Life is full of surprises. You never know where it will take you next. For B Chitra, a student of Chennai’s Loyola Institute of Business Administration something of the similar sort happened when her B-school offered her the opportunity to study abroad and experience a new country as part of their student exchange programme during her second year of PGDM. With this in mind, she attended KEDGE Business School (KBS) in France to further her knowledge of Business Analytics and Human Resource Management.
Chitra and five of her batchmates from LIBA set sail to Marseilles for four weeks and learnt that the pedagogy at KBS was way different from that of LIBA. “It was a case driven approach and course material like PPTs, cases, and articles were given before hand. Students were supposed to read them and come to class in KBS, France.” She explained that things at LIBA are quite the opposite. Students are given material after the class and it is a more concept driven approach which is reactive. Initially hit by a culture shock, the students tackled the differences by following the guidelines issued to them.
Read on to know about Chitra’s exchange experience at KEDGE Business School, France.
“The pedagogy at KBS was case driven, while at LIBA it is concept driven. Also, the four weeks at KBS gave me the opportunity to learn from the global culture and to live outside my comfort zone. I developed strong research exchange with different students from different backgrounds.”
Careers360: Tell us something about yourself in terms of your academic and professional background.
B Chitra: I hail from Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. I have completed my primary and secondary schooling from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Visakhapatnam Steel plant. I have done B.Tech in Electrical and Electronics Engineering (EEE) from GMR Institute of Technology (GMRIT), Rajam, Andhra Pradesh (AP) and got placed in GMR Energy Ltd through campus placement. GMR Energy sponsored five weeks of my training on “Thermal Power Generation” and subsequently I got placed in GMR Kamalaga Energy Ltd, Odisha.
As for my professional background, I have held different roles from project phase to operation phase, complete green field project, being liaison between project team and sub contractors, technical assistant to vice president, core member of SAP Plant Maintenance team, core member in implementation of Integrated Management System (IMS) to different roles in operation and efficiency department.
Careers360: Which programme are you pursuing at LIBA? Which specialisation have you opted for?
B Chitra: I am pursuing a Two-Year (2016-2018) PGDM course at LIBA. I have chosen Human Resources (HR) and Business Analytics (BA).
Careers360: Tell us about the exchange programme you were part of-the University and the programme details.
B Chitra: I was part of student exchange programme at KEDGE BUSINESS SCHOOL (KBS), Marseille campus, France.The duration of the exchange programme was four weeks. I visited during spring semester (April 1st to April 30th 2017).
Five other students were selected from LIBA for the foreign exchange programme at KEDGE Business School.
Careers360: What was the selection process of the exchange programme?
B Chitra: The concerned faculty coordinator gave out the partner universities’ list and their prerequisites. Interested students could apply and express the top three universities which they were interested in. If the student cleared the required eligibility criteria, the concerned faculty coordinator analysed the interested student’s profile and take a one-on-one interview and then finalised the shortlisted students accordingly.
Careers360: How did you prepare yourself for the exchange programme? Were you given any guidelines by your university as such to be followed during the programme? If yes, please tell us briefly about them.
B Chitra: My preparation was more on interacting with the senior students who had already taken this student exchange program and getting informed about universities which I was interested in.
Yes, we were given guidelines by our university like-
Take courses which can be helpful for our specialisation and at the same time should not replicate what we have studied or will study in the future
All outward remittance rules by RBI
See places around and experience the culture and mitigate culture shocks
Careers360: What is the pedagogy of the exchange programme? How is it different from that of LIBA?
B Chitra: Pedagogy of the exchange programme was way different than of LIBA.
It was case driven approach and course material (PPTs/cases/articles) were given before hand and we were supposed to read them and come to class in KBS, France. Whereas in LIBA it is quite opposite, we are given material after the class and it is a more concept-driven approach than case driven approach which is reactive.
Careers360: Tell us about the course, the activities and the assignments of the exchange programme.
B Chitra: I had taken two courses at KBS, namely Climate change and Marketing strategy.
We were supposed to read the reading material provided before hand and were given cases every alternative day to analyse and had couple of assessments in between other than final assessment.
Careers360: Were you involved in any other co-curricular activities apart from the academics?
B Chitra: No, as the duration of courses was four weeks, I couldn’t involve or participate in any other co-curricular activities other than academics.
Careers360: Apart from LIBA, were there any other university/institute students? Please mention the details.
B Chitra: There were many students from different countries like China, Brazil and USA etc.
Careers360: How according to you have the exchange programme enriched your overall MBA experience? How do you plan to utilise it in your programme and career?
B Chitra: It is a great opportunity for me to imbibe and learn from the global culture and probably a de facto of one month vacation. It gave me a strong research exchange with different students from different backgrounds and cultures. More importantly, I have grown and matured as a person fuelled by the necessity to confront challenges outside my comfort zone.
Careers360: Were you in touch with your faculty members during the programme? How did they support you?
B Chitra: Yes, I was in touch with my faculty members. Their consistent support and guidance cumulatively uplifted my confidence.
Careers360: How cooperative were the foreign university faculty members and students?
B Chitra: They were very cooperative and friendly. I got the same positive vibe from them as I get from LIBA faculty.
Careers360: What were the major challenges you faced during the exchange programme and how did you tackle them?
B Chitra: Initially there was a culture shock because of huge cultural difference, this was tackled by getting informed about their culture and guidelines followed by them.
Careers360: Did you arrange your own accommodation for the exchange programme? Or was it arranged for you by the university?
B Chitra: No, we have arranged our own accommodation through airbnb.co.in.
Careers360: How did you plan your funds for this trip?
B Chitra: My parents arranged the funds for my trip. The tuition fee was covered under scholarship.
Careers360: Any other information or interesting event you would like to share with us.
B Chitra: Remember life begins at the end of your comfort zone because you will never be completely at home again, part of your heart will always be elsewhere, that is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.