found myself packed with very interesting projects from various subjects. Some of these were real time projects with companies like Amazon, Swarwoski, Lidl etc. which acted as hands on experience. To share the load I had a team of 5 other students with me; a Spanish chica, a Portuguese guy, a Columbian guapa, a Chinese girl and another fellow Indian dude. ESADE puts a lot of focus on teamwork and functioning in multi cultural groups. At first, it’s not so easy to deal with but with passage of times it becomes rather fun as you learn how people from different parts of the world work. The collaborative rather than competitive culture of the school is one of my favorite parts about ESADE.
ESADE also organizes cultural dinners where you get an opportunity to taste the local food as well as interact with student’s from other Master’s specializations. During the first trimester we went to a tapas bar where we tried different types of super sumptuous Spanish snacks.
Other than academic opportunities, there are many other opportunities for personal and professional development on campus. During the first trimester I took part in 2 case competitions namely the C4Bi challenge, a case competition based around Spain’s famous chef Ferran Adria & his restaurant El Bulli and Unilever’s case competition. Participating in such competitions broadens your scope of business thinking and provides you with fresh perspectives. It’s also a way to know more people out side your own specialization.
Other than this, you can be a part of clubs. Currently, I’m the Vice President of 180 Degrees Consulting, a club consisting of students providing consultancy services in the social sector.
For further professional development, I attended a lot of workshops organized by the Career Services on interview skills, leveraging your social network, how to crack cases etc.
I also got an opportunity to go to Cape Town for my International Study Tour. This was an amazing way to understand how business is done in Africa as well as travel a bit. Here’s a video capturing the highlights of my journey: Study Tour in Cape Town
When you are doing an International Master’s programme, you must take out some time travel around the country as well as submerge in the local culture and festivities.
I took the time during my Christmas break to visit my neighboring countries of France and Italy as well as cover a bit of South of Spain. It was fantastic!
In Barcelona, I attended the local ‘fiestas’ like La Merce 2016 and Fiesta de Santa Eulalia 2017. The correfoc (the fire run) during the festivities is highly recommended. The carnival in Sitges is also quite an interesting event to attend.
In Feb-March, Barcelona hosts the world’s largest event in mobile technology called the Mobile World Congress. And guess what? As an ESADE student, you get special privileges to attend it. ESADE sponsors the entry badges of most of students who show an inclination to attend this world class event. As a student interested in working in the tech industry, it was a great networking opportunity. But, going for MWC in itself is a spectacular experience.
I can guarantee you that you’ll never have a dull day in Barcelona. The journey especially, is a roller coaster ride. ESADE and the city of Barcelona itself has ample opportunities which is helping me grow both personally and professionally. ESADE, to its very core is a truly international school with a cosmopolitan culture. Here, I have found both mentors and friends from all parts of the world. With time, this journey is only going to become more exciting. In addition to the remaining 1.5 trimester, I have another year of the CEMS International Master’s to look forward to.